Stomach tumor... GNT??

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Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Cuttlefishh » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:22 pm

Hello, I decided to make a new post in regard to my 3y old female bearded dragon Taro as the vet has found the cause of the infection-
(My first post here: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=254189&start=15 )

They found a calcified growth in the stomach that showed up on the X-ray today. They said this is most certainly cause of the symptoms and the blood work indicating high amalayse.

Vet said it could be one of 2 things:

1. Could be she swallowed something she wasn't supposed to (I dont think this is likely as i dont ever leave her unsupervised out of her enclosure)

2. Could possibly be a calcified tumor or growth.

She said the next step is to repeat x-ray after fluid therapy tomorrow to see if the mass has moved. Then afterward tomorrow she will undergo major surgery to remove it, and further explorative surgery to check on her organs to see if its spread or caused further damage.

I'm terrified but the vet reassures me that while she cannot say for certain what the mass is, she thinks the surgery will have a good outcome either way and that shes had experience with stomach tumors in beardies before. She says that because the bloods dont indicate any other organ damage that it doesn't seem to show that it has spread or metastasized.

This is a huge thing for my poor Taro to go through she has already been under anesthesia before just about a month ago... But that was just for dental. This is much more massive.

I'm scared, because ive read about GNT and the poor prognosis.. and surgery is also not risk free, this one is considered high risk.

I pray im doing the right thing. I'm down $3,000+ in vet costs this year but if it means she will come out okay im willing to do it.

I just wished to ask, does anyone here have experience with gastric surgery on bearded dragons..? Did it go well? I'm really scared..
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Drache613 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:03 am

Hello,

Your poor dragon, that wont be fun. I am sorry she is going to have to go through this.
I wish I could offer knowledge on that, but I haven't had to go through that with a dragon,
luckily. I am bumping this because there have been members here on the board with dragons
who had stomach cancer. You are right, a lot of them did not make it. However, if the cancer
or if it is cancer, has not spread then I would say the prognosis is very good really. She would
need after surgery supportive care of course, but as long as the vet is skilled in this surgery I
think she should be just fine.
I am sure that others can offer more advice for you. When are you anticipating getting the
surgery done?

Tracie
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Cuttlefishh » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:54 am

Drache613 wrote:Hello,

Your poor dragon, that wont be fun. I am sorry she is going to have to go through this.
I wish I could offer knowledge on that, but I haven't had to go through that with a dragon,
luckily. I am bumping this because there have been members here on the board with dragons
who had stomach cancer. You are right, a lot of them did not make it. However, if the cancer
or if it is cancer, has not spread then I would say the prognosis is very good really. She would
need after surgery supportive care of course, but as long as the vet is skilled in this surgery I
think she should be just fine.
I am sure that others can offer more advice for you. When are you anticipating getting the
surgery done?

Tracie


Hi Tracie, thank you- you and my vets words both give me hope.

Shes going to have it tomorrow after one more xray in the morning. She's staying in hospital at the moment, having iv fluids. I'm in absolute distress at the moment. I'm looking at her vacant enclosure and I'm hurting so bad right now, i cant stop tearing up.

The vet said she's had experience in these surgeries before and seemed optimistic. She is also the same vet who did Taros dental about a month ago, so she's had experience with giving Taro anesthesia too bc shes operated on her once before. She said she would never suggest this surgery to a dragon whos outlook is poor or that she didnt feel there was a chance of saving.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and praying..
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:08 am

Please do keep us posted on everything. I hope this turns out well.
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby AHBD » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:57 am

Hi there, sorry to hear about your troubles with Taro. Did the vet diagnose the yeast infection after the first round of antibiotics ? Because those meds. can cause or contribute to yeast infection since they wipe out the good gut flora [ bacteria ] So it's too bad she's been on so many antibiotics. And they charged you $1000 for bloodwork ? $ 3000 so far for cleaning her teeth ? Yikes ! BTW, are you positive that Taro is female ? The blocky head looks like a male [ although that's not always an indicator. Here's how to sex them if you are not 100 % sure.

https://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/sexing/ [ Scroll to the pics ]

One last question, do you have the xray showing the tumor to post here ?
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Cuttlefishh » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:03 pm

AHBD wrote:Hi there, sorry to hear about your troubles with Taro. Did the vet diagnose the yeast infection after the first round of antibiotics ? Because those meds. can cause or contribute to yeast infection since they wipe out the good gut flora [ bacteria ] So it's too bad she's been on so many antibiotics. And they charged you $1000 for bloodwork ? $ 3000 so far for cleaning her teeth ? Yikes ! BTW, are you positive that Taro is female ? The blocky head looks like a male [ although that's not always an indicator. Here's how to sex them if you are not 100 % sure.

https://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/sexing/ [ Scroll to the pics ]

One last question, do you have the xray showing the tumor to post here ?


Hi abhd, yes the yeast infection was noticed after the commencement of antibiotics, so she was prescribed with nystatin to clear the yeast. I know antibiotics are tough on their systems but she had a lot of mucous buildup so it seemed we needed to persist with them. A month after her dental procedure she started on Baytril + Nystatin and protexin for 14 days as we were not sure if her infection was respiratory or other. On day 14 for the recheck she still had mucous but only slightly improved, so they started augmentin for 10 days and continues with Nystatin and probiotic. She started Monday and was admitted to hosp yesterday for x-ray where they found the mass.

Oh no no, so it was $1,000 approximate for the dental treatment +all meds and relevant rechecks 6 weeks ago. It also included overnight hosp stay then.

