Surgery for Dobby the Bull Mastiff

Necessary Surgery for Dobby

Dobby has fluid building up in his chest making it hard for him to breathe.  The medical term is chylothorax. Surgery is the only way to stop this from happening. A doctor at UC Davis Veterinary Hospital is willing to accept Dobby in his clinical trials which will thankfully cover the cost of his CT scans (about $2,000 each) however it does not cover the cost of the surgery which they estimate to cost $6,000 - $8,000. 

The Backstory
I believe everything happens for a reason. One Saturday morning I went to a business meeting only to find I had the date wrong. As I'm driving home I see this big dog galloping down a busy street. All I could see were his bones.  As a girl got out of her car to try to catch him he turned around and headed toward the busy intersection. I was sure he would get hit by a car. I, along with three other girls tried to corral him anyway we could.  After many failed attempts he finally ran up the side of a house only to meet a closed fence. He jumped in their empty recycle bucket and finally gave in.

After about three weeks of feeding him he weighed only about 75 lbs. His normal weight is around 108 lbs. I can only imagine how malnourished he was when we saved him. 

Although he looks intimidating he is just a big cuddle bug.  When new people come over he will usually sit in the corner and shake like a leaf. People have told me that he was probably abused. Which breaks my heart. 

We named him Dobby after the house elf in Harry Potter because of the worried look he usually has on his face and because of his big, droopy ears. Funny enough, one of his favorite things to chew on is our socks! 

An Incidental Finding


Fast forward a few years and I am taking him to our local vet because I noticed a lump in his leg getting bigger and he had a pimple-like bump on his side that was also getting bigger. While explaing this to the doctor she noticed he had blood leaking from his penis.  This led to several tests as she thought it could be bladder infection or prostate cancer. She recommended an ultrasound of his abdomen as well. All of the test results gave us no answers except that in the ultrasound of his abdomen the tech could see the bottom of his lungs and noticed there was fluid. I was told to take him to a specialist for further testing. 

Carrying a 2 liter

I decided he would have access to the best care at UC Davis Veterinary Hospital so I took him to the emergency where they ran more tests and did a chest tap. They pulled out 2.2 liters of fluid! I could not believe he had that much fluid. I was told the fluid was chyle and that they weren't sure where it was coming from. They planned to test the fluid for cancer and infection. The xray of his chest showed a mass in his lungs they believed could be a tumor. They recommended I make an appointment with the oncology department.


About a month later for his oncology appointment we were greeted by a familiar face, a fourth year student who used to work at our local vet! (Again, everything happens for a reason!) 

Since the test results of the fluid did not show signs of cancer or infection they needed to run more tests and an xray. His chest had too much fluid so they again did a chest tap and this time pulled out 3 liters of fluid! 

The doctor stated they needed to rule out heart disease and valley fever but given the rough day Dobby had already we could do them at a later time. She stated even after all the tests it could be that there is no known reason for the cause. She said she would discuss his case with another doctor who studied chylothorax in dogs to see if he would add Dobby's case to his research. 

Although the doctor agreed to take Dobby on as a patient, his reasearch will cover the cost of the CT scans before and after the surgery, however I would have to commit to the surgery and pay for it before they would do the scan. 

They believe the scan will give them more answers as to the cause and help them determine what the mass is that is in his lungs.

The clinical trial doctor explained there is no treatment for chylothorax and that it can only be fixed with surgery. 

A big THANK YOU in advance

Dobby and I greatly appreciate any help you can give. All the tests and expenses incurred to date amount to the price of a decent used car. 

Thank you for taking the time to read his story.  He would sit on your lap to show his appreciation once he stopped shaking in the corner.



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Laurie Em 
Stockton, CA
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