Aubrey in car 900x900



Aubrey and his siblings
Aubrey and his siblings

Aubrey first visited us back in June 2019.  As a puppy his Mum Joanne had regularly checked him over for any lumps and bumps. Back in 2018 he had suddenly gone off his legs, naturally she immediately rushed him to her local vet. Due to his breed she was concerned he could be experiencing an issue with his back.

On the way to the vet, as she was rubbing his paw for reassurance, she noticed a growth. It felt and looked like an extra pad had grown in the middle of his paw.



Melanoma on Aubrey's paw
Melanoma on Aubrey's paw

When they arrived at the vet, she mentioned the growth that she had found on route. Aubrey’s local vet agreed that the growth was odd, however at that moment his immediate concern was his back. The following day Aubrey was admitted to an orthopedic referral center.

After his spinal surgery Aubrey was confined to crate rest for several weeks. His Mum kept an eye on his pad but nothing changed until a few weeks later when he was finally able to start walking on the pavement for a few minutes a day. It was then that she noticed blood on the floor. Aubrey’s Mum took him back inside and cleaned his paw to see that the pavement had opened up the growth. She took him back into her local vets, and they gave him antibiotics.

Aubrey resting at home
Aubrey resting at home

A week went by, but the growth was starting to smell, it had started to smell and Aubrey was always wanting to lick it. Aubrey’s local vet wanted to remove the growth so he could send it off for testing to find out what it was. Although his Mum was concerned about him having surgery again so soon she decided that it was causing him discomfort, it had come from no where so quickly and the fact that it wouldn’t heal concerned her.

A couple of days after removal, Aubrey and his Mum were called back into the local vets to have his dressings changed, and to discuss the results. They were devasted to learn that the growth had been a malignant melanoma, and their vet recommended an immediate referral.

Aubrey was put under the care of the medical oncology team, under the supervision of Dr Iain Grant. Iain advised a CT scan and to follow with the melanoma vaccination. 

From the families perspective

We spoke to Aubrey’s Mum and asked her how she had found her experience with the team at AURA and what advice she would give to others finding themselves in the same situation?

“ Whilst I had a lot of experience with Dachshunds and their backs, this was very different, I knew what to expect with the back ops but this terrified me. From the minute I walked through the doors I was greeted with a warm smile, everyone I came into contact with was so calm, very kind and really understood the trauma and pressure to do the right thing that families feel."

"I had a consultation explaining the type of cancer, possible treatments, pros and cons and the costs. It’s expensive treatment, they’re very much aware of that but there is absolutely no pressure, they lay out all the options to help you with your decision. It was advised we do a scan and if he’s a candidate then we could proceed with the melanoma vaccine and they would start it immediately. I’m pleased to say he was, he started his treatment and went home that evening. Every time we go back for appointments members of staff come up and say hello to Aubrey, sometimes take photos and say hello to me and my other dogs that go for moral support, it’s so nice that they take the time to do that, it means a lot."

"To other pet owners I would say don’t panic! Easier said than done I know. I was devastated when I got the diagnosis, I expected the worst and thought I’d put him through that back op for nothing, I was heartbroken. Don’t Google and don’t get advice from Facebook users. Just get a referral to a specialist ASAP. You can’t make decisions without the right information and meeting the specialists at AURA helped massively. I felt so much better after my consultation because I knew he was in the best hands and no matter what they would take the very best care of us.”

"Melanoma is a cancer we often see in dogs’ mouths, but as in Aubrey’s case, it can also appear in the pads, toe nails and skin, or sometimes even unusual places like the eye or anal gland. Treatment focusses on tackling the original mass, or ‘primary’, as well as steps to try and slow spread to elsewhere in the body, so-called ‘secondaries’. Melanoma is a cancer in which we can also use immunotherapy in veterinary patients i.e. using a vaccine to stimulate the patient’s own immune system to attack the tumour cells and so limit or delay the development of secondaries. The advantage to the patient is fewer side-effects and general ease of treatment. I am really pleased Aubrey can benefit from melanoma immunotherapy and spend high quality time with his family whilst he undergoes treatment."
Nick Bacon
Professor Nick Bacon
Aubrey on a walk

February 2023 Update 

Aubrey has come back again to have a recheck with Dr Iain Grant. Today he will be having a CT scan to check for any metastatic disease and a top up of the melanoma vaccine.

Aubrey came to the hospital with an empty tummy, as the majority of our CT scans are done under anaesthesia. This is to ensure that the patient is entirely still for several minutes at a time. By having our patients asleep our talented RVNs are able to control their breathing pattern to ensure that they get the best quality image they can. We are all lucky enough to have a contrast injection pump (kindly donated by The Rumba Foundation). Contrast is injected into the blood stream and helps highlight blood vessels and normal anatomy, as well as unexpected masses.  

Aubrey was incredibly well behaved for the team today, and his CT scan and his melanoma vaccine went well. We are pleased to say that his disease remains to be stable.

It is always lovely for our team to reconnect with owners who they have known for many years. Especially when they are as well behaved and cute as Aubrey! We will see Aubrey again in 6 months time.


(Ever wondered what a pet  having a CT scan looks like? Click here to see Aubrey having his most recent scan on our Instagram page!)

Patient overview






Standard Shorthaired Dachshund


11 years


Clinician(s) that treated Aubrey
No data was found