Case Report: Two Lung Lobes Removed Due to Bronchoalveolar Adenocarcinoma

Felix, a 13-year old Chihuahua, was referred to the Surgical Division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia for removal of a mass attached to a lung lobe.

Felix was taken to an emergency clinic in March 2017 after his parents became concerned when he had a coughing fit. Felix’s brother and litter mate had been diagnosed with a heart condition, so his parents were keeping an especially close eye on him. The emergency clinic could not find any reason for the cough so they assumed it was allergies and treated him accordingly.

In September Felix’s brother passed away. Felix’s parents noticed that he seemed to be coughing more despite being treated for allergies. In November they took Felix to the cardiologist for a work-up just to make sure it wasn’t his heart. Felix received a good report from the cardiologist and a lung mass was not present at that time.

In January Felix had a coughing spell that lasted for hours. The next day Felix was seen by his regular veterinarian and x-rays were taken. The mass in Felix’s chest was seen on the x-rays. As an incidental finding, Felix was also diagnosed with recurrent bladder stones.

Felix had an ultrasound to confirm the x-ray findings. The ultrasound revealed that the mass was attached to the right middle lung lobe. Felix was then referred to the Surgical Division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia for removal of the mass and lung lobe.

Dr. Bradley first performed a cystotomy (opening into the bladder) to remove the bladder stones. This surgery was necessary to prevent the stones from moving into or blocking the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body). He performed this surgery first because Felix needed to be on his back for this procedure. Dr. Bradley didn’t want to go into his chest for lung lobe removal and then put him on his back for the cystotomy. Multiple bladder stones were removed. Felix was then placed on his side for the thoracotomy (opening into the chest cavity). Dr. Bradley found that the mass was attached to the cranial and middle lung lobes. Both lung lobes had to be removed with the mass. The lung lobes and mass were submitted to a laboratory to determine what type of disease process was present. A chest tube was placed for 24 hours after surgery to remove any residual fluid or air.

Felix did very well post-op and went home two days after surgery. Unfortunately, Felix’s biopsy came back as bronchoalveolar adenocarcinoma, a malignant cancer. Felix’s family reports that his recovery is going very well and he’s back to his usual gentle, sweet self.

We’re all rooting for this sweet boy to outlive the average life expectancy after being diagnosed with this cancer.