University of Florida (UF) veterinarians expanded treatment capabilities for animals that suffer from urinary obstructions ranging from cancer to kidney stones.
UF veterinarians are treating cancer of the urethra in dogs through a combination of high-dose targeted radiation and chemotherapy. Last year veterinary oncologists devised a treatment for cancers in the bladder neck, an area of thick muscle where the bladder joins the urethra.
“Most veterinarians aren’t aware that we can treat tumors in the bladder neck by surgically removing the area containing the cancer and then moving the ureters into a healthy part of the bladder,” said Nick Bacon, a clinical assistant professor of surgical oncology at the UF Small Animal Hospital. “Frequently, veterinarians will tell their clients that with cancer of the bladder neck that there is nothing that can be done, so we feel it’s important to get the word out that at UF we have the ability to help them.”
UF veterinarians say they removed a cancerous tumor in the bladder neck in a mixed-breed dog named Tucker following up with chemotherapy treatments.
“He was doing well, until around six months after surgery, when we began to see small tumor growth inside the bladder,” Dr. Bacon said. “With the new situation, I could not move those ureters, as the whole bladder was lined with cancer.”
UF oncologists then recruited radiology and internal medicine for help. David Reese, DVM, Dipl. ACVR provided real-time imaging, while Kirsten Cooke, DVM and Alex Gallagher, DVM, MS, clinical assistant professors of small animal medicine, were able to insert stents within each ureter running from each kidney to the bladder. The procedure removed the obstruction from the dog’s kidneys.
“The image-guided interventional service includes specialists from medicine, oncology, surgery, cardiology and radiology,” Dr. Gallagher said. “Tucker’s ureteral stenting is just one example of the procedures in which our specialists can collaborate with the result of positive outcomes of our patients in a minimally invasive way.”
Although UF veterinarians have placed stents before, this case was the first time stents had been placed between the kidney and the bladder.
“The important thing is that more urinary tract obstructions are now potentially treatable,” Bacon said. “The majority of dogs with urinary cancer die from urinary obstruction and we can now treat them, or at least get better at treating them.”
When Tucker visited UF for a check-up in June, veterinarians found that his kidney values had returned to normal.