Tata Hospital battles for ‘Ruby’ cancer-stricken police dog

Mumbai police gather around the seven-year-eight-month-old canine, who has been diagnosed with vulvar carcinoma

Doctors battle to save cancer-stricken police dog Ruby

Ruby has been a gem for Mumbai police. A police sniffer dog, Ruby has been instrumental in solving many criminal cases. As the seven-year-eight-month-old canine battles vulvar carcinoma, a form of cancer, the entire force has rallied behind her.

Ruby is undergoing treatment under the directions of experts from Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Tata Memorial Centre, Kharghar. After she was diagnosed with vulvar carcinoma, which is common in female dogs, treatment for the same started immediately. Ruby cannot undergo a surgery because of the precarious location of the tumour. “The tumour is very close to her urinary track. In such cases, radiation is the best treatment available. We are going to conduct six radiation sessions on Ruby,” said Dr Pradip Chaudhari, a veterinary oncologist.

Despite the shocking diagnosis, Dr Chaudhari had a piece of positive news. “We did a CT scan to check if the cancer had spread, and thankfully, it hasn’t,” he added. Rubyhas already undergone her first radiation session, and doctors are hopeful about her recovery.

Doctors battle to save cancer-stricken police dog Ruby
Ruby the Dog

Mumbai police, meanwhile, are ensuring that Ruby gets the best treatment available. “We are following the recommended treatment and will continue to follow the doctors’ advice until Ruby recovers”, said Sanjay Saxena, Joint Commissioner of Police – Crime.

Archana Tyagi, Joint Commissioner of Police – Administration, told My Medical Mantra: “I hope Ruby gets better. I hope best for her.”

For the doctors at ACTREC, Ruby’s treatment is a way of expressing gratitude towards her remarkable service to Mumbai police. “Ruby has done a lot for the society. This is our way to express our gratitude,” said Dr Chaudhari.

The first alarm bells about Ruby’s health were raised by the maintenance team, who noticed a lump near her urinary track. She was taken to veterinary clinic, but there was no definite diagnosis. After some time, blood and pus started oozing from the vaginal region. A surgery to remove Ruby’s uterus was conducted this February. However, when the tumour grew again, she was referred to specialised animal oncology OPD at The Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals, Parel, a joint initiative of Bombay veterinary college and ACTREC.

The challenge before the ACTREC experts now is to reduce the size of tumour and prevent cancer from spreading to the rest of her body. ACTREC is the only centre in country which offers chemotherapy and radiotherapy for animals.

Cancer among dogs

Cancer is common among dogs, and according to experts, apart from vaginal tumours female dogs are vulnerable to breast cancer as well. They also suffer from cancer of lymph nodes, lymphoma and bone cancer, etc. If detected in early stages, they can be easily treated. However, a lot of them die untreated because of the lack of awareness.