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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1264
Experience:  13 years experience in small animal medicine/surgery
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Hi, my nine year old Staffordshire bull terrier has had the

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Hi, my nine year old Staffordshire bull terrier has had the week from hell! Last week, he became unwell after vomiting and following a trip to the vet, a mass on his spleen was discovered, which had ruptured and bled internally. After an ultrasound and xray gave other organs the all clear, a splenectomy was performed and the mass and spleen was removed- a procedure from which he is till recovering (remarkably well!) It may be worth noting that the surrounding areas were all 'sticky' indicating a supposed mild internal infection.

Given his age and stats, as well as a gloomy prediction from the actual surgeon based on his visual inspection of the removed mass, i had a nervous and very pessimistic wait for the biopsy results.

Eventually i had a call with the biopsy results and they told me seven samples taken had all been diagnosed as benign. I was naturally overjoyed and i assumed this would all be over!

Sorry for the long winded story- i promise i am getting to the point :) following a check up with the vet this morning, they told me that although the biopsy results had been favorable, there was still a chance my dog had hemangiosarcoma and only time would tell! Know i know no-one can tell me definitively he is and will be 100% okay, just as no-one can tell me this evening's lottery numbers but i was wondering how much faith i should put on the biopsy results or if i should put more weight on the vet's analysis and initiate further tests. (something i am reluctant to put poor Rocky through) Are there any more tests to get a more definitive answer than this biopsy? Given your experience, have such tests were all samples were returned as benign failed to pick up on hemangiosarcoma?


DrBruce :

Hello, this is Dr. Bruce and I would like to help you with Rocky.

DrBruce :

I'm sorry to hear about the week from hell. It has definitely been a lot for the both of you.

DrBruce :

Unfortunately, there is no absolute answers in medicine. No test returns 100% results, especially when it comes to cancer. However, I really like the odds at this time. If the pathologist took 7 samples, and did not find cancer in any of those samples, that is pretty comforting.

DrBruce :

There are many possible causes for the pathologist to miss the diagnosis (the vet didn't send in the right piece of the tumor, the pathologist is a quack, the cancer is not developed enough to look like cancer on the slide, etc, etc.)

DrBruce :

If you want further confirmation, you could ask your vet to ask the pathology service to cut new samples and have another pathologist read it. I don't know your vet, but some vets may tell you that because they want to cover their butts in case it should come back later on and actually be a case of cancer.


Thanks for your help Dr. Bruce.... Definitely in a better position than a few days ago.


I guess we should carry on with life as normal and hope for the best and an optimistic future :)

DrBruce :

I think that would be the best choice. The most important thing is that Rocky is doing great, and his quality of life is high.

Dr. Bruce and 3 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Omar,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Rocky. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi DrBruce,

Thanks for your help- Rocky is doing fine and getting better day by day...

He just had his staples out today and a blood count showed a significant improvement in comparison to the same test shortly after surgery.

Thanks once again for your help and the follow up.

Hello again,

That sounds like very encouraging news for you and Rocky. Certainly sounds like his quality of life is high.

I'm very glad to hear how well he is doing, and hopefully, he will continue to improve until he is back to his old self.

Please feel free to check in from time to time to let me know how happy he is!


Dr. Bruce