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"Toby" - Crossbreed with Histiocytic Sarcoma

Wide surgical excision of the offending cancer remains the mainstay of successful treatment of most malignancies that we see in domestic pets. Early diagnosis is paramount in identifying which type of cancer is present in order to determine the most appropriate course of action.

Often we will come across a cancer type which remains locally aggressive but doesn't demonstrate a tendency to metastasise (spread to other organs). The key to success is ensuring that all cancer tissue is removed at the time of surgery.

Difficulties arise where the cancer grows on one of the legs. In these situations it is often impossible to be sure of removing all of the cancer without removing the affected limb. Not an ideal scenario when you are contemplating the options with an old timer like "Toby" who has severe osteoarthritis in his remaining limbs.


Fortunately for him, his cancer type (histiocytic sarcoma) is known to be susceptible to radiation treatment. So after initial surgery to remove as much cancer tissue as possible his owners then opted to take him to Cambridge University for 4 bouts of radiation treatment in an effort to eradicate any remaining cancer cells.........without having to remove his leg!

2 weeks on and despite some local tissue inflammation "Toby" is doing extremely well and is very pleased to be trotting around on all fours!

Interestingly, retrospective studies in human medicine have shown that successful treatment of this condition in humans exactly like our canine counterparts, is considerably improved if both wide excision and radiation treatment is combined.


Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS


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