Wednesday, December 16, 2015



On December 1st, 2015 the Municipal Police of Tijuana responded to a call in one of the most notorious slums of downtown Tijuana. A woman was arrested on various charges. In the room where she resided there were a total of 12 dogs living in frightful conditions. The police confiscated the dogs, calling Animal Control to take them away and have them all euthanized.

These unfortunate events were relayed to one of our contacts. After our past collaboration in the rehabilitation of 31 confiscated animals and the outstanding results, government officials were open to another collaboration.

Through a formal document, HSTJ has offered to provide these animals with grooming services, free sterilization for all 6 males and all 6 females, as well as veterinary care and medications. In return, we request a guarantee that these dogs will not be euthanized immediately, and will be given sufficient time in which to be adopted. They will remain at Animal Control until they are adopted.

As of right now, all 12 have been sterilized and groomed. They have all been seen by a veterinarian and are slowly regaining their health and putting on weight. But they are still staying at the dog pound. 
Please remember that if they are not adopted, they will inevitably be killed. That is why it is so important to spread the word right now!! We have to get them out of there!!!


If you decide to do so these dogs will experience love, affection and the warmth of a home --something they had never felt before. In addition, you will gain the company of someone who will be eternally grateful, and the unwavering loyalty of a wonderful friend.

Pictured above is a before and after shot of one of these doggies. To see pictures of the rest of them, click HERE We will be uploading more pictures and complete profiles as they become available.

Please share with anyone you think might be able to help. On this side volunteers are working non stop trying to find them fosters/adopters locally as well. The clock is ticking for these babies.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Holiday Newsletter 2015 - PRESIDENT'S END OF THE YEAR REPORT

November 2015

Dear Friend of the Humane Society de Tijuana:

As the 2015 calendar year closes we take this opportunity to share our successes and the immediate, urgent challenges as well. During the past year we were able to expand the types of veterinary services offered at the HSTJ Center and, as expected, it resulted in many more pleas for assistance.  As of now, no one has been turned down. You can read some of these stories right here on our blog.

Last year also saw a tremendous increase in spays and neuters as well as animals treated at the street clinics, bringing the year’s total to 5,886 cats and dogs! Added to that, were all the animals benefiting from our food distribution programs and the rehabilitation/adoption programs.

Another major accomplishment was the development of a public education program, EduCan, which has gained recognition from the municipal government of the City of Tijuana.

On another positive note, we had an unexpected negative situation in October actually turn into something very positive. The building we rented for the HSTJ Center changed hands and our lease was not renewed in September. We were able to lease another location, and while we incurred large moving expenses due to the equipment transportation and a 15% increase in rent, the new location has proved to be ideal. 

The reality is that due to our program successes, the demands for such have far exceeded our budget to provide them, and will soon deplete current funds. Without additional support, we will not be able to continue this increased level of service to the animals of our rescuers and low income public.
We are sending you this urgent plea because we cannot allow ourselves to deny services to any animal that needs it. Please keep in mind that there are an estimated 10,000 animals living on the streets of  Tijuana on any given day and they need help. HELP US MAINTAIN OUR CURRENT LEVEL OF SUPPORT FOR THESE  DESERVING  ANIMALS.

FHSTJ & HSTJ receive no government support and continue with an all volunteer staff except for a part time program coordinator. No officer or board member receives monetary compensation. The compensation comes from seeing happy and healthy animals. We depend on your generosity to continue rescuing abandoned and abused animals and saving them from a life of starvation,    disease, pain and fear.


You can do so by visiting and clicking on the donation page, or you can mail your contribution to:

Friends of HSTJ
641 E. San Ysidro Blvd. #B3-431
San Ysidro, CA 92173

On behalf of the animals and the dedicated staff of FHSTJ & HSTJ, I offer a sincere thank you.

