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Cas the Arctic fox has another surgery due to cancer in his right back leg. Jessi explains what's happened and then Cas gets out on walk to show off his new moves.

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Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  I'm Jessi and I'd like to give you an update on our arctic fox, Cas.  Cas is eight years old and he's lived at Animal Wonders with his best friend Serafina the red fox for most his life.  The two foxes have lived comfortably together and enjoy walks in the forest and meadow and traveling to schools to educate about foxes in the wild and to share their own personal stories.  

Cas has been an amazing animal ambassador, showing off his gorgeous white fur coat and wowing audiences.  When he was younger, Cas was challenging to work with because he did not like interacting with humans, except during training sessions.  In the last two years, he's calmed down quite a lot and he's actually come over to receive pets on his back, though for very short session.

In February 2019, we found a large tumor on Cas' back right leg.  The tumor was so large, it needed to be surgically removed, which our fantastic vet, Dr. Shoni Card, was able to do.  Cas recovered well, but it was very stressful for him to wear a cone and be separated from his best friend for the recovery period of two weeks.  We hoped we wouldn't have to put him through surgery ever again.

When the lab results came back, we discovered the tumor was carcinoma, a kind of cancer that originates in the skin.  This type of carcinoma is well known to grow back even after the original tumor is removed.  Since we had already removed the tumor, all we could do was wait and hope that it didn't come back or if it did come back, it would take a long time to grow.

Unfortunately, only three months later, Cas had another tumor the size of half a ping pong ball on the same leg, and it doubled in size in only ten days, making Cas uncomfortable enough that he was limping.  In order to prevent the further spread of the aggressively growing tumor, Cas needed immediate medical intervention and there were very few options we had to choose from.

Chemotherapy does not affect this kind of cancer and removing the tumor would only result in it growing back again.  Radiation therapy might work, but it would likely just slow the growth of the tumor and result in him having several, if not many, more surgeries in his life.  The last option was to remove his leg completely, resulting in a 90% chance of elimination.

After talking it over with our vet and thinking about it for days, we made the decision to remove his right leg.  While this seems drastic, we feel like this is the best chance he has at living the rest of his years of life in the least amount of discomfort and stress.  There's little chance he'll need to go through surgery again and once he's fully recovered, he should be able to get around pretty well on three legs.

So while it can be hard to see Cas down and out like this, caring for animals when they're sick is part of the job.  So Cas is in his recovery enclosure right now, separated from Serafina and both of them are not very happy about it, but he needs to be in here while he's healing because there's no dirt and it's easy to clean.  

It's only been two weeks since the amputation so all I'm looking for is for him to get up and move and practice a little every day.  Right now, Cas is still building strength in his left back leg and learning how manage his balance.  He might feel just like laying down most of the day, which wouldn't be good for him, so let's get him on a short walk outside.

Alright, so the first thing I need to do is get the cone off so it's easier for him to move naturally.  There you go, buddy, let's go.  

We're all very excited to get this cone off for good and to get him back with Serafina.  Every night this week, Serafina has been vocalizing a contact call.  She's never done that before and I'm fairly certain she's looking for Cas.  So later today, Cas is due to get his stitches out and hopefully, he can get out of the cone and be back in his home with his best friend, and I'll see if I can get some footage of Cas going home and share it with you.

Serafina is very, very excited for this.  So--and Cas is also ready to go.  Let's go ahead and let Cas come on out.  Hey buddy.  We're gonna get you close.  We're gonna get you reunited, okay?  Watch out, Sera.  Oh, here he comes, here he comes.  There he is.  There you go, buddy.  Get on in!

Getting to care for Cas and sharing him with audiences both local and around the world through this channel has been a highlight of my career working with animals.  As Cas ages, we're dedicated to providing him the best medical support we can offer to help him live his life in comfort.

Every animal at Animal Wonders has their own story.  We never know what the future holds.  We're just kind of along for the ride, helping where and when we can. 

Dealing with Cas' cancer and leg amputation has me learning about and delving back into animal anatomy and how bones, muscles, and organs work, which led me to a video called "Secrets of Bones", where I found myself fascinated by something I never knew I'd be fascinated by, and you can watch it, too, on CuriosityStream, who was the sponsor of today's video.  They're a subscription streaming service that offers over 2,400 documentaries and non-fiction titles from some of the world's best filmmakers, including exclusive originals.  Get unlimited access starting at just $2.99 a month and for our audience, the first 30 days are completely free if you signed up at and used the promo code 'animalwonders' during the sign-up process.

Thank you for letting me update you on Cas' story.  Please send him all your good vibes and well-wishes for a speedy recovery and many more healthy and happy years ahead, and if you want to keep learning about Animal Wonders, don't forget to subscribe to AnimalWondersMontana, and I'll see you next week.