Sunday, October 10, 2010

219. Malignant cheek tumour & accountability of a vet

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The miniature schnauzer had a malignant cheek tumour which was removed twice. See:
Malignant cheek tumour in an old Miniature Schnauzer

The tumour grows back a second time two months later. It was excised. It recurs for the 3rd time. The dog could not eat normally and had a painful mouth. The young lady owner wanted another operation without the dog dying on the operating table.

"It is highly risky to do anaesthesia on an old dog," I warned her of the possibility of death again. "This old dog had survived two general anaesthesias. His cheek tumour is malignant as it keeps doubling in size every week. Why don't you consider chemotherapy?"

The young lady did not want chemotherapy for her beloved companion as it had side effects and was not guaranteed to work. I told her that I needed to remove the cheek tumour from outside by blunt dissection from the skin.

"Your dog may be paralysed," I said. "There will be a lot of bleeding."

The lady said: "Why don't you operate from inside the cheek to remove the cheek tumour as you had done before?"

"I need to cut away as much of the cancer cells as possible. There may be a root of the tumour and I need to access the root from the skin to dissect away the tumours. If all cancerous cells can be removed from the skin approach, it will be good for your dog. Provided he survives the operation which will take a long time compared to the previous two excisions"

The lady was worried about deaths on the operating table. Every time an old dog is put under general anaesthesia, the chances of dying are increased. Every time a vet operates on such high-risk dogs, he or she is bound to suffer fatalities and damage to his reputation.

The dog was given antibiotics and painkillers for the next 2 weeks. The lady did not turn up on the appointed day and so I thought she decided to opt out of the surgery. Then she turned up. She was a busy working girl.

PRE-SURGERY
Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory pred injection on day 1 and antibiotics after Day 1. On Day 2, tolfedine pain-killer oral. No pain in the cheeks on Day 3. Surgery on Day 4 after admission. An IV drip is very important in case emergency drugs are needed.

ANAESTHESIA
Domitor 0.2 ml IV from the IV saline drip line. The dog had a cyanotic tongue. It was not a good sign of health. I had a premonition that he would die on the operating table.

TEAM
Teamwork is essential in this high-risk anaesthestic case. I had two experienced assistants who are old experienced Myanmar vets with over 20 years of experience combined and Dr Vanessa Lim to assist.

SURGERY TIPS
1. "I don't need the scalpel blade," I said to my assistants. "An electro-surgery electrode needle incises the skin."

2. "Dissection with scissors is not advised," I explained to my assistants. "I will use the electrode to separate this hard mass of tumour from under the skin. The tumour has a capsule."

3. Bleeding. Electro-surgery reduces bleeding considerably. There was a small bursting artery which was clamped. I could not find the big vein or artery supplying blood to the tumour nodules. There were 3 nodules inside the cheek muscles.

4. "Where to incise?" I asked my assistants as part of my mentoring process. "A horizontal cut or vertical curved cut or both?" They had to think.

EMERGENCY RESUSCITATION
The surgery took more than 30 minutes. The shorter the better survival rate for an old dog. "The dog has died," my second assistant pointed to the dilated pupil which now showed a whitish cataract. A matted white. The isoflurane gas was given at a minimum. Too little, the dog's cheek muscles would twitch and so I had asked for an increase. There was no twitching and surgical dissection proceeded smoothly. Too smoothly.

Now the dog had stopped breathing. He had not died as my first assistant in charge of anaesthesia had much experience and had observed regular breathing. A dilated pupil is common in the deepest surgical anaesthetic stage.

A big dilated pupil could also mean imminent death or death. Whatever it was, I stopped the anaesthesia, blew air into the trachea tube and started cardiac massage immediately. Three cardiac massages and blow three times. My second assistant flushed out the isoflurane gas by pressing the red button and gave me the tube to connect oxygen to the dog. "It is better to blow air in and massage the heart," I advised. The dog was not breathing normally. A stethoscope to check the heart beating showed no sounds. My lst assistant injected Doxapram respiratory stimulant 1.0 ml into the IV line. I continued cardiac massage and air blowing into the tracheal tube. My 2nd assistant injected 0.2 ml Antisedan which is the antidote for Domitor.

It took more than 5 minutes but it seemed like eternity. "There was no hope," I thought as I could not hear the breathing sounds when I put my ears to the endotracheal tube after several cardiac massages. At one time, my first assistant would compress the heart from the top while I put my hand on the lower part of the dog's chest. It was touch and go. The dog started breathing.

My second assistant offered me the anaesthetic tube to connect to the endotracheal tube as the surgery was only 95% complete. There was the stitching to be done.
"God may not give 2nd chances," I pointed above my head and declined the anaesthetic connection to the gas machine. The Antisedan had reversed the Domitor sedation and the dog's head started to move. There was little time to stitch up. Subcutaneous stitching in certain areas could be done. Horizontal mattress stitches quickly closed up the skin incision. The dog put up his head in around 3 minutes as if he had a long nap. He did not cry or whine. Dr Vanessa Lin gave me the meloxicalm pain-killers. "It is best not to inject any drug to this old dog as he might just die after the pain-killer injection," I thanked her.

fast-growing malignant cheek tumour miniature schnauzer with poor oral hygiene toapayohvets singapore fast-growing malignant cheek tumour miniature schnauzer with poor oral hygiene toapayohvets singapore fast-growing malignant cheek tumour miniature schnauzer with poor oral hygiene toapayohvets singapore
antibiotics for 10-14 days before surgery as tumour is badly infected 3 hard nodules in the cheek muscles. Domitor 0.2 ml IV given malignant tumours as they double in size every week
fast-growing malignant cheek tumour miniature schnauzer with poor oral hygiene toapayohvets singapore fast-growing malignant cheek tumour miniature schnauzer with poor oral hygiene toapayohvets singapore fast-growing malignant cheek tumour miniature schnauzer with poor oral hygiene toapayohvets singapore
the owner did not turn up for appointment till 2 days later. Tumour is infected electro-incision close to the skin. Thoroughly remove remnants of cancer cells 3 cheek tumours excised leaving a big hole in the cheek but there is the skin to close up the wound
fast-growing malignant cheek tumour miniature schnauzer with poor oral hygiene toapayohvets singapore fast-growing malignant cheek tumour miniature schnauzer with poor oral hygiene toapayohvets singapore tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)3827 - 3834. Malignant cheek tumours excised via the skin approach.
a third nodule is not shown here. Histopathology is being done <1 hour after completion of surgery. Dog is ok

A dog alive is what the owner wanted. Nothing more. No excuses. The dog ate 2 days after surgery and should be going home soon. In high-risk anaesthetic cases, it is best to have a team of experienced assistants. The brain dies when it is deprived of oxygen and in this case, a team definitely helped to revive this old beloved companion for the young lady.

The anaesthetist is more important than the surgeon as anaesthesia deaths are fatal. An experienced team is advised in high anaesthetic cases. Intubation and IV drip line are essential in such surgeries. If the surgery can be completed in less than 154 minutes, old dogs seldom die but in this case, the 3 tumours were large and time had to be spent on bluntly dissecting them to prevent excessive bleeding. Surgery took more than 30 minutes to complete. It was through teamwork that the old dog did not die on the operating table.

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