Toby's unexpected discovery

Toby is a 12 year old German Short-haired Pointer, who loves to help out with the chores and keep the other dogs of the house well behaved! Toby has been in for his regular senior checks, and it was at his most recent check up that his owner mentioned that Toby had become a bit incontinent in his old age.

We started with a urine test (which was unremarkable) and some blood tests to rule out diseases before declaring 'old man incontinence'. Toby appeared to be very healthy otherwise. The next investigation step would be x-rays and ultrasound to rule out physical problems.

Toby came and stayed the day with us so we could x-ray and ultrasound his abdomen. It was at that point that we found a mass in Toby's abdomen – completely unrelated to his bladder! There was strong suspicion from the ultrasound that it was Toby's spleen where this large mass was. Our focus suddenly shifted from Toby's incontinence to his mass in his abdomen – a common mass that occurs on the spleen is a nasty type of cancer called Haemangiosarcoma.

Our concern with this particular cancer is that masses of this nature can be very fragile and easily damaged. Often it is not known that a patient has this condition until the haemangiosarcoma ruptures, causing severe haemorrhage and collapse. Not knowing if this was a benign (harmless) or malignant mass was too much for Toby's owners, so he was booked in to have his spleen removed and tested. Toby's splenectomy procedure went smoothly and he was back to normal in no time.

Lucky for Toby, the lump tested as a haematoma; a swelling caused by haemorrhage. The lump was quite fragile and may have potentially caused similar issues as a haemangiosarcoma, but we could clear Toby of a nasty prognosis. No chemotherapy needed for Toby; he is back to helping his parents fix the fences with plenty of old-man-naps in between and occasionally wetting the bed.