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October 25, 2014
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community living

Dog with 33-pound tumor

By Joseph A. D’Abbraccio, D.V.M.

In February, I went on a house call in Monticello to examine a dog named Georgia (“Georgie”). She had a large tumor the owners wanted me to look at. When I first examined Georgia I was in complete amazement at the size of the tumor that encompassed nearly all of the left side of her body. The Wuerthner family has cared for Georgia since she was a puppy and in the past two years the mass had grown at a very rapid rate. Local veterinarians had examined Georgia, but many said there was nothing to be done. Last year a veterinarian had attempted to remove the tumor but was not successful, and the procedure was cut short. Filled with defeat and frustration, the Wuerthner family took Georgia home to allow her to live out her days. Weeks prior to my initial visit with Georgia, her everyday mobility became more and more of a challenge, so much so that she was just able to pass through standard doorways. A thorough assessment was performed including a sonogram of the tumor to evaluate the blood flow. I had come to the conclusion that the mass could be taken off. Given the sheer size of the mass, the surgery was not going to come without great risk. Such risk would include severe hemorrhage, possibility of infection, pain, risk of severe invasiveness of the actual mass, as well as need for follow up surgeries.

On February 20, Georgia underwent surgery to remove the tumor at the Wurtsboro Veterinary Clinic, an affiliate practice of Catskill Veterinary Services. The surgery required two skilled veterinarians and the watchful eye of two licensed veterinarians. The team went to work and after delicate surgical technique and patience, the tumor was removed with minimal complication. The post surgical weight of the tumor came in at nearly 33 pounds!

Georgia’s road to recovery lasted longer than just the day of her surgery. Because of the size of the mass, which had hindered her from walking appropriately, she had developed an abnormal leg stance as well as misalignment of her backbone. The Wuerthner family was beyond willing to help Georgia through those challenges and thus continued to come back for frequent re-evaluations.

Today, Georgia has made outstanding progress and is able to move around just like any normal 10-year-old dog. She truly has received a second chance at life and is enjoying every minute of it. Her family reports that she appears to be so happy and spends a lot of time running around the house and playing with the other Wuerthner pets. She now can get on the couch and enjoy her favorite television programs.

It has been my great pleasure to care for Georgia and work with the Wuerthener family during this journey. The most important thing that comes to my mind from Georgia’s story is with your pet’s healthcare as well as your own always need a second opinion. Having another set of eyes in an entirely different setting could mean a great deal for you as with your pet also. People should never feel ashamed or worried of hurting another veterinary practitioner’s feelings by seeking other opinions. You never know what other opportunities or techniques are available unless you look for them.

[Dr. D’Abbraccio, DVM of Catskill Veterinary Services, PLLC, can be reached at jdabbracciodvm@icloud.com, or by visiting www.facebook.com/CatskillVeterinaryServices.]