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 cancer 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 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! Many, if not most, of these cases are now referred rather than treated through primary care veterinary hospitals.
Charlie, a 9 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. An extra interesting point - 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!