Case of the Month: February 2010
Gus is a 11 yr old intact male Labrador retriever. He presented to Carroll County Animal Hospital for examination of a large mass that had been present for approximately 2 months. On physical examination, Gus had a 10-12in nonulcerated mass between his shoulder blades. The mass was hard, non painful, and not freely moveable. Surgical excision of the mass was recommended to the owner after X-rays to look for any evidence that the tumor has already begun to spread.
The next day, Gus was sedated and chest x-rays were taken. These x-rays did not reveal any evidence that the tumor had spread to the lungs, and surgery to remove the mass was recommended as soon as possible.
Gus was taken to surgery later that same day and the entire mass was removed. The mass ultimately weighed 2.5lbs and a drain was placed in the incision to allow the drainage that was likely to follow an escape. A bandage was placed around Gus' body to help relieve tension at the surgery site and Gus was sent home on pain medications and antibiotics. The mass was submitted to a pathologist to evaluate what type of mass this was.
Approximately 4 days later, we received the pathology report that showed Gus did have a form of cancer called hemangiosarcoma. This particular case was a cutaneous hemangiosarcoma. There are two basic types of hemangiosarcomas: visceral (involving the organs-spleen mostly) and cutaneous. Within the cutaneous variety there are further subdivisions that allow us to give owners a prognosis. Cutaneous hemangiosarcomas can be divided into Stage 1,2,or 3. With an increase in the stage there is a decrease in a positive long term prognosis. The initial treatment of choice with cutaneous hemangiosarcoma is complete surgical excision, this is sometimes followed up with chemotherapeutic agents that may assist in killing the cancer cells if there has been spreading.
Gus is doing well at home and his owner reports a much improved attitude since the tumor has been removed. We continue to monitor this area closely to look for any recurrence of this tumor. Gus' tumor is unique in that it grew so fast, however, any unusual masses should be evaluated as soon as possible.
Any further questions about this disease or other inquiries can be directed to: Dr. Jason Harden at 770-832-2475.