Buddy A/O's Story

The dog, Buddy, resting and looking toward the camera.

Buddy came to us as a morbidly obese rescue, and was already on his fourth family. He was quite a naughty puggle (beagle/pug mix) and came with plenty of baggage including aggression issues. With the stability of a permanent home, obedience training, consistency, and a healthy strict diet he became an easy part of the family. After living with us for a year we noticed a pea-sized mass on his leg. It didn't seem to bother him, and doing fine needle aspirates of the mass did not result in any cellular debris so it was initially determined to be a benign growth.

After a few months the mass started to grow incrementally and it was decided that we should remove it before it became larger, not out of concern for the mass, but in case it became a detriment to his movement when walking. Unfortunately, a histology of the mass submitted to the pathologist out of routine showed that it was a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor, unusual in his age (4 years). The margins from the original removal were not wide enough and there was malignant tumor remaining. Consulting with different doctors, the possibility of him losing his leg was discussed. One of the best treatment options to prevent spread of this form of cancer is to amputate.

We consulted with the UofM Oncology department to get their thoughts. They got us in quickly and were extremely kind and informative. It was decided to proceed with a less aggressive surgery than amputation. Dr Kramek performed the surgery, removing tissue and the cephalic vein in his leg. As the area was on his forelimb there was concern that they would not be able to remove enough tissue to get all the possible cancerous cells, and if they were able to do so that it would be difficult to close the incision with his skin. Instead of a skin graft, Dr Kramek closed with an accordion-style process that allowed his skin to stretch without needing a graft.

We picked him up late that night and were so happy when Dr Kramek called to let us know that she got excellent margins and that he was cancer free. Buddy healed quickly, and now at 7 years old has been doing amazingly. The decision to go through the UofM College of Veterinary Medicine saved his leg, and his life. Our family would not be the same without him and we are so happy to have the amazing abilities of the surgeons and oncologists at the UofM on our side.

The dog, Buddy, laying down. His left forelimb wrapped in a blue bandage.Thank you,
The Austin/Olson family

Share your story

Have we helped your pet? We'd love to hear from you. Share your VMC story by emailing vmccomm@umn.edu. Don't forget to include a photo of your pet!