Bouncy Baxter's brilliant battle

Owners Kim and Tim had noticed a lump on Baxter’s toe that he was frequently licking, and thought it was worth being examined by our vets. During the examination, our vet found the firm raised mass on the inner side of the third digit on the hind left foot, in addition to some dental disease around Baxter’s molar teeth.

Given the characteristics of the lump, it could have been caused by a variety of different agents, including a foreign body (eg. a grass seed), a cyst or a tumour. It was recommended that Baxter be admitted for a biopsy of the lump and for a scale and polish of his teeth to remove calculus that had been developing around his molars (the ‘chewing’ teeth). Baxter's owners agreed and an appointment was scheduled. In the meantime Baxter was sent home with some medications to help reduce the swelling and pain, and possible infection associated with the lump.

A week after the initial visit, the owners reported that the size of the lump had reduced slightly, which was likely a partial response to the medications. Our vet advised that they still bring Baxter in despite a mild improvement.

Baxter arrived for his appointment and was admitted for his biopsy and dental procedure. The gross appearance of the lump after biopsy indicated that a foreign body as a cause was unlikely, making us one step closer to diagnosis. The lump was sent away to the laboratory and a diagnosis of a malignant tumour (specifically a ‘soft tissue sarcoma’) was made.

Due to the nature of the malignant lump and the possibility of the cancer having spread, chest radiographs and an abdominal ultrasound were performed. Fortunately there was no evidence of cancer anywhere else in Baxter’s body. To achieve the best outcome for Baxter and ensure that there were no cancerous cells left in the region where the lump was removed, we conducted a toe amputation. The surgery was a success and Baxter made it out of the wars… with one digit less and beautiful pearly whites! Luckily Baxter had health insurance, which came in very handy. He has now fully recovered and is back to his happy little self. 

Baxter’s story demonstrates a few things:

  1. The importance of having lumps and bumps examined by the vet, 
  2. The need to come back for revisit appointments even when medication has helped and there is an improvement, 
  3. The benefits of diagnostic tests and treatment, and
  4. The advantages of pet insurance. 

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