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#sashcancerhero: Annie Pan: Ultimate Tangerine

Published on November 28, 2022.

Story from #sashcancerhero: Annie Pan: Ultimate Tangerine

Tangy, short for Ultimate Tangerine, was only a 9 year old Kelpie when I first noticed a few strands of her fur seems to be sticking out and out of place. This triggered my interest to go look at it closely, after moving fur to the side, I saw a very small 0.8cm skin-coloured lump on the skin on the left side of her trunk. The lump felt squishy yet not movable. This made me nervous so I took her in to the vet 2 days after, thinking it’s a lipoma.

Vet thought the lump looked very suspicious, so decided to perform some fine needle aspiration of the lump, and had them sent away for cytology. A few days later the cytology result came back, and it’s mast cell tumour. Vet scheduled Tangy in for surgery and a CT scan 3 days after. A biopsy of done. Pathology result came back a few days after, on a Sunday, and it’s one of the most devastating news that a dog owner ever want to hear. Pathology result showed the lump to be a high grade mast cell tumour with a prognosis of just 4 months. A consultation with the oncologist was recommended to us by the vet. Luckily, the very helpful client service officer at SASH was able to book us in for an oncologist consult with one of their most experienced oncologists, Dr Veronika Langova fairly quickly.

Our first consult with Dr. Langova was very emotional and stressful with me crying throughout the consult, feeling helpless and confused, not sure what to do, and whether to do chemotherapy or not. On the other hand, Tangy was feeling very comfortable around Veronika since the first moment she met her. Tangy simply just adored Veronika. As it is a high grade tumour, we did some biopsy of the spleen and liver to make sure there is no internal metastasis. The result was negative so we then decided to proceed with chemotherapy, and also a resection of the original surgical site so as to get a bigger margin as the local control.

The whole chemotherapy wasn’t a smooth sailing journey. It went for 12 weeks, and during this period Tangy got another mast cell tumour on her hind right leg. This 2nd lump was slightly longer at 1 cm of length, and also felt squishy. This second tumour was then surgically removed by the oncology surgeon at SASH, but instead to have this tumour then be sent away for pathology, Veronika helped us to organise to have it be made into a personalised mast cell tumour cancer vaccine just for Tangy.

In addition to being under the care of Veronika, Tangy was also under the care of a holistic vet, Dr. Matthew at All Natural Vet Care. This is with this integrative way of treatment that has eventually put Tangy into remission 3 months later. During this time whilst still on chemotherapy, Tangy also managed to completely ruptured one of her cruciate ligament at a dog park. A TPLO surgery becomes the next thing on the list. With the combined effort and extremely high quality of care provided by her own personal team of specialists across different departments down at SASH (oncology, surgery, sport medicine, and dermatology) and All Natural Vet Care, Tangy managed to fight off her cancer and to survive through the 3 months-long of chemotherapy sessions, then also be well enough to have the TPLO surgery done as well one month after she finished her last chemotherapy session.

It has now been over 5 months since she finished chemotherapy and had her TPLO surgery, and touch wood the CT scan she had with Veronika a week ago showed her to be in clinical remission from her mast cell tumour cancer. Blood work was perfect too.

Without the extremely high quality and professional care that were provided to us by the great team at SASH since her cancer diagnosis, she would not still be with us here today. We truly feel very blessed to have these people looking after our precious Kelpie girl. (And lucky that we have pet insurance to cover the cost of treatment, as without it the outcome would have been very different). Oh, and she has just turned 10 years old too last month. I didn’t think she would have made it. Thank you to everyone at SASH, and All Natural Vet Care.

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SASH is home to some of Australia’s leading specialists and veterinary experts. If you have any concerns about your pet, please get in touch with us.

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