Have you met Rodney? Rodney has had a recent brush with cancer – a diagnosis that evokes fear and dread in us all. Rodney is our gentle giant of a greyhound that lives here at Inner South Veterinary Centre. He is officially our blood donor but in reality, is a bit more of a loved and indulged pet. He spends his days romping around the back yard playing with other dogs. He has also fallen into the role of ‘canine therapist’. His gentle but persistent manner when it comes to making friends has helped a few very nervous dogs to develop the canine communication skills and social behaviours. Time with ‘Dr Rodney’ has been very good for some very timid dogs!

As a white dog he is checked regularly for any lumps or bumps or crusted skin lesions that might indicate early skin cancers. He also has regular dental cleans as greyhounds have a tendency towards poor dental health. Earlier this year, when having a scheduled dental scale and polish we found a new lump on our beloved hound. This lump was removed and sent for identification and sadly came back as a malignant cancer. Rodney has had a second, more extensive surgery to ensure complete removal of the cancer. This surgery involved some skin reconstruction. Dr Taryn Marconi did an amazing job and mobilised the flap of skin that runs from the hind leg to the body and used this to cover the site of lump removal on his belly. We are very hopeful that this surgery means the cancer has been totally removed. There is still a slim chance that Rodney will have suffered spread of the cancer to other areas but fingers and toes and tails and feathers and scales all crossed that it is completely removed and our big gentle boy will be ok.

Rodney has had to have a period of cage rest to allow him to heal. As a Greyhound he has thin and delicate skin and needs to take it slowly for a while. He has been very, very brave and well behaved other than a tendency to want to lick his wound. As a result he has to wear a ‘Cone of Shame’ but he actually looks quite fetching with his blue ‘hat’ on!

We anticipate that Rodney will be back in with his buddies in the yard in the next week. He has received lots of well wishes from his canine friends including a special get well card from buddy Eric! What a lucky dog!

Rodney’s story highlights the importance of regularly checking your dog for any new lumps or bumps. Any lump, particularly if it is growing rapidly or has come up quickly, or is on delicate non pigmented skin should be checked out by your veterinarian. The sooner cancers are detected the better the chances of successful treatment. If you find lumps or bumps anywhere on your dog please make an appointment to have this investigated. Sometimes a chance finding followed by rapid action can save a life, as we hope it has in Rodney.