Case File

Holly and her growth

by Amy Parsons BVSc MRCVS

Here at Watkins and Tasker Vets we will always do everything we can help get your poorly pets home for special occasions. Below vet Amy talks us through a recent case that occured close to Christmas…

Holly, the 11 year old female neutered West Highland White Terrier first came to see us before Christmas having been under the weather for a few days, not wanting to eat and being sick. On examination, she was a very sad little dog and although she was tensing when feeling her tummy, Amy was sure there was a growth present.

To investigate further we started off by running a comprehensive blood profile to look for markers of abdominal organ involvement. The blood results showed that Holly’s liver, kidneys and pancreas were fine so the next step was to investigate the nature of the what Amy had felt so the next day Holly was admitted to our Portishead branch for imaging.



An ultrasound examination revealed a large, spherical growth between the stomach and the spleen. The liver appeared not to have spread. It was difficult, even with the scan images to determine what the mass was attached to. We knew it sat between the liver, stomach and spleen but could not tell it’s origin. Having discussed the benefits and risks of going to surgery, Holly’s owners elected for us to operate in an attempt to remove the growth that was causing Holly to feel so unwell.

We operated the same day and found a tumour originating from Holly’s intestine. The tumour had invaded the blood vessels to the spleen so in order to fully remove the growth we had to remove a portion of the intestine and the spleen. The ends of the intestine were then sewn back together. As it was such a major surgery, we were concerned that Holly would not be interested in eating very much after her operation, and nutrition is key to post-surgical recovery. Therefore, we placed a feeding tube to help her on her way. The mass was sent off to the laboratory for histopathology to determine what type of tumour is was.



Holly was hospitalised for a week after the surgery, receiving pain relief and food via her tube. She made a remarkable recovery and was sent home for Christmas with her family. The report from the laboratory came back as a type of cancer (of the smooth muscle) but that complete removal had been achieved. There is a low chance of it spreading but at the moment Holly is doing extremely well and is back to being a happy little girl! This is why, if you have any concern about changes of your pet’s behaviour, please get in touch as quick action can result in many happy endings.


Back to top of page...