Dog horror as tumour 'size of football' removed after owners thought he was just 'heavy'

A GOLDEN RETRIEVER had a football-sized tumour removed from his spleen after his owners thought the pooch piled on 1kg by eating too much.

Ruth Langsford spots a snake on her morning dog walk

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Marty was facing the prospect of going on a diet to help him lose weight but much to his owner’s surprise it turned out he had a tumour measuring a whopping 20cm. The 11-year-old hound was rushed in for surgery at Veterinary Specialists Scotland (VSS) in Livingston, West Lothian, where he had an emergency op and miraculously survived.

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Owner Jane Gallacher said she had been resigned to the likelihood of losing Marty with or without vet intervention.But thankfully she was able to thank specialist vet Joanna McCagherty for saving his life.Jane, from Stirling, said: "We faced the possibility of taking Marty home to die or a potentially complex operation which may or may not save him."Our vet advised his best chance lay in him being transferred to a specialist-led veterinary centre for surgery and in-patient care and Joanna at VSS said she would operate on Marty that evening.

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Golden retriever Marty had a tumour measuring 20cm removed (Image: SWNS)


Marty pictured on a walk (Image: SWNS)"We were so very grateful and knew that without surgery Marty might die over the weekend."

She added that when Marty's owners met Joanna late one Friday afternoon, the pooch trotted off down the corridor behind her as though he knew his life was in her hands.

Jane said: "We all trusted her from the start.

"She explained the plan and was entirely honest about the risks and so kind throughout, promising us she would call when the surgery was over that evening.


Lucky Marty poses for the camera! (Image: SWNS)


Marty enjoys a beach walk (Image: SWNS)"When Joanna called, she told us Marty’s spleen had ruptured due to the large tumour but that his body had stemmed the bleeding itself.

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"Amazingly, he had not lost too much blood and therefore did not need a blood transfusion.

"She then told us the mass that she’d removed was the size of a football!

"We felt so bad as we’d been cutting back his food a bit thinking he was getting a little bit heavy – he’s more than 1kg lighter now."

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Marty is back home with his family (Image: SWNS)


Jane said the family would be forever thankful for the amazing dedication and skill of Joanna and the VSS team effort that saved Marty.

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She added: "It’s a truly remarkable story and the icing on the cake was the call from Joanna 10 days after surgery with the news that the tumour was benign and Marty was cancer free.

"We are so grateful."


An X-ray shows Marty's tumour (Image: SWNS)

Joanna explained Marty had been referred to VSS as an emergency for investigation and surgical management of haemoabdomen due to a suspected bleeding mass on his spleen.

Haemoabdomen in dogs is often referred to as internal bleeding in the abdominal cavity.

A CT scan was performed which revealed a large mass, some 20cm across, within Marty’s spleen and free fluid within the abdominal cavity which was thought likely to be blood.

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Joanna said: "Marty underwent abdominal surgery and we discovered the very large mass had ruptured and was bleeding in several areas.

"It was also firmly adhered to the surrounding tissues, making it very challenging to remove the spleen and the associated mass."

The spleen was submitted for histopathology.

Joanna said: "The majority of masses on the spleen which have ruptured are typically malignant tumours, so we were very pleased Marty’s mass was benign and no further treatment was needed."

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