Mr Magoo is an eight and a half year old Rhodesian Ridgeback cross who presented at our Prospect Road Hospital with a sore and swollen dew claw. His owners thought he might have caught his nail and sprained his toe, but the swelling was quite severe and so x-rays were indicated.
The x-rays showed that the swelling had started to eat away at two of the bones in his toe. This made us concerned that a tumour could be causing his problem. X-rays of Mr Magoo’s lungs were taken, confirming that there was no tumour spread.
The best course of action was to surgically remove the tumour and affected toe. Once the tumour was removed, there wasn’t enough skin to completely close the wound. This will heal over by itself with time and Mr Magoo is currently undergoing regular bandage changes. He is doing well apart from having to wear an elizabethan collar (“bucket”) to stop him chewing his bandage. He isn’t very impressed about this.
The tumour was sent to the pathology laboratory to find out exactly what type it was. It came back as a squamous cell carcinoma, which is a nasty type of tumour, but in Mr Magoo’s case, all of it had been removed, with no evidence of spread elsewhere.
If we think an animal has a nasty tumour then we check to make sure there isn’t spread away from the original site – this is called metastasis. We check the chest by taking x-rays and also the lymph nodes closest to the tumour site. If we are worried about spread then sometimes we follow-up with chemotherapy which can be done at all of our hospitals. Chemotherapy for animals is not as hard on them as with humans and they don’t become as sick or lose their hair. Sometimes we can cure an animal with this type of treatment and certainly prolong their quality of life.
The good news for Mr Magoo is that the aspirates of his lymph nodes don’t show any bad cells and his chest was clear on the x-rays. We are expecting him to do well and his only concern right now is that elizabethan collar!