By Kim Freeman, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Moose, a 12 year old border collie, was diagnosed with high grade lymphoma over 18 months ago. His face has become a staple in our lives and his family has become part of ours as Moose has gone through chemotherapy for his cancer. Recently, Moose faced a new life challenge. After successful treatment with chemotherapy for his lymphoma, we noticed that Moose was starting to lose weight and his liver enzymes were going up. Moose is a pretty active dog. He lives with two busy 6 year old girls, his canine buddy Roswell, and his human parents. He spends his time with his family playing, hiking, camping, and leaping over campfires. However, he seemed to be losing too much weight for all his activity and he just wasn’t eating as well as usual. He would come in for his check ups and share Lindsi’s (one of our oncology nurses) lunch, but that just wasn’t making up for lost calories. The weight loss, decreased appetite, and abnormal lab work led us to do an ultrasound of Moose’s abdomen. There we found a big mass in his liver. It was so big we couldn’t tell what part of the liver it was growing off of or whether we could remove it safely or not.
After much deliberation, Moose’s family decided to take Moose to surgery. We all were so nervous for Moose. He’s been coming to our clinic for so long for his lymphoma care, that he seems like part of our family. We didn’t know if his tumor would be operable or not. Moose was dropped off for surgery the day before his dad’s birthday. Lindi’s daughter made Moose a get well card. Dr. Wooldridge did the surgery and we kept checking in throughout the entire procedure. Mid way through, we learned that the tumor was on the left side of the liver. This is the best side for a liver mass when it comes to surgery. Not only that, it was in a location on the left side that could be removed with minimal risk for complications. Phew! The mass was removed and Moose came out of anesthesia safely. Special thanks to the staff at DoveLewis for taking great care of Moose and getting him through his post-operative blood transfusion. Moose had to spend an extra night at Dove Lewis and missed his dad’s birthday, but there was a big celebration and reunion at VCSS the following day when Moose went home. It was so amazing to see our staff rally together for Moose’s care and family and to see Moose survive yet another battle with cancer.