Collapsed dog recovers after Maven Vets ultrasound scan revealed large unidentified mass

A huge 50kg dog presented a heavy challenge for Maven Vets he arrived for emergency treatment after suddenly collapsing at home.

The expert team at Maven Veterinary Care in Sutton had their hands full dealing with the nine-year-old Presa Canario, named Chago, who was also over two-foot tall.

Worse still, an ultrasound scan revealed Chago had a large unidentified mass in his spleen that was causing a worrying amount of blood loss, symptoms consistent with a ruptured tumour.

Maven’s Dr Hazel Maw said the big unknown was whether the tumour was cancerous, so they organised an emergency operation to remove the spleen, and with it the tumour, to find out.

Hazel said: “This was a big challenge in every way! Chago came to us as an emergency after he suddenly collapsed at home.

“He was weak and unable to stand, with very pale gums, a distended abdomen, fast heart rate and weak pulses, which are all signs of blood loss and shock.

“Chago was immediately admitted to our hospital, given supportive treatment, and we began investigations to understand why he had collapsed.

“An abdominal ultrasound scan revealed a large mass in Chago’s spleen and lots of fluid in the abdomen. A sample of this fluid was taken which turned out to be blood, consistent with a ruptured tumour and internal bleeding.

“Blood tests revealed that Chago was only mildly anaemic at this point, however, he would continue to lose more blood without treatment.

“The only treatment option was emergency surgery to remove the spleen and stop further blood loss.

“Chago was prepared for surgery. He had an intravenous catheter placed and was started on intravenous fluid boluses to help bring up his blood pressure, along with pain relief to make him more comfortable.”

Veterinary research shows that 50 to 60 per cent of tumours in the spleen are cancerous, and survival time after surgery is only a few months.

In the remaining cases, where the tumour is benign, removing the spleen should be curative.

Hazel added: “Unfortunately, it is not safe to biopsy the spleen to determine whether the mass is benign or cancerous prior to surgery, so we only know for certain what the long-term outcome will be once the spleen has been sent to the laboratory for further testing after surgical removal.

“The most common malignant tumour of the spleen is called a haemangiosarcoma. This type of tumour can also be located in the right atrium of the heart and then spread to the spleen.

“Therefore, prior to surgery, Chago had an ultrasound of his heart to look for evidence of a primary tumour which was thankfully normal.

“Chago also had x-rays of his chest to check for any spread to his lungs. Happily, no evidence of spread was seen and, while this does not completely rule out a cancerous tumour, Chago’s owner decided to go ahead with the surgery to give him the best chance possible.

“Chago had intricate surgery to remove his spleen, which involved carefully tying off all of the blood vessels to it, as there is a risk of bleeding during and after surgery.

“We also had to monitor his red blood cell count carefully during recovery, as many patients will need a blood transfusion.

“Chago’s surgery went well and his red blood cell count remained stable, meaning no transfusion was required, and after two nights in hospital he was back home with his owner.

“The spleen was sent to an external laboratory for analysis and tests which showed the tumour was thankfully benign.

“We are so pleased Chago has gone on and made a full recovery and is back to his normal self again.”

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