Richard Massa
President, Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana


This is Hope, a stray that undoubtedly lived her whole life on the streets.
One tragic morning a car ran her over, fracturing her skull. A woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was passing by and saw everything. Heartbroken, she walked over intending to get the dead pup off of the road. When she picked her up she noticed the dog was breathing. Incredibly, she was still alive! The woman exclaimed, "Todavia hay Esperanza!" (There is still Hope!)

Right then and there she named the dog Hope (Esperanza) and immediately sought a ride to the nearest vet.

One of her friends owned a vehicle and offered to bring her to the HSTJ Center. Wasting no time, they loaded up Hope and headed straight for the Center, where Dr. Angel worked for many hours trying to fix her shattered skull. Despite his valiant efforts, Hope finally let her spirit go.

This story shows the great lengths that our vets and volunteers go through to save lives. Unfortunately, due to a lack of equipment, neurologic and orthopedic cases like this one present a real challenge. If we had a sophisticated orthopedic drill set up we could’ve handled this, but right now we regret that our budget does not permit us to buy this equipment. It’s a miracle we’re saving as many lives as we are with basic tools.

If it is your desire to help us purchase something specific that is urgently needed at the HSTJ Center, please contact the President of the Board of Directors for Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana:

Richard Massa
(619) 922-3394

Purrfectly Patient

This story begins early one morning in August, 2015. Mrs. Zamora, an individual rescuer, was up early feeding her rescued cats, when a stray cat came towards her, meowing loudly. Mrs. Zamora had never seen this cat before, but her instinct as an experienced rescuer told her that this cat was meowing due to pain. She picked her up gently and saw a huge lump on her side. She thought, “There is no way I can just feed her and leave her alone.” So she brought her in to the HSTJ Center thinking that perhaps it was a tumor.

Dr. Angel Hernandez, attending veterinarian at the HSTJ Center explained that the cat was a pregnant female with a hernia, and the lump was actually her intestines held in only by her skin. As she later discovered, someone had kicked the stray cat on her side and the impact ruptured her muscles, causing the painful hernia. Furthermore, the mommy cat was almost ready to have her babies and couldn’t be operated on until they were weaned. The vet recommended that she remain in a calm quiet area to avoid additional injuries.

 Mrs. Zamora named her MAMA and cared for her with love. Soon thereafter, MAMA delivered seven beautiful kittens. Mrs. Zamora could tell that MAMA’s pain was increasing as she continued nursing her kittens, and her health was visibly declining. As soon as the kittens could be weaned onto dry food, Mrs. Zamora took MAMA back to the HSTJ Center where her hernia was corrected and she was spayed.


Today MAMA shows no more signs of pain and has made a full recovery. She now lives with her rescuer, and incredible as it may seem, she is doing a great job looking after a litter of orphaned kittens that Mrs. Zamora recently rescued. By the way, all of MAMA's kittens were adopted by loving families.


September 2015 Report

During the month of September there was a lot of activity. Little did we know that at the end of this month we would be asked to move the HSTJ Center to a new location

For the month of September, the total sterilizations performed at the HSTJ Center were 95. (Not included in this total are many special procedures and surgeries that the vet also performed during September.) 
Here is the breakdown for the sterilizations:
16 female cats
5 male cats
41 female dogs
33 male dogs

These sterilizations contribute to reducing animal overpopulation and prevent thousands of undesired litters of puppies and kittens from being born into this world, having to live and die on the streets of Tijuana. 

Remember, almost half of people who bring their animals for treatment are individual rescuers who rescue and rehabilitate injured, sick or starving animals. And the rest of our patients belong to families with very little means that barely have enough to feed and clothe their families. Without free or low-cost services, most would never be able to afford veterinary treatment for their cherished pets, and would certainly not be able to pay for their sterilizations, resulting in litter after litter being born every year.

