Age: 8yrs old
Weight: 33 kgs
Breed: Staffordshire Bull Terrier
History: BJ came to see us as her notice a rapidly growing lump on her hind leg. It was approx 3-4cm in diameter and they were worried what it might be.
Examination: BJ’s lump was closely exmained and was found to be attached to the muscle layer underneath the skin. To find out what the lump might be a fine needle aspirate (FNA) was performed to collect some cells from the lump to be looked at under the microscope. FNA is the least invasive way of collecting a sample from a lump and can provide us with valuable information that guides us as to how we will treat a lump like BJ had. The FNA was performed by using a small needle inserted into the lump then the cells collected in the needle hub are placed onto a microscope. The cells were exmained by Dr Meredith Brothers than the slides were sent on to a Veterinary Pathologist for confirmation of the diagnosis.
BJ’s lump was diagnosed as a Soft Tissue Sarcoma or STS. STS’s are tumours of the tissues underlaying the skin. They make up 8-11% of all skin tumours or sub-cutaneous (under the skin) cancers. Treatment involves surgery with a wide excision around the mass (3-5cm is recommended) and depending on the grade of the cancerous tissue given to us by the Veterinary Pathologist, Radiation Therapy (RT) might be considered also.
Treatment: BJ’s owners were advised of the results and later that week BJ came in for surgery. To ensure that we got all the cancerous tissue a very wide margin had to be taken around BJ’s mass however due to the location of the tumour we were worried about getting the very large wound closed with sutures. After quite a lengthy surgery we were able to completely excise the mass and close the wound. Small circular incisions were made in the skin around the wound to help relieve tension on the sutures, but it was expected that the wound would break down somewhat due to the enormous tension on the area.
Not all of the sutures held together and the sutures in the middle broke down and left a large deficit in the skin over the knee. Over 6 weeks and multiple bandage changes, this healed up completely, showing just how amazing the body is at regenerating itself.
<< Week one- the wound has broken down
<< Bandages applied every 5 days
<< Week 3 – wound is half the size
<< Week 5 – wound is almost healed
Followup: BJ is currently very healthy and loving life. She goes for regular walks with her owners and loves to visit us here at the clinic with an enthusiastic tail wag.