Spleen Scan – Prevention is better than cure

The spleen is a large organ located in the abdomen. Many large breeds of dogs are prone to tumours developing within the spleen. At first they cause no signs that can be seen from the outside but in many instances before they can be detected they can rupture causing a catastrophic haemorrhage. Often the first we know about them is when a dog comes into the hospital collapsed. If we can get them through this crisis the spleen and tumour must be removed.  This unfortunately means an operation for a very sick dog which is bad enough, but the problem  can be more sinister. If the tumour is malignant then cancer cells can spread at the time of rupture with potentially fatal consequences in the weeks after the event.

If the tumour is detected early then the spleen can be removed when the dog is still healthy but crucially before it has a chance to rupture. A recent case at Hampstead illustrated how valuable ultrasound is in the detection of this problem. A middle aged labrador attended the hospital with an unrelated condition and was admitted for an ultrasound examination. The vet in charge took the opportunity to perform a thorough examination of all the abdomen. The high level of experience and training at Village Vet together with a “state of the art” ultrasound scanner ensures such an examination provides an opportunity to screen all the organs for the subtle changes that might indicate a future problem.

Having detected the tumour early it gives the owner an opportunity to opt to have the spleen and tumour removed, when the dog is still healthy and crucially before it ruptures spreading tumour cells.

This case also underlines Village Vet’s approach that preventative medicine is much better than cure. We apply this same principle whenever we see your pet. For example when your pet comes in for it’s vaccination, the examination that we carry out at the same time is also a valuable part of the preventative health care we offer. A thorough head to toe examination will help pick up anything that might need attention and check anything that you have noticed and might be concerned about.

But if you the owner of a larger breed dog  we can arrange for further tests. Ultrasound examination is painless and non invasive and can provide early screening for some potentially fatal problems.

This is just one example of screening programs Village Vet can offer. Book a heath check up with your vet and they can discuss what might be  appropriate for your pet.

Click Hear to read more about tumours in dogs and what we can to to prevent, diagnose and treat