The "Itchy-Scratchy" Street Clinics for the month of September treated a total of 361 cats and dogs. 
Here are the stats for all four events:

1. DATE: September 6th, 2015
LOCATION: Rial San Francisco
CATS: 13
DOGS: 76

2. DATE: September 13th, 2015
LOCATION: Dorado Seccion 3
DOGS: 69

3. DATE: September 20th, 2015
LOCATION: Terrazas del Valle
DOGS: 84

4. DATE: September 27th, 2015
LOCATION: El Jibarito
CATS: 12
DOGS: 97


 The MASH Clinic for the month of September was held on September 20th, 2015 and volunteer veterinarians were able to spay or neuter 37 cats and dogs in just one day.

11 female cats

9 male cats

11 female dogs

6 male dogs



Additionally, Friends of HSTJ held two fantastic Adoption Events in San Diego. They were held on:

September 19th, 2015


September 26th, 2015

A very busy month, and as always, your generous donations are at work saving countless lives and making all of this possible. Thank you.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Moving the HSTJ Center

It has been said that the best things happen unexpectedly, and during these past three months it has proven to be oh-so-true.

The building that we rented for the HSTJ Center was originally a small house in the Buenos Aires colonia. This location was chosen because, among other things, it was close to some of the most impoverished parts of Tijuana. Namely, the "eastern part of Tijuana". 

With a lot of effort it was adapted into what most of you have come to know as the HSTJ Center, a facility that offers free/low-cost veterinary services for rescuers and families with little means. Thanks to your support, that small idea evolved into a hugely successful project, made evident by the increasing number of people being helped each and every month.

Since it opened its doors and treated its first animal in February 2014, this clinic became well known in the Tijuana community. Things were moving along as usual, and then, an unexpected change!

The building changed hands when our landlady passed away.  She was a young woman with a heart of gold and we will forever be grateful for her support in establishing the HSTJ Center. Some time after that, the new owner informed us at the end of September that our lease would not be renewed, meaning that we had 30 days to evacuate the building. We had to find a new location for our beloved Center... AND WE HAD TO MOVE FAST BECAUSE THE CLOCK WAS TICKING!!

Every one of our dear volunteers mobilized immediately, searching for a place that had a sound structure, was in an appropriate location, was near public transportation, was ideal for a veterinary clinic, and was in the same price range (rent), etc. It wasn't easy. Many drove around for hours and made dozens of phone calls looking for the right place. By mid-October time had passed very quickly and we still hadn't found a proper place to move into. Some began to worry.

Then, just in the nick of time, one of our volunteers stumbled onto what appeared to be the perfect place. It met all of the requirements that Board Members had agreed upon. Success! Moreover, our new landlady and her family were all animal lovers and rescuers themselves! They absolutely went above and beyond to accommodate us and help us get set up. A special thank you to Mrs. Rossy and her family! 

The space needed to be adapted as a veterinary clinic in order to function at the capacity we had in the original location and your donations helped us achieve this. This implied installing additional plumbing and electric fixtures, some divider walls, etc. Our Program Coordinator oversaw this project in order to make the most efficient use of funds possible. 

When we posted the news about the big move, Tijuana residents immediately helped us spread the word on social media. And people kept bringing their animals for treatments at Buenos Aires until the very last day --even on moving day the Center remained open until 4:00PM. 

Volunteers showed up to help us move on the evening of October 31st, 2015. Yes, on Halloween night. We are extremely grateful to have such a strong corps of dedicated volunteers and we value each and every one of them and appreciate whatever help each person is able to offer. We can't repeat that enough. 

The move didn't go as smoothly as planned, but with everyone's help, the job got done. Although we hired movers, our HSTJ truck stalled on the highway during the first trip and had to be towed away. Mrs. Leticia Coto, President of the Mexican organization, HSTJ, spearheaded the move and quickly spoke with volunteers who were more than willing to lend their personal vehicles to help move our equipment. A very special shout-out to Adria and Xindy for their pick-up trucks and to everyone else that helped us move! At the end of that night, all were exhausted but happy.

After some settling in, we officially opened our doors at the new location on November 4th, 2015 and we couldn't be happier. Of course, it goes without saying that we incurred in additional expenses, but we are confident that it is completely worth it when you think about how many animals will continue to benefit from the HSTJ Center on a daily basis.

