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Shelley’s story...

11 November 2015

Meet Shelley, a beautiful 10 year old Cocker Spaniel who was referred to Willows to see Oncology Specialist James Elliott. Unfortunately Shelley had a lump in a rather awkward place, it was just inside her back passage.

The lump required surgical excision, which was carried out at her usual vets. The lump was sent for analysis at the laboratory and the type of lump she had was called an anal sac apocrine gland adenocarcinoma. These tumours are seen with some frequency and in this breed of dog it is prone to occurring. These are tumours that arise from the glands which line the anal sacs – one on each side of the back passage and just inside. Typically dogs present with signs of straining to pass stools or perhaps increased thirst or urination due to elevated calcium levels (investigated with blood tests) caused by the tumour. In some cases it is a completely accidental finding on clinical examination by the vet at the time of routine check-up or booster examination.

Fortunately Shelley recovered well from her surgery with no complications. It was then that she came to Willows and Shelley’s worried owners were able to discuss further treatment options with James. Unfortunately for many dogs with this type of tumour, the cancer has already spread to the nearby lymph nodes or other sites such as the lungs or liver by the time they are diagnosed. To the relief of everyone Shelley’s scan was clear and her owners were delighted. Regrettably a large number of cases will have microscopic cancer cells in these organs and typically some form of chemotherapy is recommended in these cases.


Shelley has recovered well from her surgery with no complications


Shelley had a course of carboplatin chemotherapy; a potent chemotherapy drug which is given as an infusion into her vein which helps to kill cancer cells. Fortunately at the doses we use it is very well tolerated and Shelley had no severe side effects of her treatment.

Shelley has been monitored regularly and is now 2 years since diagnosis with no evidence of cancer recurrence on any of her most recent scans. This is great news and hopefully Shelley will continue to do well into old age.

Shelley is a good example of how dogs that are presented early with this type of cancer, and those that receive the correct treatment, can have extremely long survival times with good quality of life.



Don’t forget the Petplan Veterinary Awards 2016 - The awards provide an opportunity for pet owners to recognise the hard work and dedication of veterinary staff – why not nominate today:


Petplan Veterinary Awards 2016

Click here to nominate today!