Perhaps one of the most frightening conditions we see in animals is cancer.  Alpine Animal Clinic has many modern diagnostic tools to help you get answers when you need them most, including very high-quality digital x-ray and ultrasound, and complete diagnostic blood testing right in our clinic.  And, we offer advanced vet surgery capability beyond what most veterinary hospitals have the ability to do for biopsy, mass removal, and chemotherapy.  We also can get your animal ready for radiation therapy at any oncology referral teaching hospital with electronic imaging and records transfer.  Get the answers, services, and treatments you need for your pet right here in Helena at one of Montana's most advanced veterinary hospitals.


Cancer requiring skin graft


Mast cell cancer is one of the most common cancers in dogs.  The first photo below shows the right hind leg of a dog with an aggressive mast cell cancer overwhelming the lower portion of the leg below the knee.  This tumor grew very quickly and erupted with life-threatening hemorrhaging that required much skill to create a skin and artery graft to save the leg.  Chemotherapy was also used to put this dog's other tumors in to remission and to help prevent recurrence of the cancer at this site.




This terrible tumor grew quickly.  It ruptured and began hemorrhaging, creating an urgent need for aggressive surgery to save this dog's hind leg.  Due to its enormous size compared to the diameter of the lower leg, it could not be simply excised from the leg, but needed a special skin graft created using an artery from the upper leg to supply blood to the lower leg and the new skin to cover the tumor site.  Only an experienced surgeon with special skill could save this dog's leg.


In the above image, The mass has been carefully and extensively removed, and a skin grafting flap created from the upper thigh area.  The prepared skin graft has been rotated down to cover the area exposed by the cancer removal, and has been partially closed with sutures, beginning from the top of the thigh.


Above, Both the skin graft site and the previous cancer site are now closed with surgical staples.  This new skin covering has an excellent blood supply and will heal quickly, restoring the health and comfort of the leg.