I am further sympathetic to my smaller patients as the
tools required for this examination (my hands!) are not
available in a smaller size for their benefit. Consequently,
when one of my feline patients, Jasper, had to undergo repeated
rectal examinations for a persistent perianal abscess I
endeavoured to be as gentle as possible!
Unfortunately for him, an abscess, which stemmed from one
of his anal glands, failed to resolve despite rigorous treatment.
Additionally, a lump which was only apparent by rectal examination
continued to enlarge.
Needle biopsies were taken and cancer was diagnosed. Anal
gland carcinoma is very rare in the cat and the first I
have ever diagnosed in my career. Sadly, the rarity of the
condition is of no consolation for the patient who is affected.
Radical surgery is generally the key to success but is
impossible in this area for fear of permanent damage to
the anal sphincter. Despite these limitations a clean surgical
margin was achieved albeit narrow.
We can but hope that there will be no recurrence or spread.
However, this does illustrate the importance of a thorough
clinical examination no matter how unpleasant for either
patient or surgeon.
Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS
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