The Big C
This is our star patient for August 2018, Max. He came to see our wonderful Veterinary Surgeon, Naomi Parker, at Vetcare in Sale. His owners were worried about a swelling that had appeared on his foot.
Swellings can be caused by trauma, infections, abscesses, cysts, furuncles, tumours, foreign body reactions and so on. Max was treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for a few days but the swelling didn’t change. So Max was booked in for a biopsy. This is where we take a small sample of tissue and send it to the laboratory. The tissue is embedded in wax and fixed, before slicing and staining to be examined under a microscope. A pathologist looks at the tissue architecture and the types of cells that are present and reports on the changes. More often than not they are able to make a definitive diagnosis which allows us to decide if further tests are needed and to plan surgery.
Unluckily for Max it came back as a Soft Tissue Sarcoma. This is a type of cancer (a malignancy) which can sometimes spread quickly to other parts of the body – draining lymph nodes, the lungs, the liver and so on. They can also be quite locally invasive and without adequate excision can recur.
Max’s parents made the brave decision to have his toe removed to try and remove all the tumour. We also took a further biopsy (Lymph Node) to see if the tumour had spread. The news was good for Max and his parents; the additional tests showed it hadn’t spread any further than his toe, and surgery by our vet Gordon, was a success – the laboratory confirmed we had removed all of it.
The hard work then started – trying to keep a normally bouncy Max calm and quiet whilst he recovered from his surgery. After several bandage changes, both with our vet Naomi in Sale, and whilst on holiday in Cornwall, and sporting a very glamorous boot to help keep it clean and dry, we are pleased to say that he has made a full recovery. With a bit more time Max will be back to his normal self keeping his parents on their toes. And we look forward to seeing him in a few of weeks for another check up. We will continue to monitor the site for recurrence for several months.