The services offered at this facility are subsidized by Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana and we purchase surgical materials and medications on a weekly and monthly basis. Doctors offer their services and volunteers are always ready to help, but we need more donations in order to purchase materials and help even more animals. Please read some of the stories of animals that have received treatment at this Center, and if you decide that you would like to donate, please do not hesitate to do so. We depend on your generosity to keep the doors of this veterinary clinic open to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Solecita (small sun)

This is Solecita, Spanish for "small sun". She is now around four months old. Solecita was found by an HSTJ Rescuer who was out walking his rescued dogs. The poor defenseless pup was huddled under some shrubs and peeked out when she saw the man walking his dogs. He called to her and she came right over wagging her little tail. At the time she was approximately 2 - 3 months old --still just a baby.

This man took her home with him, took her to the vet for a check-up, and put up "FOUND DOG" signs in the neighborhood, even posting it on social media. It has now been a little over a month since this tiny puppy was found, and since no one has claimed her, Solecita will be spayed next month and will be looking for her forever home.

If you are interested in meeting Solecita, please contact our Adoptions Coordinator, Vicky:


In late August and early September of this year there was a broadcast message networked to all rescue groups, shelter and other animal welfare organizations which contained a description of a woman who was allegedly contacting several rescues in the Burbank, CA area seeking to foster cats and small dogs, giving false or inconsistent information. It was believed that this was a "criminal" who sought to obtain these animals to use them as bait for dog fights.

Soon thereafter, this story was looked into by local authorities it was found to be a misunderstanding. Nonetheless, we took this opportunity to remind ourselves and other organizations working alongside us, that the disgusting practice of dog fighting continues to be a harsh reality in our society.

When someone decides to rescue an animal, that person invests time, energy and resources into rehabilitating that poor soul. The rescuer inevitably gets emotionally attached to that little animal and watches as it blossoms into its new personality. It is only natural for that person or family to want that rescued animal to find a loving forever home. For almost ten years now, Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana has maintained a high level of adoption protocols. Through these years, we have placed hundreds of cats and dogs in forever homes. Perhaps even you who are reading this right now can proudly say that through our work you found a new member of your family. That gives us a profound sense of satisfaction, and even further reason to continue helping even more animals with the help of your donations.

It is always a good idea to be careful, especially when a potential foster or adopter appears evasive or provides false information. Yes, sometimes cases like this are just misunderstandings, but we believe that it is better to be safe than sorry.

The reality is that there are a lot more people being arrested for felonies related to dog fighting. Many use free dogs and cats to train fighting dogs, not only in Los Angeles, but also all over the world. We believe that it is important that all rescue people know where their dogs and cats are going when they decide to surrender them, and we repeatedly communicate this to those who work with us or alongside us.

On a significantly positive note, "the Los Angeles area has a new tip line -- 877-777-2585 -- allowing individuals in Los Angeles County to confidentially report incidents of dog                  fighting that they witness or suspect. Their incentive? A reward of up to $5,000 provided by the Humane Society of the United States in the event of an arrest or conviction as the result of a tip provided through their line, which launched on July 1." (SOURCE:

We will continue to support the cause to end dog fighting by doing all that is in our power to stop our rescues from falling prey to this disgusting practice that ultimately affects our society on so many levels.

First there were three, and then there was one

These are the two boys.
 These three pups were rescued on September 20th, 2015. This is their story:

On that date we were holding a large Sterilization Campaign in the Buenos Aires Colonia. One volunteer walked to a small park just two blocks away and was about to eat her lunch when she saw something terrible. A man came into the park and dumped three tiny puppies that he had in a bucket. They were all less than 3 pounds and they were all 4 weeks old. All three were near starvation, weak and infested with worms and fleas.

Any human with a heart would not be able to leave 3 defenseless puppies in a huge park next to a very busy road to basically get killed or die of starvation. So, she picked them up and brought them to the clinic to find a solution. They obviously needed immediate medical attention in order to become healthy and then be moved into a foster home.

