Upon meeting Puggy, he was a physical and medical mess. His skin sunk in between his ribs, some of his teeth were worn down to the gums, his fur was stained yellow from urine, he was lethargic, had severe green discharge from his nose and it was thought that he could possibly have both female and male reproductive organs since his nipples were the size of grapes.
After Project Rescue Chicago agreed to take Puggy into their program, TAF was able to bring him to the vet for immediate treatment and testing… we held our breath and prayed for the best. Puggy spent two full days at the vet in order to undergo the necessary testing and treatment to ensure his health, and had the following medical procedures:
- Fine needle aspiration of a potential mast cell tumor on his front left paw; luckily this turned out to be a slightly infected hot spot.
- Chest and abdominal X-rays to rule out any internal cancerous tumors, given the mammary growths present on his underside. All the x-rays were clear.
- To assess the function of all his organs a senior blood panel was sent out.
When his blood results all came back normal, Puggy went in for surgery to address all his issues. First, the mass that was visible on ultrasound was a very large testicular tumor that was removed and sent out for biopsy. Second, his prostate was very swollen and had an unusual texture to it. Third, his bladder was very thickened and large, which may simply be due to the prostate swelling and testicular tumor. Fourth, all of his mammary growths were removed and deemed non-cancerous. Fifth, his dental issues were not actually of concern as the probes didn't penetrate far and the vet didn't feel that any teeth needed to be removed. Even though worn down, the teeth below the gums are healthy and he showed no signs of pain, infection or discomfort when thoroughly examined.
Amazingly enough, Puggy's prostate cytology came back negative for anything concerning and his bladder issues had been resolved. The last thing that we needed to get back was the pathology for the testicular tumor.
As suspected, Puggy was cryptorchid (had an undescended testicle) which pathology showed had developed into a Sertoli cell tumor. Sertoli cell tumors can cause skin problems, can cause feminization of male dogs and also secrete estradiol and progesterone. Treatment for these tumors involves removing the undescended testicle and checking for metastatic sites, which would indicate a malignancy. Fortunately for Puggy, his X-rays and ultrasounds showed no signs that the cancer had spread, and the tumor tested benign.
The real unexpected shocker came at the end of Puggy's testing. Even though the original rescue claimed that Puggy was heartworm negative, that was not the case. TAF received the news that Puggy was heartworm positive in the nth hour. (TAF does not have much faith in heartworm snap tests and always sends our blood work out to the labs.) So close to getting a clean bill of health and then this. The good news is that we caught it early on and we have already started a "slow kill" treatment before we move onto the more aggressive treatment. The doctors assure us that Puggy is strong enough to endure the treatments and that he will make a full recovery.
As you can see from my photos, the resilience of Puggy's spirit ultimately prevailed and he received his happily ever after. May Puggy’s story remind us all not to give up… our miracle may be right around the corner.
A big thank you to Project Rescue Chicago for seeing the beauty in Puggy and taking care of our senior as he healed from his surgery. Much love to Puggy and his forever home… may the rest of your days be filled with happiness.