Veterinary Emergency + Referral Center of Hawaii is a long name for a pet clinic but easy to remember because they saved the life of a golden retriever who had a cantaloupe sized tumor in his abdomen that went undiagnosed by two veterinarians on two separate physical exams.
Buddy the golden retriever from Lanikai is 14 years old and his owner recently faced a difficult decision as to whether to let Buddy die of natural causes or have a complicated and expensive surgery. He was having difficulty walking and getting up from the floor. His two regular vets attributed this to his age and NEVER NOTICED A TUMOR that had been there for several years. They told the owner the dog was over-weight and that he had a large belly. Buddy had his annual physical exam and his vet did not recognize the tumor. People must advocate for their dogs because vets are human and make mistakes.
Excerpt from VERC: Invoice instructions for Buddy: Buddy has a large mass associated with the spleen. I am very concerned that this mass represents a type of cancer. No evidence of cancer spread was seen on the chest x-rays today. The recommended treatment is to remove the spleen and send it in for histopathology to determine the type of mass. Depending on the type of mass, additional treatment with chemotherapy may be recommended. Because the mass is associated with the spleen, there is a risk that the mass could rupture and bleed causing a potentially life threatening situation. CL: 09-09-14 at 10:47a: 14yo, golden, with mass in abdomen. Referred by Dr. A. Was scheduled last week but wanted to come in today because he is worsening per client, can’t walk much. Findings: Arising from the cranial aspect of the spleen a large (~10 cm diameter) heterogeneous mass is present that contains a few small hyperechoic patchy areas and small cavitary areas.
Buddy’s owner chose the surgery route and even had a fund raiser to help with the expenses. The day before surgery Buddy was featured of The Pet Hui filmed by Ron Darby at the Women’s Correctional Center where he is ambassador for the Dogs Are Healers program and Act Resilient Program founded by Genie Joseph. Buddy also is on the volunteer list at St. Francis Hospice where he makes special visits to clients.
Buddy had a successful surgery because he was taken to VERC where all the doctors are specialists and the facility is the best in Honolulu. From the moment he was diagnosed after having a major seizure to the follow-up aftercare Buddy was treated in a professional manner and with loving care. The surgery was expensive but not much more than a regular veterinarian.
The slide show in this article shows VERC facility and the surgery pre and post condition of the dog. Dr. Courtney Watkins (VERC’s board-certified surgeon) performed the surgery and called the owner when Buddy came out of surgery. She called when the lab report came back with the good news that he did not have cancer and she called several weeks after that to check on Buddy’s overall health. Thank you personally to the staff at VERC from Buddy and his owner Liz Rizzo for the amazing care we received. Buddy is now running, where before he could barely walk a short distance. He has energy like he did years ago and rolls around on his back like a puppy. Thank you for giving my dog life and one of quality and for giving me more loving years to spend with him.
Veterinary Emergency + Referral Center of Hawaii
1347 Kapiolani Blvd, Ste 103
Honolulu, HI 96814
Main ph: 808-735-7735