ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Loving all the attention and a good belly scratch, Meesha, an eight-year-old pit bull living in St. Paul, is making her new neighbors do double takes. Meesha has a tumor attached to the left side of her head roughly the size of a football.
Meesha was taken in by Liz Gigler, founder of R-Paw, a nonprofit animal rescue with a history of helping local pets with health issues. She says Meesha's previous owners said the roughly eight-pound tumor grew in just eight months
"They had her her whole life and had masses removed prior, but in this case financial burdens were just too much and they just couldn't get ahold of it," Gigler says.
Dr. Kate Kaufman at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Blaine performed a CT scan on Meesha Wednesday ahead of surgery next week. She estimates the tumor weights about eight pounds.
"Unfortunately, [of] dogs in general, one in four will get some sort of tumor or mass at some point in their lifetime," Dr. Kaufman says.
"She does get tired easy just from carrying the sheer weight of it around, but as far as being in any pain or discomfort she doesn't seem to be," Gigler says.
Dr. Kaufman says the tumor is likely cancerous, but she cannot be certain until tests come back. Removing the massive tumor will be a challenge, but she will try to save the dog's ear which is stretched onto part of the tumor that will be removed.
"It's definitely unique in that we often do not see tumors this size we have the opportunity to remove," Dr. Kaufman says.
At eight years old and an estimated cost for the surgery of at least $5,000, Gigler had to weight whether the pricey surgery is worth it.
"It all goes back to her quality of life. If she was unhappy, if she was sick, otherwise we wouldn't be doing this, she would be put in our hospice program and kept comfortable until the end. But there is a chance for her, and people willing to help her," Gigler says. "It's really her only option to live a long happy life."
Several thousand dollars have already been raised to help with Meesah's medical bills. If you would like to help, visit www.youcaring.com.