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Date:   24 April, 2011  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
A canine version of the science fantasy fiction "Source Code"?
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   24 April, 2011 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
Good Friday, April 22, 2011

A bright sunshine blue-sky day. The lady with the 2nd Dachshund was at Toa Payoh Vets when I arrived at 9.30 am to operate on her 2nd Dachshund (10-year-old male neutered) with two growths on the right side of the body. One appeared to be a large lipoma similar but 10% smaller as in the first Dachshund sibling I operated successfully on Tuesday.

Somehow, I felt that I was repeating a scenario as if I was going back in time and improving myself with this second repeat electro-surgery to remove a lipoma and another tumour from the Dachshund.

As if there was a Divine Power presenting me a repeat of my first surgery -
A fast-growing tumour in an old Dachshund - a lipoma or liposarcoma? - which was done on the same breed (sibling Dachshund) at the same time (around 10 am, bright sunshine blue sky morning), in the same place (Toa Payoh Vets operating room) and with the same procedure (xylazine 0.2 IM and isoflurane gas, then electro-surgical excision to excise the big lipoma out to show the owner, no bleeding during the operation due to electro-surgery), with the same vet assistant (Mr Min but his hands had been bitten by a dog yesterday).

This dog had dental scaling as requested by the owner and just two tumours unlike the first dog which did not have dental scaling but had 5 tumours. The dog worked up uneventfully as if from a nap and the happy owner took him back around 2 hours later (same time in going home and same happy ending).
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This old Dachshund has a lipoma and a suspected mammary tumour (nodular and nipple enlargement) but no samples were sent for histopathology to save some money for the owner. The sibling had 5 tumours. The biggest one in the backside was sent for histopathology and confirmed to be a lipoma, with no malignant cells. This Dachshund has an almost identical fatty tumour and is presumed to be a lipoma too. Do not presume all tumours in old Dachshunds are lipomas as veterinary medicine springs surprises all the time!

However this time, I had the big lipoma to show to the owner as in the previous case, the Laboratory courier came in the morning to take it to the lab before the owner came around 2.5 hours after surgery as she did for the 2nd Good Friday operation for the sibling Dachshund.

In the afternoon, I took time off to watch the movie "Source Code" which is a science fiction which reminds me of my above-mentioned Dachshund surgeries. As if I had experienced "Source Code" in the canine version. I will elaborate further below.  

In the Source Code movie, Captain Colter Stevens is a decorated army helicopter pilot has had died. His body is kept alive and a source code (computer software) is inserted into his brain. The scientist sends him back to the past by activating the source code. He then appears as a teacher (another person) inside a moving train where the bomber is present but he has to find out the identity of the bomber and where the bomb is to prevent a second explosion which will follow this explosion. The first time he is sent back to the past, he cannot find the bomb or the bomber and the train explodes killing everybody including the teacher and a pretty girl who secretly loves this teacher.

At another time, he finds the bomb and takes the handphone attached to the bomb. But the train still explodes killing everybody. He is sent back to the past again. After a few times of going back to the past, he learns what to do and identifies the bomber. The story has a happy ending as he lives in the alternate universe with this girl he appears opposite her on the train and saves her from death. He gets to live and fall in love with this girl in an alternate world since he has prevented the first explosion.

P.S. My repeat surgery is a short canine version of the Source Code. It is not as thrilling as this popular move and will never be made into a film. There is only one repeat of the surgery for me, unlike Stevens but there is the happy ending. The dog owner as both Dachshunds are alive at the end of the surgery and she may have prevented nasty large liposarcomas from forming if she has had delayed surgery by a few years as the big lipomas were growing fast. As the outcome was great, I am also very happy as old dogs are very high anaesthetic risks and many vets will prefer not to operate. 

P.S. The smaller tumour of around 3 cm x 3cm under the skin and near the breast looked yellowish. It could be a mammary tumour. I made a large excision and removed the nipple as well. I could see a small yellow spot of less than 2 mm x 2mm in the muscle area beneath this skin tumour. This was excised. Male dogs do get breast cancer but rarely. I did not send this small tumour for histopathology to save the owner some money as the lump was really small. Only this woman could detect it. It was "nodular" and present in the mammary area, like those of firm small starting breast tumours in the female dog.    

I advised Hills' R/D diet for the two dogs and if that prevents lipoma formation by slimming the dogs down, I will let readers know in 2 years' time. These two dogs should live past 18 years of age as they are healthy at 10 years of age based on health screening of their blood and general physical examination.

I don't look forward to doing surgery of old dogs as it is not worth taking anaesthetic risks. These are high stress surgeries and I don't tempt fate. It is just too emotional for the owner, her family members, myself and my staff whenever a dog dies on the operating table.

The owner did bring her other dog to enquire about the backside bleeding. "It is not a problem," I said. The wound had closed and the bleeding was minor but present.


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