 It has always been our mission to do what is best for the animals and so vets and volunteers present worked together to make arrangements for the pups to receive 'round-the-clock attention. Amazingly, this was accomplished and the pups would not be alone any longer.

This is the girl.
Being in the rescue industry means that we have to be flexible and willing to do what it takes to help the animals. And yes, things happen that are unexpected and unplanned and that is just the way it is. One cannot control where and when situations like this will present themselves. Three innocent souls were saved on that Sunday and it was the only thing that could be done at the time.

With that watchful supervision, both male puppies quickly showed improvement, but the girl puppy was very sickly. Sadly, the girl did not survive.

Once the two boys were nursed back to health, they were transferred to their foster home. Then some time after that, it was discovered that the larger of the two had been born with a severe and painful heart condition, and ultimately it was decided that he be put down humanely.

Today, only one of those pups remains and his name is Aidan. He will soon be ready for adoption. For adoption information please contact Vicky:
This is the largest of the two boys.
This is Aidan.


At the 2014 Doggy Street Festival we were fortunate enough to meet a very special group of people in the booth next to us, and they have been helping us ever since. We are referring to members of the Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital.

From the beginning, Drs. Traversi and Berg have been very supportive and we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all of you for helping us with our animals and for always being so supportive of HSTJ and the cats and dogs of Tijuana.

Yes indeed, you are all a very special group of people.

Vicky Godoy,
Adoptions Coordinator,
Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana

Tito Says "THANK YOU"

Tito, on the day that he was found.

Meet Tito, a male chihuahua. A young lady found him sitting on the sidewalk right outside her home.

Tito showed signs of malnutrition. He was so thin that when he stood up you could see his bones. In addition to that, he was suffering from a painful skin condition commonly known as mange. On his tail, on his neck, on his paws and along other parts of his body there were bright red patches of itchy skin that were swollen and sore.

If Tito could speak, he would also say, "Thank You"
His rescuers brought him in for treatment. He gradually recovered from his skin infection and was soon completely rehabilitated.

Tito was neutered and vaccinated and is now one happy, healthy chihuahua that is looking for his forever home.

On behalf of their entire family, who have jointly been rescuing animals for quite some time now, his rescuer writes:
"Gracias por sus donativos que nos hacen llegar. Sin su ayuda esto no seria posible."

"Thank you for all of the [food] donations that you send our way. Without them, this would not be possible."

We, in turn, extend that appreciation to you, our supporters.
Tito was treated and rehabilitated with help from your donations.
Thank you from all of us.



Peggy was abandoned in this cage for 6 months.

 This is Peggy. She was left abandoned by her owners at a veterinary office. There, she was subject to six months of neglect. For those six months she never left her cage.

She was rescued from there by a man and his daughter. She was steadily rehabilitated from her severe state of physical malnutrition and from her terrifying fear of humans.

Once she became healthy once again, Peggy was sterilized and vaccinated. Her true spirit began to shine through and her fear melted away.

Peggy may have lost her previous home, but she found her forever home with a man named Francisco and they now live in Tlaxcala, MEXICO. She is one happy pup and will never know fear and loneliness ever again.
Peggy gaining weight and
letting go of her fear
and apprehension.

Peggy with her new rescuers and her new dad, Francisco.

Peggy at present. A happy girl that got a second
chance at having a loving family.

Friday, September 11, 2015

August 2015 Report

The Doggie Street Festival, a whopping response at the HSTJ Center, a huge increase at our monthly clinic, a new way to distribute food, what’s new on the EduCan Project, update on cockapoo hoarding case, and the heartwarming story of a basset hound that fought a courageous battle until the very end. We invite you to read this month’s report.

