Miracle recovery as West Lothian vet removes football-sized tumour from dog's spleen
Marty the Golden retriever could have died but for the skills of specialist small animal surgeon Joanna McCagherty.
The 11-year-old pooch was rushed to Linnaeus-owned Veterinary Specialists Scotland (VSS) in Livingston after falling ill.
Staff at the specialist West Lothian centre diagnosed the problem and warned that it was life-threatening before Marty calmly trotted into surgery.
During the op it was discovered that the tumour had ruptured Marty’s spleen which was potentially fatal.
Luckily he survived the close call and has now made a full recovery.
Owner, Jane Gallacher said: “We faced the possibility of taking Marty home to die or a potentially complex operation which may or may not save him.
“When we met Joanna, Marty trotted off down the corridor behind her as though he knew his life was in her hands.
“We all trusted her from the start. She explained the plan and was entirely honest about the risks and so kind throughout, promising us she would call when the surgery was over that evening.
“When Joanna called, she told us Marty’s spleen had ruptured due to the large tumour but that his body had stemmed the bleeding itself and that, amazingly, he had not lost too much blood and therefore did not need a blood transfusion.
“She then told us the mass that she’d removed was the size of a football.”
Jane added: “We felt so bad as we’d been cutting back his food a bit thinking he was a getting a little bit heavy – well, he’s more than 1kg lighter now.”
Lifesaver Joanna, who is a renowned small animal surgeon, explained: “Marty had been referred to us as an emergency for investigation and surgical management of haemoabdomen due to a suspected bleeding mass on his spleen.
“A CT scan was performed which revealed a large mass, some 20cm across, within Marty’s spleen and free fluid within the abdominal cavity which was likely to be blood.
“Marty underwent abdominal surgery and we discovered the very large mass had ruptured and was bleeding in several areas.
“It was also firmly adhered to the surrounding tissues, making it very challenging to remove the spleen and the associated mass.
“The majority of masses on the spleen which have ruptured are typically malignant tumours, so we were very pleased Marty’s mass was benign and no further treatment was needed.”
Relieved Jane added: “We will forever be thankful for the amazing dedication and skill of Joanna and the VSS team effort that saved our Marty.
“It’s a truly remarkable story and the icing on the cake was the call from Joanna 10 days after surgery with the news that the tumour was benign and Marty was cancer free! We are so grateful.”
VSS is a specialist-led multidisciplinary referral centre offering industry-leading services in cardiology, dermatology, internal medicine (feline and canine), neurology, orthopaedics, and soft tissue surgery, supported by specialists in diagnostic imaging and anaesthesia and analgesia.
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