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All Clear for Clio!

27 November 2015

Clio, a beautiful Staffordshire Bull Terrier, came to Willows because she had developed a mass below the hock (ankle) joint, which had grown rapidly over the previous few weeks. A fine needle aspirate had been taken at her usual vets, which had shown that the mass was a soft tissue sarcoma (a malignant tumour of fibrous tissue).


Clio’s malignant tumour of fibrous tissue


Clio was referred to one of our Medical Oncology Specialists, James Elliott, for further investigation to determine if there was any evidence of tumour spread elsewhere in her body and to make a plan for treatment. Clio was admitted to the hospital and had a CT scan of the chest and abdomen, which fortunately did not show any evidence of tumour spread. This was excellent news, gratefully received by Clio’s very worried owners.


CT scans of Clio’s chest and abdomen, which fortunately showed no evidence of tumour spread

CT scans of Clio’s chest and abdomen, which fortunately showed no evidence of tumour spread


Clio’s care was then passed on to our Surgical Oncology Specialist, Dr Stephen Baines, who discussed the options for surgical treatment. The best treatment for localised soft tissue sarcomas is surgical excision, with wide margins on all sides and below the tumour, with the aim of removing the tumour in an 'envelope' of normal tissue. However, complete removal of the tumour can be difficult when the tumour is on the lower limb, as in Clio’s case, as there isn’t much spare skin, and the underlying structures (tendons, ligaments, bones and joints) need to be preserved. Stephen advised that complete surgical excision was likely to be possible (which is the easy part), but that reconstruction of the wound may be more difficult!

Clio had surgery to remove the tumour with appropriate margins around it and below it, while still preserving the vital structures of the limb. The wound was then closed as much as possible, with a plan to leave the rest of the wound to heal by itself over the next few weeks.


Clio’s wound was closed as much as possible, with a plan to leave the rest of the wound to heal by itself over the following weeks


Examination of the mass by the pathologist confirmed that it was a low grade soft tissue sarcoma, which means that the potential for future tumour spread is very low. In addition, the margins of excision were clear of tumour, meaning that all the tumour had been removed. Clio now faced a period of time while the wound healed, with a bandage in place and restricted exercise and with her owners now safe in the knowledge that she had been cured of this tumour.

As you might expect from a young Staffordshire Bull terrier, Clio was literally back on her feet very quickly after surgery.


Clio at home resting after surgery

Clio back on her feet after surgery


Clio’s owner commented:

Absolutely fabulous! After receiving some devastating news that my dog had a malignant sarcoma on her leg and possibly in her liver and spleen, Stephen Baines and his team worked so hard with compassion and professionalism to not only comfort Clio but us too. He phoned every day of her hospital stay and I rang them in the morning, staff are so helpful and understand that Clio is a massive part of our family! They provide comfort and care when you need it most. Couldn't fault a thing, we wouldn't have her here today without these wonderful people. So thank you!



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!