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Clinic case of the Month

Schnauzer with a stomach mass

Meet McGuire, a gorgeous 7-year-old Miniature Schnauzer. For the past few years McGuire has had an episode of pancreatitis (a painful swelling of the pancreas that triggers vomiting). Schnauzer breed dogs are prone to pancreatitis and each episode further damaged his pancreas. Last year he developed a secondary complication from chronic pancreatitis, called Diabetes Mellitus (high blood sugars) and he became insulin dependent. However, the last attack of vomiting was different and the symptoms were not responding to treatments that had previously worked. He was vomiting almost everything he ate daily, and his weight was plummeting.

High-resolution digital radiographs were taken of his abdomen, showing his stomach being compressed by a large mass. A specialist ultrasound did not look promising – the mass appeared to be growing into or from the stomach wall, raising concerns of stomach cancer. Dr Lynn operated. The large mass was indeed coming out of the stomach wall, and it looked like it had obliterated the pancreas. The spleen was also entangled in the mass.

McGuire had two thirds of his stomach wall removed, along with the pancreatic remnants and his spleen. Stomach reconstruction left him with a very small stomach (like gastric sleeve surgery in people). He is one amazing trooper who is now back to full strength and playing happily. He needs a daily dose of pancreatic supplement, small regular meals, and twice daily insulin, but none of this bothers McGuire and his adoring dad.

The best news of all was that this was NOT a cancer, but a large invasive pancreatic cyst.