Jacqueline is a very sweet 13-year-old Dachshund who has been a patient at AHS all of her life. During a routine physical exam this fall we noted a small mass in one of her anal glands. While scar tissue was a possibility, a tumor was our biggest concern. She was sedated and a needle biopsy was obtained from the tissue and submitted for histopathology. Unfortunately, the report came back as adenocarcinoma.
Adenocarcinoma of the anal sac is an aggressive cancer that spreads through the lymphatics to the lymph nodes of the abdomen and beyond. Jacqueline was referred to a veterinary oncologist where the mass was removed and chemotherapy was begun. Chemotherapy in dogs tends to go much better than it does in people and Jacqueline responded wonderfully over the next several months. She was acting great and doing well until late in her therapy when she became very mopey and stopped eating. Her blood screen indicated an elevated white cell count and dehydration. We placed her in the hospital for IV fluids and antibiotics and she began to feel better quickly and started eating. She was discharged, but soon began feeling poorly again. On recheck her white cell count had normalized but her BUN had begun to elevate. It was suspected that Jacqueline had developed a stomach ulcer and she was placed into our intensive care unit. Gastroprotectants were started and IV fluids again instituted. Jacqueline slowly improved over a period of several days and was eventually discharged doing well.
Gastric ulcers are difficult to diagnose in pets without the use of an endoscope to visualize into the stomach. There are some indications on the blood screen that can give us hints but response to therapy is frequently the way we make our diagnosis. In Jacqueline’s case, the extended use of the chemotherapy medication eventually caused the ulcer that led to her issues. Once we were able to get the ulcer healed, she bounced back quickly. Today she is doing well and thriving. For her fighting spirit in the face of cancer, Jacqueline is AHS’s canine Pet of the Month.
Fozzie is a young, rambunctious kitty. His owners had come home one day and found him hardly able to use his right hind leg. A radiograph was performed and a fracture of the neck of the right femur was detected. Likely, Fozzie had some sort of trauma jumping or climbing as young active cats can do. This type of fracture typically needs surgery. During surgery, the head of the femur is removed from the acetabulum of the pelvis and the femoral neck smoothed so it does not rub on the pelvis. The animal then uses its hip muscles to move the leg. Subsequently, there are no sharp points to rub the pelvis so in smaller animals there is a great return to function without pain. Fozzie’s owners consented to the femoral head and neck surgery. Surgery went well and Fozzie was using the leg and trying to jump the next day. Fozzie is continuing to do well and acting like a kitten. It is hard to tell which leg he had surgery on now. For his remarkable recovery, Fozzie has been named our AHS feline Pet of the Month.