The 2015 Doggie Street Festival 
We begin by thanking all of you who came out to show your support at our booth. Here are some fabulous pictures that capture the energy of the moment. It was such a boisterous festival, with lots of people coming and going, and many stopping by to say hello to our furry babies. We are happy to report that HSTJ brought 17 dogs to this event, and there were so many people interested in them that volunteers spent the rest of the month doing follow-up calls and visits, aside from our usual adoption events. We are all looking forward to next year's Festival! :-)

The HSTJ Center
This month there was a tremendous increase in the HSTJ Center program. This month vets performed an outstanding 163 spay/neuter surgeries!!! In addition to this, Dr. Angel Hernandez, head vet at the Center, performed eight different procedures, ranging from biopsies, gastrointestinal disorders, to splenectomies, and even a cesarean! Thanks to support from our donors we can subsidize these services year round, and thanks to the self-sacrificing labor of these vets, low-income families and rescuers have access to these services during regular business hours –and all at low cost, or no-cost to them. In fact, we have done the math, and on average, treatments at our Center cost only 31% of what they would cost elsewhere. Now that is progress! In the future, and if donations increase, we would love to open more of these Centers throughout Tijuana.

Monthly Clinics on the Up & Up
With a Grand Total of 62 surgeries in just one day, vets and volunteers alike worked in unison to accomplish such a great feat. A total of four vets attended this month's clinic, which was held in our very own facilities on August 23rd, 2015. Never a dull moment at these Mobile Clinics! Have you ever considered volunteering? If so, please see below, and if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

***Can you help?***
We welcome volunteers to assist in this, and all of our other activities. There is always plenty to do and all help is greatly appreciated. If you are considering volunteering at a future event, contact us. Transportation into Mexico and back to the U.S. is provided by us.
And if you are a licensed veterinarian and would consider dedicating one full Sunday to perform cat/dog sterilizations in Tijuana, that would be fantastic too! 

Food Distribution program
Humane Society de Tijuana has always tried and tested new and innovative ways to approach the ordinary, and the food distribution program is no exception. In August, Board Members brainstormed new ways of getting dog/cat food donations directly to those who need it the most. They came up with various strategies. One of them was to periodically visit each rescuer and physically observe the amount of rescues that they are able to house and rehabilitate, and based on that update the distribution list systematically. This idea would mean that everyone receives exactly what they need, no more and no less, and it also means that we could potentially expand our food distribution network enormously.
Another idea on the table was to ask if those people who receive the food are available to help in any of our programmed activities, at a time most convenient to them, of course. The Board has agreed to explore these ideas other, in order to streamline the process and achieve an improved and more comprehensive distribution. These adjustments are set to begin during the months of September and October, and if successful then they may become permanent.

What’s up, EduCan?
You will be pleased to hear that our EduCan Project continues to be well received within the communities. In collaboration with DIF (Community Development for Families, a government organization), we have booked this program in eight different communities since May of this year. You can find more information on this project and how it enables us to help at-risk communities here.

From 31… only six are left 
Update on the cockapoo hoarding case, and yes, you read right. Only six are left! If you are not familiar with the full story, you can read it here. Slowly but surely these pups have found wonderful homes. Granted, it has taken longer than initially anticipated, but helping them get a second chance at life makes it all worthwhile.
Many of HSTJ’s loyal volunteers such as Xindi, Adria, and Teresa, just to name a few... have invested countless hours and driven immeasurable distances in order to do initial home visits, and follow up visits, on these pups in their new homes.

How can we truly measure success? When local adopters are not only willing, but also capable, of properly caring for their new addition. Or as one volunteer puts it, “We developed [the interviews] because we want them to ask as many questions as they like, to get all their doubts and hesitations out in the open. We can then fill in the gaps and tell them what to expect. Only then can we discover if this will really be a good match.”
As soon as they are all adopted, HSTJ will prepare a slideshow of all of them in their new homes. Few are aware of this, but there really are lots of excellent homes right here in Tijuana. Cases like this one prove it. A big thank you to all who have participated in making this possible.

