Cooper is a stunning 7-year-old Golden retriever and a long time patient at West Hills Animal Hospital. He was recently was seen by Dr. Ries for evaluation of several skin masses. Each of the masses was tested, and one located on Cooper’s left carpus (wrist) was suspicious for a cancerous process, called a soft tissue sarcoma.
Dr. Ries removed the suspicious mass, and biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of a soft tissue sarcoma, with incomplete surgical margins. This means tumor cells are still present at the surgery site on his leg, leaving Cooper at significant risk for regrowth of the tumor or spread of disease (metastases).
Cooper’s owners were scheduled to meet with an oncologist to discuss his diagnosis, however in the two-week span between surgery and the appointment, his tumor began to regrow. Cooper was then referred to Dr. Hirshenson, our board certified veterinary surgeon and surgical oncology specialist, for consultation regarding more aggressive treatment for his cancer.
Dr. Hirshenson discussed several options with Cooper’s owners, including repeating a localized surgery followed by radiation therapy, radiation therapy followed by localized surgery, and amputation of the affected limb. Though the last option may seem dramatic, it is one that would likely be curative for Cooper.
After much consideration, Cooper’s family elected to pursue amputation. It was a difficult decision, as he showed no pain from the tumor and was using the affected limb normally, but they knew it would be the best chance for him to be cured.
Cooper was a rock star! The day after surgery he was able to walk with only minor assistance. He spent several days in the hospital recovering and undergoing early physical rehabilitation to help him get used to his new life on three legs!
At his 2-week recheck appointment with Dr. Hirshenson he was so excited to be back at West Hills and showed off by jumping up on the couches in the waiting room!
Cooper is a frequent visitor to us at West Hills and continues to impress us all! We all love you Cooper ❤️