Now, though, in the last two weeks, blood work was roughly $300, meds + consults give or take $200. X-ray $260 each (She's having two done.) Overnight fluid therapy stay $130 per night. The quote now for the surgery and all relevant treatments/checks/expenses is roughly $2,000. She said it was a rough quote but probabky will be a little less- $1,700 more likely. she advised 2k though to give buffer.

To be honest, we thought she was a he at first in adolescence, but after watching our two dragons grow we considered otherwise. We have another dragon named Oscar who is definitely male. Oscar has a huge head/body and prominent femoral pores.. Taro in comparison is smaller in head and overall stature and almost non existent femoral pores.. so we thought she was almost certainly a girl. :)

admittedly though, despite Oscar being much larger (hes around 600 grams, taro 400), Oscar would see Taro from her enclosure and headbob at her. Taro would lazily bob at him back and he would then stop and start waving at her. He's such a big scardy baby!


Edit: oh they didn't provide me with the x-ray, but i can ask for it!!
Last edited by Cuttlefishh on Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Cuttlefishh » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:04 pm

CooperDragon wrote:Please do keep us posted on everything. I hope this turns out well.


Thank you, I'll update where i can im praying it does all go well
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Cuttlefishh » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:59 pm

Update from vet this morning: they did the X-ray and the mass has not moved. She will go into surgery at 11am

Vet said 3 hurdles;
1. She needs to survive surgery today
2. Needs to stay in hosp over weekend, needs to survive post op which is equally as challenging as surviving the procedure
3. Identify the mass and ensure its fully gone.

Vet said she had two other beardies with this same problem this month, but they were later stage and far more deteriorated. The owners were not financially able to cope and the expectations for recovery were not good, so they were put to rest, the poor dragons..

She said though that she feels Taro has a likely good chance of recovery, but if we do not do the surgery then she will likely die from this in a few months time.

Fingers crossed.. but preparing myself for what could happen.
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:42 pm

Wishing you both good luck! I'm glad you are in a situation you're able to give treatment a shot.
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Cuttlefishh » Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:35 pm

Thank you... She's going to start in 30 minutes... I'm working today and seeing a client so I'll be preoccupied during the time but the vet keeps me close via sms

Some pics from yesterday before she went in:
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Sms from the vet last night

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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby AHBD » Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:06 pm

Best wishes for a good outcome ! Taro, get better ASAP so you can get home to your family !
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Cuttlefishh » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:13 pm

Post op update:

Vet finished after about 2 hours, she said Taro tolerated it very well and was breathing on her own sooner than most reptiles do after surgery.

I'm a little overwhelmed but here we go:

The growth was not actually in the stomach, but was in her intestine. There was a lot of damaged tissue in there, so she removed as much of the problematic areas as she could and opened up the tract as much as possible. She couldn't get all of the excess lining tissue though as it was too risky being how close it was to an artery.

She said it could either be a tumor or a hyperplastic growth of some sort (undigested food and scar tissue/damage to the intestine that could have been there for a long time and just continued to become inflamed and would actually mimic an impaction as it would get infected)

She described what was happening as "bottle neck" sort of thing where her stomach could only partially allow food through which would result in food being left in the stomach and fermenting, causing an overall inflammatory response in the intestine lining. She says it appears very infected as a result. She believes it could have been flaring up and settling down in a cyclic way over a long period of time.

Upon further investigation she also found the liver to be inflamed and looking very unhealthy. She did not note any tumors or growths there and suspects it may just be severe fatty liver and inflammatory response (admittedly, taros diet does consist of a lot of superworms so i understand if this may be the cause ontop of the food buildup in her stomach.)

Both a sample of the liver and the growth have been sent for biopsy.

If The biopsy is clear for cancer or malignancy, then Taro has a better chance for recovery and will just need to be on a modified soft diet long term.

If the biopsy shows cancer or malignancy then I will be taking a palliative approach for her.

We aren't out of the woods yet, its just a bit of a waiting game now. I am relieved though that the procedure went okay.
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Drache613 » Fri Apr 24, 2020 1:10 am

Hello,

Bless Taro! I am happy to hear that she pulled through the surgery well.
That is cautiously optimistic...hopefully the biopsies come back without any cancer. Poor
girl, that had to have been rough but it sounds like she is doing good right now, having gone
through extensive surgery.
How long will she be at the vets?
Keep us posted on her.

Tracie
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby Cuttlefishh » Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:13 am

Drache613 wrote:Hello,

Bless Taro! I am happy to hear that she pulled through the surgery well.
That is cautiously optimistic...hopefully the biopsies come back without any cancer. Poor
girl, that had to have been rough but it sounds like she is doing good right now, having gone
through extensive surgery.
How long will she be at the vets?
Keep us posted on her.

Tracie


Hi Tracie,

Taro will stay there for the weekend at the very minimum, then see how we go next week.

Im very cautiously optimistic, but my worry is that she said she was not able to remove all of the affected tissue entirely. She said there was a lot of thickening and inflammation of the stomach lining; and her stomach was 4x the normal size due to her intestine being partially blocked and draining too slowly.

Still though; considering how food was not draining and was just fermenting inside her.. I can see it a possibility too that she just had an overall terrible infectious response rather than a cancer. The vet is hoping this is the case as well.

She did clear way the tract from partial obstruction and Taro did a healthy poop right after the surgery, which is good!

The hopeful outcome is that the biopsies are negative for cancers and we can just treat the remaining issues with diet and conservative medicine.. but only time will tell- its an agonising wait.
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Re: Stomach tumor... GNT??

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:13 am

Wow that sounds like it was rough on her - that can't be comfortable at all. I'm glad the vet was able to get in there and determine what was going on. It sounds like your vet is a real pro! I'm glad she got through the surgery and hope she heals up quickly and completely.
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