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The Case for Annual Examination!

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Newsletter, 2008 Vol. 14, Issue 1

The Case for Annual Examination!

As our animal companions continue to get improved veterinary care, we are seeing an increase in the number of aged pets with surgical conditions. Owners seem increasingly willing to have these conditions corrected in their companion animals. The old saying that "age is not a disease", seems more appropriate now than ever in the history of veterinary medicine. Two recent cases illustrate the value of annual check-ups and critical review of those findings.

Case 1

A 13 year old male neutered 8.7 kg Schnauzer.

This dog was seen in May for his annual check-up and examination by his regular veterinarian. He had previously been diagnosed with a cardiac condition treated as an acute endocarditis. A follow-up cardiac ultrasound was scheduled along with a survey ultrasound examination of the abdomen.

Abdominal ultrasound findings of significance included the finding of: "... a moderately large hyperechoic and cavitated mass that appears to extend from the right caudoventral liver into the ventral abdomen. The mass appears to be attached to the liver." Laboratory work was normal.

The dog was subsequently referred for surgical exploration and a tumor arising from the right medial liver lobe found at surgery. A lobectomy was done using a surgical stapling device and all excised tissue submitted for histopathology. The pathological diagnosis was a biliary cystadenocarcinoma.

The dog is currently undergoing chemotherapy at one month postoperative.

Case 2

A 12 year old female spayed 8.4 kg Schnauzer (this was a bad month for Schnauzer's).

This dog was seen in June for her routine geriatric check-up. As part of the veterinarian's senior wellness program, a chest film was obtained. A mass in the right cranial or middle lung lobe was diagnosed. This dog had no clinical signs.

The case was referred for a lobectomy and subsequently operated via right 5th intercostal thoracotomy. A 5cm mass in the central portion of the right cranial lung lobe was removed via lobectomy using a surgical stapling device. A regional lymph node which was enlarged was aspirated for cytology and the excised lung lobe submitted for histopathology. The pathological diagnosis was malignant round cell tumor, most likely a histiocytic sarcoma. No neoplastic cells within the lymph node were seen on cytology.

The owner is currently contemplating chemotherapy.

These two cases are illustrative of the value of comprehensive veterinary examination and also of problems we are picking up more frequently in our aged pet population. I would in particular like to thank Dr. Roddy Roberts and Dr. Colette Crotty for these two cases.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a question regarding a current case or if you have a surgical question.