Bailey's cancer scare

Staff member Claire recently brought little Bailey, her 12 year old Jack Russell crossbreed dog, into the clinic for his twice-yearly senior wellness check-up.

Bailey enjoys running around at the beach with his buddy Troy, who is Claire's young Hungarian Visla. In order to keep up with Troy, Bailey requires ongoing arthritis management since injuring both his knees, but this has been well-controlled with tablets and arthritis injections.

As part of Bailey's regular health check, we collected a small blood sample for processing at an external pathology laboratory.  Unfortunately, the blood test reported significant changes in Bailey's liver. In addition he had developed a mild anaemia (low red cell count).

Bailey was promptly scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound to further investigate the abnormal results. The ultrasound identified a large mass growing in the left side of his liver. Thankfully, the ultrasound showed that the mass was not interfering with the blood supply or other vital structures of his liver, and was deemed to be suitable for surgical treatment. Further testing, including radiographs of his lungs, was done to check for evidence of metastatic (spreading) cancer. We were delighted when Bailey had the "all clear" on these tests.

At the local surgical specialist centre, Bailey underwent exploratory abdominal surgery. They confirmed there was a 12cm cancerous mass expanding through one side of his liver. The surgeon successfully isolated and removed the affected part of his liver and Bailey recovered brilliantly from the operation, going home the following day - and begging to play with his tennis ball just two days later!

Test results from the cancer came through the next week. We are so pleased to report that Bailey's liver cancer has been fully cured. Although he's not yet fully healed from surgery, Bailey is back to his old tricks - and much more energetic and active than he had been recently.

It was a frightening week for Claire and for all of us at the clinic who know and love Bailey dearly.  It was also a strong reminder of the importance of regular wellness examinations in our older pets. Bailey had showed no symptoms of the disease and if his blood testing had not been performed we may not have had such a great outcome. Luckily for Bailey, his mum loves him dearly and knows just how important his twice yearly health checks are! 

To find out more about aging pets and how to best keep them healthy, please visit our pages on early diagnosis and treatment and senior pet care.