Nearly 14 years old, Mack is a male Red Heeler x Staffie who presented to our clinic for a large eyeball mass growing from the orbit of his right eye. His owner was seeking a second opinion as he had been advised that without a specialist referral for CT scans and specialist surgery, there was nothing that could be done and he would have to be euthanised.
Mack’s eyeball mass had been growing for several months when he presented to Dr Seung at SAH and it had covered the right eye about two months prior to presentation. The mass was 8-10 centimeters in diameter, inflamed and infected. Mack was otherwise a bright and happy dog. Most vets would have looked at his lesion and advised specialist referral or euthanasia. Referral was not an option for Mack due to financial constraints and because we love a challenge at Southern Animal Health and we know how important all your pets are to you, we decided to make a plan!
Dr Seung dispensed an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic to clear up the initial infection and Mack was booked in a few days later for a second opinion with Dr Karin Davids our advanced surgeon. It was decided that she would attempt to debulk/remove the eyeball mass along with the eyeball, but Mack’s owner was made aware that due to the location and if it was cancerous, which was the most likely diagnosis, we may not be able to get complete margins and this would be a palliative procedure only. It was agreed that we should proceed. Click here to view an image of Mack’s tumour however, please be warned that it is very graphic.
Mack was admitted to SAH. He was given a general anaesthetic, chest and skull x-rays were conducted prior to surgery to see if there were signs of metastatic tumour spread to the lungs, or if the eyeball mass was invading the surrounding bone in the skull. The only findings were a mild inflammatory reaction at the edge of the eye socket from all the infected cancerous tissue but no obvious sign of tumour spread to the lungs or of it invading the surrounding bone was found. With this excellent news we could now proceed to surgery and Mack was prepared for surgery with Dr Karin Davids. The large mass was removed along with the eyeball and the inflamed bone was chiselled away to leave only healthy bone behind. His surgical site was neatly closed and Mack recovered well post surgery. He stayed overnight to keep receiving pain relief and intravenous fluid therapy.
Mack’s lump was sent to histopathology which came back as a well-differentiated, low grade adenocarcinoma – most likely from the lacrimal gland of the eye. The fantastic news was that Dr Karin Davids, with her advanced surgical skills, had managed to obtain surgical margins that were free of cancerous cells!
One-eyed Mack has made a remarkable recovery and is now living a happy healthy life. He is just one of the many examples how at SAH, life- saving advanced surgery can be performed without referral to a specialist, with a great outcome for a fraction of the price. At SAH we would never advise euthanasia because it ‘looks impossible to fix’, we will always try our best to give your loved ones a “Mack” happy ending!