No 'last goodbye' for Cello: 5-hour surgery saved dog's life

accreditation
iStock
  • A female Goldendoodle was diagnosed with a rare and deadly tumour
  • Surgical oncology specialists, however, performed a long and complicated surgery and saved her life
  • The dog is now back with her family in St. Petersburg, Florida

Risky, groundbreaking surgery saved a 12-year-old dog that had an aggressive tumour and was given only weeks to live, University of Florida veterinarians report.

Cello, a female Goldendoodle, had a rare tumour that caused a life-threatening obstruction of her major veins.

"This was one of the most advanced cases of tumour invasion that any of us had seen, and there was a very high chance that Cello could have died during surgery," said Dr Elizabeth Maxwell, a clinical assistant professor in surgical oncology.

She was a member of the team that treated Cello in May. The dog is now back home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ultrasound revealed a blood clot

"However, without surgery, she would have certainly died in a couple of weeks. With the combined efforts of all the specialists – critical care, internal medicine, radiology, anaesthesia and surgical oncology – we were able to successfully remove the tumour and hopefully give Cello a long and happy life," Maxwell said in a university news release.

Cello's owner, Joan Garbutt, first saw trouble while giving her beloved pet a bath – one of Cello's back legs was swollen in the knee area, so Garbutt sent a picture to her veterinarian, Dr Brett Zielinski, who saw Cello that day.

When several days of antibiotic therapy did not reduce the swelling, an ultrasound revealed a blood clot. Zielinski recommended that Cello be taken to the University of Florida.

"I drove her to the ER in Gainesville that night," said Garbutt, a retired Air Force colonel who adopted Cello as an eight-week-old puppy.

The diagnosis was dire: A CT scan revealed that Cello had a large pheochromocytoma, a tumour of the adrenal gland that was invading the largest vessel in her abdomen, blocking most of the blood flow from her hind limbs and abdomen to the heart.

Groundbreaking operation

This type of tumour often causes episodes of heart rhythm problems, high blood pressure, fainting episodes, weakness, blindness and sudden death.

Still, Cello's doctors thought she had a chance of surviving and recommended a groundbreaking operation, so Garbutt gave her blessing.

They sent Cello home with Garbutt on medications to help prevent some of the known complications.

"It was a very long week at home," Garbutt said in the release. "Cello was very worn out and sick, and at one point I did not think she would make it through Mother's Day.

"I dropped her off [at the hospital] on that Friday morning with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, wondering if this was our last goodbye," Garbutt remembered.

The complex surgery performed on Cello involved removal of the right adrenal gland with the associated tumour, removal of the right kidney and cutting open the major abdominal vein to remove the tumour that was obstructing blood flow.

High praise for caregivers

The five-hour operation carried a number of risks – severe bleeding, heart rhythm disruptions, dramatic blood pressure changes, kidney damage and blood clots: It all added up to a 50% risk of death, according to Maxwell.

But Cello slowly recovered over the next few months and at her last checkup in August, she was in good health, her doctors said.

"She is doing great, free of clinical signs and all medications have been discontinued," and she "is now a completely normal and happy dog," said Cello's lead surgeon, Dr Carlos Souza, an assistant professor of surgical oncology.

Garbutt had high praise for her treasured dog's caregivers.

"Cello has been there through my hardest days of service with a toy in her mouth and a snuggle," she said. "Thank you is not enough."

Image credit: iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
A Section 89 panel headed by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo found President Cyril Ramaphosa has an impeachable case to answer on the Phala Phala scandal.
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Ramaphosa should do the honourable thing and immediately resign.
24% - 1019 votes
Ramaphosa should follow due process and submit himself to an impeachment hearing.
30% - 1255 votes
Ramaphosa should fight the findings in court and keep his job at all costs
46% - 1924 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.54
+0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.57
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.48
+0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.92
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Gold
1,797.91
0.0%
Silver
23.15
0.0%
Palladium
1,900.00
0.0%
Platinum
1,020.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
85.57
-1.5%
Top 40
68,238
-0.9%
All Share
74,323
-0.9%
Resource 10
74,020
-2.7%
Industrial 25
91,592
-0.6%
Financial 15
15,398
+0.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE