Sally's tumour

Vetwest received the below letter from Leanne who brought her beautiful Golden Retriever Sally in to the team at Vetwest Whitfords. We are so glad to hear that Sally is happy and well following her treatment for a benign tumour in her spleen. Sally's story is below.

I am writing this story because I found that there is so much information on the internet regarding tumours in dogs. The information can be overwhelming and a lot of it is about worst case scenario. So recently when I learned that our much loved pet had a tumour, this information and the knowledge I had regarding our dogs family history of fatal cancers, made me expect the worst.    


Our dog Sally is an 11 ½ year old Golden Retriever and a success story.  Thankfully she developed a ‘Benign Tumour’ in her Spleen and had a very successful Splenectomy, thanks to the great attention and care of our vet, Dr Rudolf Oosthuizen at Vetwest Whitfords.  

At a routine check-up I was informed that Sally may have a growth in her abdomen and that an ultrasound would be helpful to make a diagnosis.  At the time Sally was very happy, eating her food as normal, going to the toilet as usual and loving the beach.   It just didn’t seem like she was sick or could be.  Unfortunately within a short period of time her condition deteriorated and I will admit I thought the absolute worst.  We went ahead with a harmless ultrasound, the outcome of which indicated that she had a large mass in her spleen.  Unfortunately they were unable to determine if the mass was contained within the spleen or if it had spread to other organs as they were obscured, so we agreed to have a biopsy conducted.  This required a very light sedation and a very quick procedure to withdraw some cells for testing.

Sally didn’t handle the light sedation very well and she was lethargic and disorientated for hours after the procedure and really didn’t recover for a couple of days.  It was not a happy time in our home seeing her looking so feeble and sad.  However, the results came back 2-3 days later and mostly the diagnosis was good.  That meant, the mass was likely to be benign and if it was removed there was a very good chance that Sally would be OK. As it was explained to us, the spleen is an organ that dogs can live without successfully, but if left to continue to grow it would ultimately rupture causing pain, blood loss and most likely death.

We had a long discussion with our vet explaining that we did not want Sally to suffer in any way, now or in the future.  Rudolf was great; he listened to our concerns as we were worried that she would not pull through the operation and we were scared about the possibility that more cancerous tumours would be found.  Rudolf suggested that Sally have an x-ray to determine if there were other cancers present in the lungs etc. and a full blood screen conducted before the procedure.  As it turns out Sally had no visible tumours and her blood results were really good.  It was full steam ahead with the Splenectomy, which went better than expected.  In fact she had her operation at 9am and we picked her up at 6pm and to our amazement she walked out of the surgery not only 2.2kg lighter, but with a spring in her step like we were off to the beach.  Yes she was on good pain killers, but we  were absolutely blown away by her quick recovery from major surgery. 

The pathology results came back 2 days after the operation and confirmed that the tumour was benign.  We expected that recovery for Sally would take months, but it is now 3 weeks since the procedure and Sally is going really well.  The wound is healed, she is back on her usual diet, she can go for walks again and yesterday she went back to the beach.  To our amazement Sally is acting like she is 3 years younger than before the operation.

We would like to thank the staff at Vetwest Whitfords and specifically Rudolf.  He is very compassionate and a very good listener.  It is obvious that he has a very calming nature about him, even Sally was calm around him and I believe that he put her quality of life above all else when it came to her treatment.  We cannot thank him enough.

Sincerely Leanne 

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