Sonny – Osteosarcoma:
Sonny is a 15-month-old American Staffy, diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) of the proximal tibia of his right hind leg. This is, sadly, a common condition in many older, large breed dogs, but is rare in young large breed dogs. Almost all dogs with this condition are euthanised due to the pain from the condition, not because of the symptoms associated with the spread of the cancer.
Limb-removal can solve the pain problem, because it provides the dog to be pain-free post-surgery, and it does not have to be an expensive undertaking. Sonny’s amputation cost just $1,000, not a small sum, but far more affordable than the approximate $3,000-$4,000 if the procedure had been undertaken at a specialist centre. Most of these osteosarcoma cases will live pain-free for 3-6 months post-surgery without any further treatment.
Adding chemotherapy to this can often achieve 6-12 months life-extension post-amputation, and sometimes even longer. Chemotherapy also doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise and Sonny is currently undergoing doxorubicin chemotherapy every 3 weeks for approximately $265 each time. These visits are not onerous and can be as little as one hour each time, with the owners usually being present during these treatments to further support their best friend.
Check out these videos below of Sonny a few weeks after surgery:
Cassie & Charlie –Anal Gland Adenocarcinoma:
Cassie and Charlie have both overcome anal gland adenocarcinoma, which is a cancer of the anal gland. Unfortunately, it is often diagnosed late as the caner of this gland tends to grow into the pelvic area rather than out through the skin, making it very easy to miss. By the time of diagnosis, this cancer has often spread to the sub-lumbar lymph nodes – those lying beneath the back muscles in the abdomen.
As these lymph nodes enlarge from multiplying tumour cells, they often start to apply pressure to organs passing through the pelvic canal, so the first signs of this condition are sometimes straining secondary to having trouble passing stools due to pressure on the colon. Read about our brave patients with this cancer below:
Cassie, a 10.5-year-old German Shepherd, was presented for straining and her condition was that bad that her bladder and colon were both obstructed by multiple, very enlarged, sub-lumbar lymph nodes. Six of the 6-8cm x 4-6cm masses where removed (as shown above). This, along with the removal of the primary anal gland tumour in the same surgery, was achieved for $1,450….a fraction of the cost of referral and many, many of these cases are now referred rather than treated through primary care veterinary hospitals.
Charlie, a 9.5-year-old Cavoodle, was also presented for straining. He had sub-lumbar lymph node removal and removal of the primary anal gland tumour in September 2017, at a cost of $1,280. He has had five cycles of doxorubicin chemotherapy, at a cost of approximately $230 each time. It has been five months since his original surgery and at present, shows no signs of recurrence of the cancer, either locally or in the sub-lumbar area. Of note though, his coat colour, as a result of chemotherapy, reverted to his puppy colour of brown, whereas for most of his adult life he had been white!
Lola, Fifi, Rusty & Milly – ACL Tears
Lola, Fifi, Rusty & Milly all experienced tears in their anterior cruciate ligament. Our solution: Modified Marquet Procedure (MMP), which is a very reliable and rapid method of restabilising unstable stifles following ACL tears. The use of a titanium foam wedge, keeps the tibia in its normal position relative to the femur, and re-establishes normal stifle movement, and does not involve entry into the joint.
The titanium wedge is a block of titanium foam rather than just a solid implant, which leads to rapid ingrowth of bone into the wedge, with permanent stability of the surgery site achieved in just 3-4 weeks.
This procedure only takes around 30 minutes surgery time, yet allows rapid return to full function in the vast majority of cases over as little as 10-12 weeks, with many dogs being 80-90% normal within just 4 weeks after surgery. The best part – we do this for only $1,200-$1,300!
We have performed some 15 of these in the past 3 months. If you would like more information or know someone with a dog that may benefit from this, please feel free to contact the hospital or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lola (seen in the video below) was our first ever patient to have her ACL repaired via our MMP procedure. She received the treatment for a torn anterior cruciate ligament of her right hind stifle, via the MMP technique where a titanium wedge was inserted into the tibial crest. It was a huge success and you can from the video just 13 weeks after her surgery how well Lola recovered. She is now able to free run/play again without restriction.
Fifi is a 4-year-old desexed male Maltese Terrier, who presented lame to us and was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament of the left hind stifle (knee). Fifi had his left hind stifle stabilised using the MMP method of ACL stabilisation, which took only 30 minutes and he was in and out in a day.
Here is an outline of Fifi’s MMP procedure:
You can also see videos of two other patients of our MMP procedure – Rusty (left) and Milly (right) – merely weeks after their surgery.
Misty – Meibomian Tumour
Tumours of the Meibomian glands in eyelids are common in older dogs and start as small bumps at the margin of the upper and lower eyelids. Many of these stay small (2-3mm) and do not continue to grow further, so there is never any rush to have these removed.
Some of these tumours even rub/rest on the eye itself, but if they remain small, they do not appear to cause any irritation. Occasionally, the tumours become “active”, as I prefer to describe it to clients, and they start to become larger. Once evidence of enlargement is seen, then they will only continue to grow until removed.
These tumours are easily removed using a “V” wedge excision of the affected eyelid. We can cut close to these tumours as they do not require large margins, thus preserving most of the eyelid. Most of these require removal of around 1/8th to ¼ of the affected eyelid, but even up to a 1/3rd of the eyelid can be removed without noticing that surgery has been performed once healed.
Very fine sutures, such as 6/0 prolene, are used to close the surgery site/re-oppose the eyelid margins. Placement of the first suture at the eyelid margin is very important. If this is located perfectly, then it is often hard to tell that the affected eyelid did indeed have surgery once healed.
These surgeries are often referred to eye specialists and usually cost $1,500 or more as a result. We perform these surgeries frequently. whey take only around 15-20mins surgery time and cost as little $500-$650, depending on whether pre-anaesthetic blood are chosen or not.
The accompanying below of Misty show a Meibomian gland tumour, and unusually, a “stye” on the affected eyelid follicle beside it as well, which we removed with the same “V” wedge. The cost of the surgery in the photos was only $510 and the follow-up is simply sutured removal two weeks after surgery, which we do not charge for.
Zelda – End-of-Life Care
From pet owners Mark and Vanessa Greatorex:
“On behalf of myself and Vanessa, I would like to extend a very sincere thank you to your team for the way you looked after our beautiful Zelda during the final months of her life.
Zelda was challenged throughout her life with adversity through illness, but the fact that she actually looked forward to her regular trips to the vet speaks volumes about how well she was looked after there.
From our point of view, it was wonderful to finally find a vet surgery where the welfare of the animal was given priority over the size of the medical bill. Although it’s a long way from Mount Dandenong to Clayton, it was a drive we were prepared to make as often as necessary, as we always felt that Zelda was being given the best care and attention possible.
Losing Zelda has left an incredible hole in our lives and our boy Reinhardt (Rennie) misses his little sister terribly. Although we know we’ll never be able to replace a dog as unique as Zelda, we’ve promised Rennie that one day soon he’ll have a new companion to play with, and when that time comes we will make sure that we bring our new puppy to you for all of her medical needs.”