A Shar-Pei named Biggy got the surgery he needed to remove a massive tumour hanging from his neck, thanks to veterinarian Dr. Mark Steinebach and generous public monetary donations.
The tumour was removed yesterday morning. It is the size of a cantaloupe and weighs four pounds.
“It’s shocking,” said Ivanna Ferris, manager of the B.C. SPCA’s Chilliwack branch. “It’s like a water balloon.”
The tumour was attached to the left side of Biggy’s chin and hung down about a foot.
His feet kicked it when he walked, and it has abrasions on it from when he bent down to sniff the ground.
Dr. Steinebach of Valley Veterinary Services did the procedure pro bono. In addition, the public stepped up and donated the $3,000 that was originally needed in just a couple of days. Some of the money raised went towards Biggy’s medical bills, the rest will go towards other SPCA animals in need.
The surgery went really well, said Ferris on Thursday. Turns out it’s a lipoma tumour and is benign. It took 62 stitches to close the wound following the two-and-a-half hour surgery.
Biggy was recently taken into care during an animal cruelty investigation. An SPCA officer obtained a warrant to remove the dog from his home and the next day, on Oct. 22, Biggy was signed over to the Chilliwack branch. No other dogs were seized from the home.
The owner could not afford the cost of surgery, and so she tied a sling around his neck to prevent the tumour from hanging down.
Biggy, who turns nine next month, doesn’t appear to have any neck problems or pain as a result of the tumour which had been growing for about three years.
He had blood work done before surgery which came back healthy. His teeth are in good condition too, said Ferris. But he does have a couple of other medical conditions aside from the tumour.
“Biggy also has bilateral entropion that will require corrective surgery as well as a diet-related skin condition,” she said before the surgery.
Bilateral entropion is a genetic condition in which a portion of the eyelid is inverted or folded inward. As a result, eyelashes can scratch the eye and damage vision.
Biggy had the surgery done on his eyes as well, and has a “very good prognosis” from Dr. Steinebach, said Ferris.
“We get to see him be a normal dog, and I can’t wait to see how he reacts when he gets this removed,” she said on Wednesday.
“Shar-Peis can be known to be aloof breeds,” said Ferris. “I would describe him as independent but he seeks out companionship. He’s happiest when he’s in a room with people, and he’s assessed well with the other dogs.”
Biggy will do anything for treats. And if you can look past the dog drool, you will see his gentle personality shine through.
“It’s like he has an anchor around his neck that’s weighing him down, but regardless, he has this great outlook. He is such a friendly boy and really deserves to have a happy last year or two of life,” said Ferris.
As a non-profit organization, the B.C. SPCA is supported through public donations. Anyone who is able to help Biggy and other animals like him in need at the Chilliwack shelter can donate online at spca.bc.ca/chilliwack or in person at 6797 Hopedale Road (Box 142), Chilliwack, V2P 6H7.