One of the UK’s elite veterinary centres has successfully performed rare nose cancer surgery and a full nasal reconstruction on a stricken Golden Retriever following a truly multidisciplinary approach.

Nine-year-old Marley was referred to the Linnaeus-owned Dick White Referrals in Cambridgeshire after cancer cells were discovered in his nasal cavity and lymph nodes.

DWR consultants Mayank Seth (internal medicine), Rachel Hattersley (small animal surgery) and Charlie Pittaway (oncology) collaborated to ensure the best possible treatment, with Rachel then carrying out a painstaking three-hour operation to remove the cancer and rebuild the retriever’s nose.

Rachel said: “We carried out a CT scan of Marley’s head and thorax and a cytology of a mass in his nasal cavity and locoregional lymph nodes.

“These revealed he was suffering from a squamous cell carcinoma in his nasal planum and rostral nasal cavity.

“Extensive surgery was required to combat the cancer which would result in a significant change to his appearance. I, therefore, performed a nasal planum resection and reconstruction using bilateral labial rotation flaps.

“This technique represents a significant advancement in surgical cosmetic outcome and may potentially reduce postoperative complications.

“It’s not an operation we perform regularly as it requires a specific set of circumstances to make surgery appropriate and also a very invested owner.

“Fortunately for Marley his owner Alison was extremely invested in him undergoing the process to tackle the cancer and the reconstruction work.

“The whole outcome has been very good so far. Marley will require ongoing monitoring but was negative at his last re-staging, so we’re all delighted with his progress.”

None more so than his owner Alison Thomas, from Brentwood in Essex, who said: “We can’t thank the team at Dick White Referrals enough for the incredible treatment they gave to Marley. It’s a wonderful hospital.

“Rachel was absolutely amazing. Nothing was too much trouble for her, so we knew Marley would be completely safe in her hands.

“We were still totally overwhelmed by the outcome and sent her some flowers as a big thank you. We are so grateful to her and everyone at the hospital.

“Obviously it was a very stressful time. We first realised something was wrong when Marley’s nose started running constantly and he began sniffling and snuffling like he had hay fever with his breathing becoming laboured.

“He was severely bunged up but our local vets couldn’t find anything so referred him to Dick White’s, who immediately suspected it could be nose cancer, something far more intense than we ever imagined.

“He’s made a remarkable recovery, though, and is going strong again and back to his normal, cheeky self.”

Dick White Referrals offers specialist-led care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, diagnostic pathology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, interventional radiology, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, physiotherapy and soft tissue surgery.

For more information, visit or search for Dick White Referrals on social media.

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