Female Dream Team achieves remarkable success

November 17, 2020

Meet the dream team of leading female vets who have earned glowing reviews for their remarkable work with us here at Southfields Veterinary Specialists.

The five clinicians are all key individuals within our highly-skilled team, providing industry-leading treatment across radiation and oncology, neurology, soft tissue surgery and anaesthesia.

However, they recently joined forces in a truly multidisciplinary approach to successfully tackle the challenging case of Harvey, a spaniel with a large tumour which was aggressively attacking his spine.

The 7 x 8cm growth could have left Harvey paralysed but ‘girl power’ prevailed, as our very own ‘dream team’ carried out treatment which included an intricate four-hour operation which saw the amputation of Harvey’s front, left leg, the removal of one of his ribs and the extraction of the invasive tumour.

A month-long programme of intensive radiotherapy treatment then followed to complete Harvey’s road to recovery.

It’s a remarkable success story for our heroines, who are head of neurology Ane Uriarte; Sarah Mason, head of clinical and radiation oncology; soft tissue clinician Naomi Shimizu; anaesthetist Manuela Pascal and oncology clinician Slavomira Néčová.

Neurology specialist Ane explained: “It was a fantastic team effort from start to finish, with six different disciplines involved, and we’re all delighted Harvey has come through it so successfully.

It all began with our soft tissue clinician Naomi, who first examined Harvey when he was admitted, and it ended with oncology clinician Slavomira, who led his course of post-operative radiotherapy.

Our head of clinical and radiation oncology Sarah and anaesthetist Manuela also joined me in planning and executing Harvey’s treatment to ensure the best possible outcome.

Our team certainly needed all their expertise and experience to deal with the extremely challenging case, especially the removal of such big tumour so close to the delicate, spinal column.

Ane added: “Harvey had a very aggressive tumour, called a Peripheral nerve sheath tumour, invading his chest and growing into the spinal cord.

It was very painful and was already making him lame and without treatment his pain would have increased significantly and he’d have become totally paralysed.

We carried out a CT scan to examine the progression of the tumour and it was clear that we needed to have a multi-disciplinary approach.

It was decided that we should first remove one rib and the front, left limb before removing the part of the tumour invading the spinal cord.

Ane, Naomi and Manuela conducted the all-important operation and succeeded in removing the bulk of the huge tumour.

Ane added: “As the tumour was growing into the spinal cord, we could not remove all of the tumour around that area as the cervical spinal cord (neck) is extremely important and delicate, so any damage in that area would have resulted in Harvey not being able to breath.

The plan was for the radiation therapy to then take care of the little cells which were so close to the spinal cord we couldn’t remove them.

So, once Harvey was recovered from the operation, he was transferred to the care of Sarah and Slavomira to undergo his course of radiotherapy.

Sarah said: “Harvey had 19 treatments over four weeks to maximise the dose of radiation to his tumour while protecting his spinal cord from the risk of future radiation damage.

He has now finished his treatment, his side effects have been resolved, and we were so pleased to be able to have achieved such a positive outcome.

Hospital Director at Southfields, Daniel Hogan, said “Harvey’s treatment perfectly illustrated the skills and strengths on offer at the hospital.

We have always made it a priority to attract the very best clinicians from across the globe and this case shows just how vital having a truly multi-disciplinary approach is here at Southfields.

The fact that all of the highly-skilled clinicians who worked tirelessly to provide the best possible outcome for Harvey are female is another illustration of the strength and talent of women within the veterinary industry. We’re extremely proud to have them all as part of our talented team.

Our all-female dream team, from left, Sarah MasonAne UriateManuela PascalSlavomira Néčová and Naomi Shimizu.