Nugget is the sweetest 6 year old English Bulldog you’ll ever meet! Nugget presented to Animal Care Center for a swollen toe on his back right paw. Nugget’s owner had noticed that he would occassionally develop a draining lesion on the toe.
Recently the toe has become more swollen and developed a foul odor. Radiographs of the toe showed soft tissue swelling and an area of lytic bone. A culture swab of the discharge was obtained, and Nugget was started on an anti-inflammatory medication and a broad spectrum antibiotic.
Nugget’s culture showed that his infection consisted of three bacteria: Proteus Mirabilis, Pseudomonas, and Methilin Resistant Staph Pseudintermedius (MRSP). MRSP is a very dangerous bacteria, because it is resistant to many antibiotics. It is a cousin of the commonly known dangerous bacteria, MRSA.
In Nugget’s case, MRSP was sensitive to only one antibiotic and aggressive antibiotic therapy ensued. At Nugget’s two week re-check, radiographs were repeated and showed that the bony lysis had gotten worse. At this point, I recommended amputation of the toe to remove the nidus of infection.
Nugget’s owner agreed to this aggressive therapy plan, and we took precautions to ensure that Nugget would be safe under general anesthesia. Nugget is a bracycecphic breed, meaning his squishy face makes oxygenation during anesthesia a little more challenging. I recommended thoracic radiographs and pre-surgical bloodwork to make sure that Nugget would be safe for anesthesia and to rule-out any possible infection spread from the toe to the lungs. Nugget’s bloodwork and chest radiographs were normal, and I proceded with digit amputation. The surgery was successful and Nugget’s toe was submitted for biopsy.
Due to the extensive infective process, Nugget required daily bandage changes for one week, which were then extended out to bandage changes every 2-3 days for two more weeks. Nugget enjoyed his frequent vet visits so much, that he had to be carried out of the office when it was time to go!
As if Nugget needed anything else on his plate to deal with, the biopsy came back with bad news: Nugget had cancer in his toe. Squamous Cell Carcinoma is an aggressive cancer, with a 20% pulmonary metatstatic (spread) rate. At this point, Nugget does not evidence of cancer elsewhere. I recommend that Nugget follow up routinely for cancer screening checks at his physical exam appointments.
Nugget’s owner was a trooper through all of this, and her supportive care at home and compliance with veterinary visits was key to Nugget’s recovery. I am so happy that Nugget recovered so well, and that we were able to catch this growing cancerous lesion and treat it, before it became life-threatening.
Help Save Pets was originally founded as the Humane Society of Plainfield in 2000. Since then we have placed over 14,000 animals into loving homes. Each one of these animals was given shelter, food, medical aid and vaccinations and time to find the right home. Our doctors mended mutilated limbs and cured many illnesses so that these animals could get a second chance at good lives. We have grown and now operate out of 6 locations, not all of them in Plainfield. In 2008, we changed our name from the Humane Society of Plainfield to Help Save Pets, still HSP.
Dr. Tony Kremer owns 8 veterinary hospitals in the Chicagoland area and two in Ohio. He is the founder of Help Save Pets, an animal shelter which has saved more than 14,000 pets since 2000. Dr. Tony’s knowledge, insight, and advice are shared regularly with major media outlets across the nation and in the third largest market. Dr. Tony is also a member of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association Public Education Committee that routinely gets the word out about responsible pet ownership.