Lucky is a very special patient of ours. She is a 14-year-old shepherd mix that belongs to some very devoted owners. Lucky first presented to Dr. Blackler on a Tuesday evening after she had not quite been herself for a couple of days and then collapsed and was unwilling to get up. Initial diagnostics on Lucky included blood work and x-rays which revealed that Lucky had a large tumor in her abdomen and some dramatically abnormal liver values. On Lucky’s x-ray, it was not clear which organ the tumor was associated with, but given her bloodwork, Dr. Blackler thought it was most likely associated with her liver. An ultrasound by our internist, Dr. Hopper, confirmed that this was the case and that it was a single tumor which made removal of the tumor a possibility. Lucky’s dedicated owners decided to proceed to surgery after a couple of days of stabilization on IV fluids and antibiotics. One of our Board Certified Surgeons, Dr. Parks, removed the entire lobe of Lucky’s liver that the tumor was affecting. Lucky was in the hospital with us for four days and made a remarkable recovery. The tumor was ultimately the size of a small cantaloupe and when sent to the lab, was determined to be an adenocarcinoma (a type of cancer) of the liver that was completely removed. Lucky is now three weeks post-op and doing very well and her bloodwork is returning to normal. We are following her closely as this was quite an intensive surgery for an older girl, but she pulled through with flying colors and her owners tell us she is acting herself again. We will continue to monitor her but fortunately for Lucky, this tumor doesn’t often spread and was completely removed so she could go on for quite some time yet.

There are a variety of cancers that can affect the canine liver. In Lucky’s case, she was fortunate that her cancer was a single solitary mass that could be removed. Dr. Parks removed a significant portion of Lucky’s liver but the liver is quite amazing in its regenerative and compensatory abilities. An animal can lose up to 2/3 of its liver and still be able to function normally. Quite impressive! There is a chance that Lucky’s cancer could come back in the future, but for now, she is back to herself and has a great quality of life. We will watch her closely for recurrence but in the meantime, she will continue to do the things dogs love to do and we wish her the best. Good luck, Lucky. Your name suits you!

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