Vets remove Barnsley dog Yogi's nose to save his life

Vets have saved the life of a dog from Barnsley who had an aggressive for of cancer – by removing his nose.

Eleven-year-old border terrier Yogi is on the road to recovery after undergoing surgery to treat a rapidly growing tumour which had developed on his upper jaw.

Owner Anna Gaughan said: "Yogi is such an important part of my family and is really the best dog ever.

"He is so happy and lively all the time, so it was hard to see him for the first time after surgery, but I am so pleased at how well he has taken it all and, more importantly, how healthy he now is."

Anna – a vet herself – took Yogi to be examined after noticing he had a grey tooth and a growth on his upper jaw. Despite minor surgery, the growth came back a week later.

Yogi before surgery

She then approached colleague Andrew Perry, a vet in Swindon and a specialist in veterinary dentistry.

He performed a deep biopsy and a full head and chest CT scan and found a cancerous mass that was growing in size.

Yogi was diagnosed with an aggressive tumour

He said: "This type of cancer is highly invasive and locally destructive. It is often a challenge to diagnose due to its apparent low activity when reviewed under the microscope.

"It is a very frustrating diagnosis, as the tumour may look benign but clinically it has the potential to invade soft and hard tissue, spreading quite quickly and dramatically."

He said computer imaging revealed the tumour was invading the tissue of the nose.

By that point Yogi was unable to feed himself, leading to the conclusion that removing tissue was the only option.

Mr Perry said: "It was growing very quickly and due to its size and extent, we knew the only option to cure all the cancer was to resect all of the affected tissues including the nose.

Yogi enjoying a day out at the beach

"Yogi was a fabulous patient and although this treatment was one which affected his outward appearance, it never affected his amazing personality."

The treatment was successful and Yogi is now eating normally again.

The border terrier now has a new 'leash' of life

How to tell if a dog has cancer and how can it be treated

As with people, dogs often get cancer, especially as they get older.

By far the most common areas affected are the skin, the digestive system and the breast, which is the most common in bitches.

Symptoms include:

  • loss of appetite

  • weight loss

  • lethargy and weakness

  • difficulty in breathing

  • limping

  • recurrent digestive problems

There are some things that appear to make cancer more likely, and statistically, some breeds appear to be more at risk from certain types of cancer.

It is known that spaying a bitch before two years of age reduces her risk of breast tumours, but straightforward links with diet and lifestyle have not so far been fully researched in dogs.

Like human cancer patients, dogs may benefit from treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.