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A lovely update about Titus
6 September 2017
Titus’ owners gave us a lovely update recently and we felt we should share the good news!
Titus is a 9-year-old, male Flat Coated Retriever who presented for investigation of a large, very rapidly growing tumour inside his mouth. Biopsy of the lump by the referring vet revealed an unusual tumour and the pathologists were not sure exactly what type of cancer this was. A specialised test called immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed which helps determine the type of cancer and this revealed a T-cell lymphoma. This is very unusual to present in the oral cavity.
Sadly the CT scan showed the mass was large and had already invaded into much of the upper jaw bone. Fortunately however the nearby lymph nodes were normal in appearance and on sampling, and there was no obvious spread of the cancer to the chest/lungs or any of the internal organs. Surgery was performed by Willows’ Specialist oncology (cancer) surgeon Stephen Baines (one of only 2 veterinary establishments in the country to have such a specialist) and revealed complete excision of the cancer from the mouth. This was great news, however the tumour was confirmed as a high grade T-cell lymphoma. High grade means the tumour is a very rapidly growing type and has a high risk of spreading in the future to other sites.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer which has arisen from the white blood cells called lymphocytes. These cells naturally travel around the body very easily and so unfortunately in almost all dogs with lymphoma there is fairly widespread disease at a microscopic level by the time of diagnosis. Therefore, even though Titus’ CT scan was clear, it was considered very likely that other cancer cells would be lurking about somewhere in his body.
James Elliott, one of our medical oncologists, therefore recommended a course of chemotherapy to try and ‘mop up’ cancer cells that may be in other sites in an attempt to give Titus the best outcome possible. This consisted of a 6-month course of multi-drug chemotherapy which was completed over 2 years ago.
Titus was a somewhat tricky case as he had several episodes of very low white blood cell counts due to his treatment which needed some dose adjustments and treatment delays – though eventually James found a protocol that suited him well. As with most dogs with lymphoma, he enjoyed a very good quality of life during his treatment and his owners have been thrilled with how well he has done.
Titus is a case that exemplifies the benefits of diagnostics and treatment at a centre like Willows, with the rare combination of both medical and surgical cancer Specialists, on-site advanced imaging and top-tier chemotherapy facilities.
Titus’ owners keep a very close eye on him but now it has been more than 2 years since he completed his treatment, we are all cautiously hopeful!
#willowsvetspecialists #caninecancer #veterinaryoncology #petcancerawareness