Bear, a four-year-old Japanese Akita, presented to Northwest referrals for further investigation into a chest wall mass.

Bear had been seen previously by his referring veterinary surgeons and was diagnosed with a growth, affecting his rib cage on the right side. His vets have done some radiographs of the mass and have taken some samples, which although not conclusive were raising suspicion of a cancerous tumor.

After being carefully examined by our surgical team, Bear underwent a CT scan under general anesthesia which indicated that he had an aggressive mass affecting his 6th rib on the right side. Unfortunately, the lesion was also invading his chest cavity and was pressing onto his lungs.

A careful discussion with Bear’s owners ensued so all the potential risks and complications of a surgical operation could be reviewed. A decision was made for the tumor to be removed, which would involve a complex surgery to remove three of Bear’s ribs alongside and to use part of his back muscles for plastic reconstruction of the wound.

We were delighted to see Bear’s surgery go well under the expert care of our surgical team. Since this was open-chest surgery, we had to breathe for Bear as he couldn’t do so himself intraoperatively. Our lovely patient was up and about no less than two hours after his surgery. All his surgical drains and attire was removed the day after his operation and he went home to his loving owners!

Some nerve-wrecking weeks for our team ensued until the reference laboratory returned Bear’s histological results but fortunately and due to their expertise in performing the surgery the surgical margins were clear, although the diagnosis was cancer!

The prognosis for Bear with a complete surgical removal was good and we are happy to report that on a phone follow up two weeks after his procedure, his owner assured us, he was back to his usual self!

We wish all the best to our furry friend Bear and hope his cancer never comes back!

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