Cornell University rescues dog with rare tumor

After showing mixed symptoms of Horner’s syndrome, vets found neuroendocrine carcinoma in his chest

Cynthia Hopf, DVM, assistant clinical professor at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), noticed that Cherokee, her 9-year-old bloodhound mix, had a droopy eyelid and reduced pupil size. She suspected that she might be suffering from Horner’s system as he might present with neurological problems. After seeing this at work with her wildlife patients, she knew something was wrong with her pet because Cherokee had not suffered any type of trauma and was only 9 years old.

Hopf immediately contacted Courtney Korff, DVM, and Emma Davies, BVSc, MSc, DipECVN, at CVM’s Neurology and Neurosurgery departments and was brought in for imaging. Korff and Davies discovered a lump in Cherokee’s chest that would be diagnosed as neuroendocrine carcinoma.1

The tumor was small and probably would not have been detected had it not been pressed against a nerve that ran through Cherokee’s chest and contributed to the normal functioning of the eyes. This location and the nature of the tumor is very unusual.

Cherokee was scheduled to undergo surgery along with another colleague, Nicole Buote, DVM, DACVS(SA). Buote used tools and goggles that were threaded through 3 small incisions in Cherokee’s chest to remove the tumor, avoiding cutting into the chest and ribs for easier recovery.1 Hopf took her dog home after the surgery, and Cherokee was up and moving the next day.

The tumor was then sent for evaluation by the pathology department of the CVM and declared a neuroendocrine carcinoma. Cherokee was sent to oncology wards for case management and prescribed Palladia. Now his most recent scans showed no trace of disease anywhere. However, to be sure, Cherokee will remain on Palladia.


Dog with a rare tumor gets a happy ending. Press release. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. October 20, 2022. Accessed October 25, 2022.

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