Coco keeps fighting the battle of cancer

Coco the dog

Vincent Riley’s mom rescued a Pomeranian mix named Coco in 2016. Coco's previous caregiver had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was no longer able to take care of her. When Vincent’s mom passed away at the end of 2017, he became Coco's full-time caregiver. In mid to late December 2021, he noticed Coco had pulled out most of her fur on her rear end and it looked swollen. Feeling concerned, he took her to the local veterinarian because he thought she might have an infected anal gland.

The veterinarian found that it was a tumor and recommended that Vincent contact The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. With his help, he was able to get her an appointment near the end of January 2022. The Ohio State veterinarians saw Coco and confirmed the previous veterinarian's assessment of her tumor, diagnosing her with an anal sac adenocarcinoma (AGASACA), a tumor that arises from the cells lining the anal sacs. This large tumor that was impacting her quality of life. 

The Integrated Oncology team members agreed she’s “an adorable little Coco Puff!”

Coco underwent surgery to remove the left anal sac mass.  At a post-op check-up, Dr. Shannon Kenny noted her incision has healed nicely and there were no palpable signs of tumor recurrence.

At another follow-up appointment in early August, Dr. Kenny unfortunately found that the AGASACA had recurred with three new masses being found during Coco’s exam. Vincent scheduled surgery and this time with the help of the grant by PetcoLove/Blue Buffalo Cancer Treatment Support Fund

“I was still making payments on the surgery from earlier in the year and could not take on much more debt,” he said. 

After that surgery, in which the Medical Oncology team felt confident they had removed the rectal tumors and some of the affected lymph nodes, a follow-up visit was scheduled just two weeks later to see how she was healing.

This appointment revealed a very hard lump present in the left side of her rectum, which veterinarians decided to take a fine needle aspirate. A fine needle aspirate which is a commonly used diagnostic to diagnose what sort of tissue may be present within a mass. Coco was sedated for this procedure so she would not feel any pain associated with the poke.

Sadly, cytology results were consistent with carcinoma (AGASACA). Since Coco had already had surgery twice in 2022, another surgery was not recommended. Coco is on carprofen and stool softeners to keep her comfortable.

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