Just like people, animals can get
skin cancer, and we’ve nursed a number of residents with this condition over
the years. These cancers typically present as basal or squamous cell carcinoma,
and can be treated, or at the least managed, with veterinary assistance.
Brownie is one such patient, having undergone two procedures for skin cancer
since his arrival in the Valley as a young lamb. When tiny, Brownie was
impacted by serious fly blowing which damaged over one third of the skin on his
back. He came to the Sanctuary with extensive wounds, and his recovery
was slow. While the wounds healed, sadly his thick woolly coat in those
damaged areas never did, which then became hot spots for cancer growth.
Last year, two large cancers emerged on Brownie’s back. These grew quickly, and a third
surgery was imminent. Fortunately, for this third surgery, Dr Barney,
a specialist equine surgeon from the Animal Hospital at Murdoch, was available. Dr Barney suggested laser surgery, something we had not
previously tried. Given the extensive growth of the cancers we were keen
to give it a try, and within a week, Brownie was fasting in anticipation for
The cancer removal went to plan, and within an hour, Brownie
was in his recovery stall and enjoying a snack. We were able to visit Brownie
the following day, and were so relieved to see him comfortable and
bright. He loved the attention of clinic staff and students, and
his dressing changes could be done without restraint thanks to his favourite brush,
which we had packed with his belongings for his hospital stay. Brushing
Brownie encouraged him to happily stand while his dressings and ointments were
applied, making post-surgery treatment a breeze!
Within a week, Brownie
was able to come home to the Sanctuary for continuing care, and the vet team
were very impressed with his rapid recovery. Brownie will always need
ongoing skin checks. We are vigilant of cancerous growths on his skin and
we are so appreciative of the medical expertise available to assist our farm friends!