August 17, 2021


Berkeley the golden retriever looking happy in the AMC waiting room


Berkeley was rescued from an abusive home at just five months old.

The adorable male Golden Retriever was kept chained on an uncovered porch, and not allowed to cross the threshold into the house for warmth and shelter. To this day, he still flinches when passing through doorways or when a stranger tries to pet him on his head.

After witnessing these deplorable living conditions, an advocate rescued Berkeley and began reaching out to trusted pet owners to find the puppy a loving forever home.

He asked Susan if she would be interested. A play date was set up where Berkeley could meet Susan’s two other dogs, and the rest is history.

“We were first sent to Animal Medical Center (AMC) twenty years ago for an emergency situation, says Susan. “Since that moment, we have been faithful and happy clients of AMC for all of our animals. Berkeley has been in and out of those doors enough times that he feels comfortable, even when going in for weekly acupuncture treatments for arthritic hips.”

Berkeley’s comfort with the AMC staff would prove to be invaluable. During a routine examination, one of the rehabilitation doctors noticed something amiss in Berkeley’s nasal area. Immediately, a full blood workup and a biopsy were ordered, followed by a CT scan. The results were dire: Berkeley was diagnosed with a malignant nasal septum tumor.

“I was saddened to know that Berkeley would need surgery, but cautiously optimistic, as the AMC has successfully seen us through two prior bouts of cancer with Berkeley over the years,” says Susan.

“Historically, these surgeries, while successful, usually result in amputation of the nose, which is prone to complications as well as disfigurement,” says Dr. Dan Spector, AMC staff surgeon. “We thought there could be a better way.”

An amazing facet to the AMC is the amount of collaboration that takes place between specialists. When Dr. Spector’s internal medicine and oncology colleagues approached him about Berkeley’s tumor, he offered a novel surgical option for removing it that had been described in veterinary literature.

The previous standard of treatment meant that the tumor would be removed from the nasal septum; in its place, a “blowhole” would be created for the patient to breathe. Through research and development, Dr. Spector was able to execute a novel approach, in which he made a lateral incision and lifted the tissue up – much like one would lift the hood of a car – in order to remove the tumor, and then return the tissue back to its natural anatomic position, preserving the cosmetic appearance of the nose.

The surgery was a success and Berkeley was declared cancer-free. He had a fairly easy recovery period of a few weeks, and spent just two nights at AMC before he was discharged. Susan was provided with detailed written instructions, including relaxing steam treatments to reduce nasal congestion.

“He did have to wear the dreaded Elizabethan collar for several weeks,” Susan recalls. “But, I had been prepared for this by the specialists at AMC that I like to call Team Berkeley, and our boy tolerated the annoyance remarkably well.” Between follow-up appointments, Berkeley’s entire team of doctors was in constant contact with Susan via email and phone to monitor his progress.

Today, Berkeley is healthy and happy. To look at him, you would never know that he had undergone any sort of nasal surgery. This success is particularly significant because it was the result of boundless collaboration and knowledge-sharing between AMC specialists. Our team worked together to devise a treatment option for a unique and complicated diagnosis.

“There is no place better than AMC for advanced medical and surgical care, and the advancement of veterinary medicine,’” says Dr. Spector. “Compassion and dedication to the our patients and their families are at the center of what we do here.”

Close up headshot of Berkeley the dog standing in the AMC waiting room
Berkeley the looking happy after surgery with nose shaved
Berkeley the dog with tongue out and nose shaved after surgery
Berkeley the golden retriever looking happy in the AMC waiting room
Berkeley the dog turned away from the camera with tongue out in AMC waiting room