Finley’s Story – Adrenal Tumour

Black Labrador in a cone following surgery to remove an adrenal tumour at Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue

Finley is an eight-year-old Labrador Retriever who was recently diagnosed with an adrenal tumour.

He was at his local vet undergoing an abdominal ultrasound to assess his kidneys and bladder when the vet noticed something else, unrelated to the condition he was being examined for. There appeared to be a large 8cm mass on Finley’s left adrenal gland, so he was referred to our oncology and soft tissue hospital in Guildford for further investigation and treatment.

During an initial telephone consultation, Senior Clinician Dr Jonathan Bray discussed the prognosis and management of adrenal masses with Finley’s family.

Treatment plan for Finley’s adrenal tumour

Together with the family, it was decided the best course of action was surgery, to remove the adrenal tumour and send off a sample for analysis. This would help determine what type of tumour it was. The adrenal glands are hormone factories, and one of the hormones it produces will affect blood pressure.

When a tumour develops in the adrenal gland this can lead to high levels of this hormone produced. This can cause severe hypertension and can make management of the anaesthetic during surgery very difficult. As a precaution, Dr Bray prescribed a course of Phenoxybenzamine, a drug that would help stabilise Finley’s blood pressure before the procedure.

Two weeks later, Finley arrived at our hospital for his procedure. After being admitted, thoracic radiographs were taken, to ensure there was no metastatic disease in his body. He also had routine blood work done and after everything appeared to be within normal limits he was prepped for surgery.

Dr Bray and Surgical Resident Dr Ivan Kamulkov operated together to carefully remove the tumour, which fortunately did not appear to have invaded the surrounding tissue. The mass, measuring about 7-8cm wide, was then sent off to a laboratory for analysis.

A cell-saving device was used throughout the procedure. This ensured that any of Finley’s blood that was lost during the surgery could be salvaged, washed and then transfused back into his body. Although surgery was uncomplicated, he still lost about 130mls of blood during the surgery.

After the surgery, he was then transferred to our hospital ward where he was monitored continuously while he recovered. Within a couple of days, he was stable and bright enough to be discharged to his family.

Analysis of his tumour is consistent with an adrenaline-hormone secreting tumour, called a phaeochromocytoma. These are malignant tumours, however following complete removal, as has been achieved in this case, Finley should have an excellent prognosis.

We look forward to seeing Finley when he returns for his postop check in a couple of weeks!

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