The dog owner was expecting puppies.
You wouldn’t believe what she got.
When veterinarians operated on her two-year-old husky, they found a tumour growing on the animal’s ovary.
The growth made the ovary the size of a watermelon. It’s normally the size of a pecan.
“It’s the first time in 20 years I’ve seen an internal tumour this big,” said Dr. Marina Alpeza of the Copper Road Veterinary Clinic.
Alpeza removed the 4.8-kilogram cancerous growth on Tuesday, in an operation that took more than two hours.
“The cancer had also spread to the uterus as well, so it was a big, big surgery,” she said.
The husky weighs 23 kilograms, so the tumour is one-fifth its weight.
“It was huge,” said Alpeza, adding this is a common procedure, but the tumours are usually very small.
It’s belly had been shaved, but, otherwise, the bitch was in fine form the day after surgery. The owner picked her up on Wednesday evening.
The owner asked for anonymity, and refused to release the dog’s name.
“(The dog) was singing before she went into surgery and she’s singing again now,” said Alpeza. “It’s amazing, after that big of a surgical procedure, she can get up and walk the next morning.”
The vet, who saved the cystic mass for the owners to see, sent out samples to a laboratory in Langley, BC, just to confirm the diagnosis. But she was 99 per cent certain it was cancerous.
She said no follow-up surgery or chemo-therapy will be required because everything was cleanly removed, including both ovaries and the uterus.
“If you have a dog spayed before a year old, then it really reduces the risk for developing ovarian or breast cancer later,” said Alpeza.
The dog was kept for breeding purposes and had not been spayed.
It’s very unusual to have this size of a tumour in this young of a dog, said Dr. Paul Woods, who works in the oncology department at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph.
Most cancerous tumours are more aggressive and the signs are obvious before the abnormal growth has a chance to get so big.
Some breeds are more predisposed to cancer, said Woods.
“In the old days it was the boxer, but today it’s seen more in golden retrievers,” he said, noting that cancer-rate statistics don’t exist for dogs.
The dog’s growth has nothing on a human tumour.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest human tumour ever removed intact was one-metre in diameter and weighed 138 kilograms.
It had grown in the abdomen of a 34-year-old woman.
Her operation took more than six hours and was performed at the Stanford University Medical Centre in California in 1991.