Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Monday, March 19, 2012

Interesting Case

An older golden retriever with a problem has cancer until proven otherwise. Ok, maybe that's a bit extreme. Not that extreme. Cancer is the top killer of Golden Retrievers. They have a 60% chance of dying of it vs a 30% chance for other breeds.

So it's always on my mind when I see an older Golden.

Today I saw a dog on my surgery docket that had a very large lump on his head that was affecting his right eye and his muzzle, to an extent.

It stared a few months ago as a small lump a bit further back from this one. Typical medications were attempted and it seemed to go away a bit but then got larger. Again, different medications were tried and it got bigger despite those. 

I was tasked with exploring it and taking biopsies. It was firmly attached to the skull and definitely not easily resectable. In fact, I doubt you could get all of whatever this thing is out without doing major tissue trauma and possibly causing more harm than good.

There were parts of it that were harder than others and I did believe there might have been fluid in one section, but an aspiration with a large gauge needle yielded nothing.

So I dove in and cut into it. The little punch biopsy tool we use, which is like an "ice" corer or soil sampler, couldn't take a good sample, as the tissue was too mushy, soft, etc or as we say, "friable" - no not in the edible sense..just that it breaks down easily and it's hard to get a hold of!

I had to open the incision up and really give it a good feel and get a more thorough understanding of what I was dealing with. It looked like a giant blood clot. It was something that for the most part, I could get a finger around but there was some bony skull changes too. I got what samples I could and sent them out.

I am very curious but the bottom line is - given the age/breed and how this looks/feels, it ain't good.

Here's a view of it: the mass is the dark object in the center of the incision.


  1. BTW THIS did come back as a PROBABLE Mast Cell Tumor - not good. The owners are going for a surgical consult with the specialists. Will keep you all up to date!

  2. Sad news for the Golden. Amazing how diseases run in breeds!