Fighting a courageous battle until the very end
We finish our report by sharing a story that must be told. Alika the basset hound lived to be nine years old, and her life teaches us a valuable lesson about senior dogs. We invite you to read her story here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Alika the Basset Hound & the Lesson she left us

Alika was rescued at 2 years of age. Sarai Garcia and her husband would always see her walking up and down the street, but they thought, "She must have an owner. A Basset Hound can't be living on the streets, can it?" As time went by, the couple noticed she was getting thinner and thinner, and she looked very dirty, so they decided to rescue her.

The next morning they found her foraging for food along a nearby street. As they tried to put a leash around her, she kept running away from them, so they chased after her. But when they got too close to a main road they desisted, fearing she would run into traffic and be hurt by an oncoming vehicle. They walked home, and as they looked behind them, there she was, wagging her tail at them! They named her Alika.

After she put on some weight they were planning to give her up for adoption, as they always did with their rescues, but Alika was found to have Pyometra and had emergency surgery which went very well. They decided to give her sufficient time to recover, but some time after that, she was discovered to have heart murmurs.

As time sped ahead Alika's rescuer, Sarai, had a baby and the family decided to keep their remaining rescues. That was how Alika and four other pups rescued off the streets became the Garcia family's permanent pets. In what felt like the blink of an eye, that 2 year-old Basset Hound turned 9 years old. She suddenly became ill, and despite many attempts, she did not survive her surgery. What had happened? Can we learn anything from it?

Splenomegaly  refers to the enlargement of the spleen. This medical condition can occur in all breeds and genders. 
Although in many cases it can be asymptomatic, an enlarged spleen may lead to such symptoms as:
Lack of appetite
Abdominal pain
Lethargy and reduced activity
Weakness and even collapse

A variety of things are known to cause an enlarged spleen including an abdominal injury, canine hepatitis, infectious disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infection, cell tumors of the spleen, and other immune disorders. In Alika’s case a large cell tumor had damaged the spleen, causing it to become greatly enlarged.
Upon examination, a prominent spleen or a protruding abdomen can sometimes be noticed. An ultrasound was used to view Alika's spleen and surrounding areas. In addition to imaging, blood work tests were administered.
Although each case is different, in severe cases such as this one, the only option was to surgically remove the spleen. (splenectomy)
Living and Management
Usually, when the spleen is removed dogs will require rehabilitation to heal properly; and activity is restricted.
There are currently no known preventative measures for an enlarged spleen.

Alika leaves behind her the legacy of a genuine survivor from the streets of Tijuana. 
Alika lived seven wonderful years under the loving care of the Garcia family. Although it is true that she was growing older, this disease progressed rapidly. Her rescuer and owner, Sarai Garcia relates, “It all happened so fast. She seemed healthy, as did the other dogs, but one Monday she began to vomit, lost her appetite, appeared weak and slept excessively. I thought she might have a stomachache or maybe an infection. The other dogs were fine, so I wondered… On Tuesday these symptoms were worse, so Wednesday morning we took her to the HSTJ Center where she was admitted. I had heard from a friend about this place, but now I was going to see it for myself. I met Dr. Angel Hernandez and really liked the way he cared for Alika. He always showed consideration for her because she was an older dog. He quickly discovered what was wrong, and over the next few days, as the tumor grew larger, he insisted that we try and remove it.”

Several dogs were brought in by fellow rescuers in case Alika needed a transfusion. Sadly, the tumor had spread, the spleen had ruptured, and Alika did not make it through the surgery. The family was devastated. Sarai continues, “I would definitely return to the HSTJ Center. I am not new to this scene, as I was an animal rescuer for many years before my circumstances changed. I know that everything possible was done in order to help Alika, and I am grateful for that. The vet told me that if we had caught this just one month ago, her possibilities of surviving would have been much better. I want to share her life because I learned so much from it and from her.”

Alika was a very strong dog who had been through so much. She started growing old, and when she faced this, she just couldn’t hold on any longer. Her life teaches us an important lesson: older dogs require frequent checkups and regular tests in order to prolong their health, much as older humans do too. If you are the happy owner of an older dog or cat, please be sure to schedule regular checkups for them. In many cases, when something such as this is caught early, there is enough time to help.