Max’s Story – Thyroid Carcinoma

Shih Tzu patient in reception

Max is an eight-year-old Shih Tzu, who was enjoying a cuddle with his mum when she felt a small lump on his neck, near his throat.

He happened to have an appointment at his local vet the following day so she decided to ask the vet if this was normal. Upon examining Max, the vet discovered there was a mass on the right side of the trachea. This was definitely not normal, so they decided to do a fine needle aspirate in order to examine some of the cells from the mass. Unfortunately, the aspirates were inconclusive, so Max was booked in for a biopsy. A larger sample of tissue was extracted from the core of the mass and it was then sent off for analysis.

When the results came back from the lab, his family were shocked and worried to hear that the lump was in fact a thyroid carcinoma. The thyroid gland is situated near the windpipe in the neck and is made up of two lobes. It is essential in helping to regulate the body’s metabolism, and a tumour could begin to interfere with this process and could also grow to invade the surrounding areas.

Max’s vet acted quickly and referred him to our oncology and soft tissue hospital in Guildford for further investigation.

Max’s referral

On the day of his appointment, he was examined by Medical Oncologist Dr Iain Grant, who recommended a CT scan to assess whether the tumour had invaded the surrounding tissue, and also to determine whether there was any metastatic spread to the lymph nodes or lungs.

Max was given a general anaesthetic to ensure he remained perfectly still throughout the scan. Dr Grant studied the images that were produced and was happy to report that there did not appear to be any spread through the body. The tumour was located on the right side of his thyroid gland and was well contained.

Specialist Dr Iain Grant

Medical Oncologist Dr Iain Grant, BVSc DipACVIM MRCVS

Dr Grant discussed his findings with Max’s mum and dad and it was decided that Max’s care would be transferred to one of our surgical specialists to have the carcinoma removed.

Surgery

Laurent Findji, Senior Surgeon Oncology & Soft Tissue, Fitzpatrick Referrals

Specialist Dr Laurent Findji, DMV MS DiplECVS MRCVS

After a week at home, Max returned to the hospital where he would be under the care of RCVS Recognised Specialist in Small Animal Surgery, Dr Laurent Findji. Max said goodbye to mum and dad and was then admitted to be prepped for his procedure.

Dr Findji and Surgical Resident Dr Marius Stordalen carefully removed the thyroid tumour, along with the nearest lymph node. The surgery was completed successfully and the tumour and the lymph node were sent off to an external laboratory for analysis.

Recovery

Max recovered from his procedure very well, only spending one night in the hospital with us. After having lots of cuddles from our nursing staff, the next day he was ready to go home.

Surgical Resident Dr Marius Braatas Stordalen with thyroid carcinoma patient

Surgical Resident Dr Marius Stordalen holding Shih Tzu Max, following surgery at Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue.

Mum, dad, and Max’s sister, Poppy were waiting in the reception area for him and were thrilled to see him come strolling through the doors!

After this happy family reunion, Max went home with instructions on how to care for his wound. We were happy to call the family with the results from the lab, which confirmed that the cancer had not spread to the lymph. This is very good news and we look forward to seeing little Max when he returns to have his sutures removed.

Read more about our oncology service

Fitzpatrick Referrals
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