A beloved family pet has been given a new lease of life after having a massive 4kg tumour – weighing the same as 16 packs of butter – removed after specialist surgery at a renowned Surrey animal hospital. 

Five-year-old Purdey had been referred to Linnaeus-owned North Downs Specialist Referrals in Bletchingley after the enormous growth had ballooned to the same width as her body. 

Virtually since birth, the Gordon setter had a steadily growing tumour on her right-hand side, with an initial operation by her owners’ local vet unable remove the entire growth. 

Although Purdey recovered well from that first surgery, she was still left with a visible growth and over the following year, the tumour – which was benign – grew enormously to such an extent it was actually as wide as her body. 

It was then that Purdey was referred to NDSR, where RCVS and European specialist in small animal surgery Benito de la Puerta, led the challenging treatment. 

Gerry Polton, hospital director at NDSR, said: “When Purdey came to us there was actually more breadth to her tumour than there was to the rest of her body. 

“Poor Purdey had been living with this for her entire life. She bore it with such patience and stoicism, as dogs often do. We were determined to do what we could, provided unnecessary risks weren’t taken with her health or mobility. 

“Our surgical team, led by Benito, knew it would be a challenging operation, not least because of the extensive nature of the tumour and the fact the growth had infiltrated Purdey’s chest wall, including her rib cage and the tissues around the nerves that move her right front leg. 

“Anaesthesia was also difficult because there was a huge weight on top of her chest which was compressing her lungs and affecting her breathing. 

“In the end, the tumour was removed. The bit growing into her ribcage was removed entirely, while the surgery in the area of her armpit was extremely delicate. 

“It was obviously our goal to remove as much of the tumour as possible without threatening Purdey’s excellent quality of life. 

“It was a real team effort and we’re thrilled to see that Purdey is doing exceptionally well. She should have many more years of living happily and healthily without that enormous growth affecting her every moment of every day.” 

Purdey’s grateful owner Sheila Bowen, who lives in Deal in Kent, said she was delighted with the outcome and that her beloved pet had found new levels of energy – despite still being fond of the sofa! 

Sheila said: “North Downs informed us of the surgery options and the team there were calm, knowledgeable and professional, so we knew we were in the right place. 

“Of course, I was still concerned about the operation but the team at NDSR were amazing throughout the whole procedure and post-care.

“Purdey is now back to her old self – she’s still lazy and loves the sofa, but she seems happier in herself and has more energy now.” 

Gerry added: “We will often compare large masses to everyday items; it helps us to comprehend the enormity of what we are dealing with. Purdey has effectively lost 16 packs of butter! It’s so nice she can now get back to enjoying her country life.” 

NDSR offers specialist-led services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery and spinal surgery.  

For more information, visit https://www.ndsr.co.uk or search for North Downs Specialist Referrals on social media.   

Back to news