We were alerted to Walter’s condition by a very kind tourist who spotted him hiding under vehicles on one of Tangalle’s busiest beachfronts. Thank goodness she got in touch. Walter had one of the biggest tumours we have ever seen! It was on his penis and had pretty much infiltrated all of the normal tissue, meaning that there was next-to-no normal architecture left. He was peeing through a tiny hole in the tumour (sideways!) and had we gotten to him any later, this ability to urinate would’ve disappeared… buuuuut fortunately, we did. Yayyyy!!
Walter was tricky to catch as he was so nervous. Often when animals have visible disease, such as this, they are shooed away at every opportunity and forced to live in the shadows. So asking him to go against every instinct he has developed was difficult. With lots of coaxing and LOTS of biscuits (Lemon Puffs to be precise) we managed to get him out from underneath the vehicle and into the tuk tuk for the journey to the WECare Hospital.
Treatment of his transmissible venereal tumour
Once at the hospital, we sedated Walter to examine him properly and were shocked all over again at the size of his TVT (Transmissible Venereal Tumour). Somehow, he had managed to avoid getting maggots (which is pretty much a given with any open/ulcerated wound in the tropics). We set to work on starting his chemotherapy. After 4 weeks, the size of the tumour had certainly reduced but it was still pretty stonking so we opted to surgically resect/debulk the leftover ‘hanger’! It was a tricky surgery as the tumour was sitting only millimetres away from his urethra (pee pipe!). With a lot of patience and steady hands, we managed to complete it very successfully and created, even if we say so ourselves, quite a pretty penis from what was a big hot mess haha!