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Testicular tumour & risks of general anaesthetic for older setters

Hi all,

My name is Tony and I own a 11yr 2mth old English Setter boy who's name is Mitch. I stumbled upon this forum whilst researching the risks of general anaesthetic and testicular tumours in older setters, which much to my dismay Mitch has just been diagnosed with. This website seems like a kindly and knowledgeable place to get some much needed advice/thoughts on the above, which I hope you don't mind is the main reason why I have just joined.

The current situation is that I have Mitch booked in with my vet on tuesday morning for pre-op blood tests to check liver & kidneys, which if ok will be followed by testicle removal on the same day. She (my vet) has informed me of the risks involved with the anaesthetic and that surgery generally has a good success rate. She also said that if I choose to not have surgery  then this type of tumour is usually not particularly aggresive, but couldn't give me an estimate of how long Mitch could go on for.

Even though I have Mitch booked for surgery I am still at sixes and sevens (to put it mildly) whether to go through with it or leave well alone and let things take their course. Most of my family and friends think that surgery would be the best option and am leaning slightly that way myself. I realise that the decision is down to me in the end and that no two cases are the same but would welcome and appreciate any thoughts, especially from members who have had experience with testicular tumours  in their setters or had older dogs put under general anaesthetic for something else. Goes without saying really that I love my boy to bits and only want to do what's best for him.

I should also mention that with the exception of some arthritis and being on medication for an underactive thyroid, Mitch is in good condition and when we're out walking people often say how good he looks for his age.






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Wonderful news....now to get the recovery period over with so you can do your walks again comfortably....our old gentleman dogs ( and ladies) are wonderful treasures of all the memories we have shared with them.
Brilliant news Tony, and what a handsome fella Mitch is...he reminds me so much of some of my oldies...do you know his breeding as it would be interesting to see if they are related :-)

Thanks ever so much everyone,

I had to dash out the garden this morning to stop him spinning around (tail chasing fashion) on the lawn before he did himself some harm. This is the usual way he greets me first thing in the morning but he has not done it for some time. I suppose it does mean that he's feeling more like his usual self... just wish the old nutbat would hold off doing it 'till he's all healed up!

Sheree, I have attached a photo (that's about as far as my PC tech skills go I'm afraid) of Mitch's papers. I'm not sure how it will turn out, just hope you will be able to read it? His breeder was Fiona Mitchell (who he was named after), Sunsprake Setters, Worcs.

Edit - photo seems to be ok when enlarged.


Hi Tony,


No wonder I like him, his dad Rainer is one of my all time favourites and I had the pleasure of judging him when he was young :-)  I know Nigel who owned him very well.


And I have known Fiona for many years and see her quite often at shows these days...she also has a beautiful line of English.

Well well, that's great to hear Sheree. The next time you see Fiona please give her our best regards, and will you be kind enough to thank her for letting us have such a beautiful boy. He really does have a lovely nature - so affectionate, gentle, laid back and trusting.... a gentleman indeed.
I'm so pleased to hear you've had the all clear! What a relief, he will be back to enjoying walks and games in no time. 

Many thanks Susan,

He has his stitches out on Friday. He's looking good so we should be out and about soon after that. The veterinary nurse, who lives nearby, kindly offered to come to my home to remove the stitches, so at least Mitch will avoid the stress having to go back to the vets. I am not sure he will appreciate that though when the time arrives :-) 

Dear Tony

I am also very pleased to hear this wonderful news. You must be beside yourself with happiness, and Mitch too.

Best of wishes from Susan and her English Setters

I know it's not painful Tracy, but try telling Mitch that. :-)  Anyway, the stitches have just been removed but not without a struggle. It was quite funny to begin with - when Sian the vet nurse arrived Mitch was on the settee lying on his back as if to say - I know what you are here for Sian so come on let's get it over with. That submissive posture soon changed when she began to remove the stitches... it took quite a bit of effort for my wife and I to hold him still, especially when the last stitch was taken out.

Sian is lovely, when my last English Setter was suffering from cancer she came to our house to see how he was during his final days. We shall be sending her some flowers shortly. 


Glad to hear that Mitch protested while getting his stiches out =) How very Setter-ish of him, making fun of all of you!

You are very lucky to have such a nice nurse nearby.

Mitch's recovery is almost over, you'll be walking and playing in no time!





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