Lymphoma and Soft Tissue Sarcoma: a multi-modal approach to two common tumours

Posted on March 27, 2018 by Stephen Baines And Sarah Mason

Sarcoma blog imageSmall animal practitioners are faced with animals with neoplasia on a day to day basis and clients are becoming more willing to consider treatment for pets with cancer and have more available treatment options. Many neoplasms in small animals are very treatable and can result in excellent quality of life and good outcomes for many patients.

With information readily available via the internet and the rapid growth of specialist oncology services and new treatment options this interest is likely to increase, and it can be challenging to keep up to date with current therapeutic options and recommendations.

Scenario 1

A new client to the practice presents a dog for vaccination. The client mentions that they have just noticed a sub-cutaneous lump, which they consider to just be a fatty one like all the others. The client asks for it to be removed. 

How would you advise the client and proceed at this point? Is a simple local excision of a presumed lipoma appropriate? Is a pre-operative diagnosis via cytology or histology indicated, and which of these is likely to be most appropriate? If the nature of the mass is not known, but the client has requested surgery, is an excisional biopsy the most appropriate step? How should we decide if and when a biopsy is needed before surgery? What role will surgery play in the management of this mass?

Scenario 2

A regular client presents a dog for vaccination in a busy evening clinic. She mentions that the dog, a six-year-old mixed breed has been a bit “slower” recently and possibly drinking a bit more. As you begin the physical examination you discover that the patient has significantly enlarged sub-mandibular and pre-scapular lymph nodes and you realise that lymphoma is a distinct possibility for this dog.

What next?

What to do next? It is busy, you expected a quick vaccine and possibly this dog needs a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis? Or do you need to investigate the polydipsia and lethargy? Can you get away with a fine needle aspirate or is tissue essential? One of your colleagues has been doing some chemotherapy recently and you know that some patients have had good responses, but what is the best drug and protocol to offer the owner assuming this is lymphoma?

Join us for Lymphoma and soft tissue sarcoma - a multimodal approach to two common tumours in Manchester on 24 April. This case-based course will guide you in making oncological decisions to achieve best outcomes for common canine neoplasms. We will discuss aspects of the approach and management of canine lymphoma and soft tissue sarcomas. The course will cover common scenarios in these common canine neoplasms and focus on oncological decision-making and therapeutic options to maximise outcomes and quality of life for canine cancer patients. 

Stephen Baines and Sarah Mason

Written by Stephen Baines and Sarah Mason

Dr Sarah Mason BVSc BSc PhD CertAVP (SAM) PGCertEd DipECVIM-CA (Oncology) MRCVS, Principal Clinical Oncologist, University of Cambridge

Dr Stephen Baines MA VetMB PhD CertVR CertSAS DipECVS DipClinOnc MRCVS, RCVS and European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery, RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Oncology, Head of Soft Tissue Surgery, Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service