We do find that certain problems seem to come in twos. We may go for weeks without seeing a fracture and then boom! Two in one day. Last week was lump and bump week, and I hope this blog will help clarify why it is SO important not to ignore or play “wait and see” with any growths that may appear in your dogs or cats. Generally speaking we will see more problems in dogs, and the majority of them will not be of any concern. But, as always, the moral is, check it out first.
The first case we will look at was a 6 year old cat, with very vigilant owners, who have never missed any scheduled exams and are wonderful fur -parents. About three weeks previously, they had noticed small lumps on the left side of the lower thorax. They elected to have these removed and sent to histopath after the doctors recommendations. After shaving and prepping the area for surgery, it became apparent that there were more very small lumps, barely palpable lower down in the mammary chain. At this point, it no longer became a simple lump removal but a decision to act aggressively and do a full one side mastectomy. There were no apparent changes on the right side of the body. The surgery was completed successfully and the cat recovered quickly and smoothly . Histopath results showed feline mammary carcinoma or breast cancer . Due to the highly aggressive form of this cancer, the owners have elected to have further preventative surgery on the right side of the body.
In the second case
, a wonderful elderly rescue Bulldog, that was adopted, had had a small persistent lump on the breast, as well as assorted others, that had been monitored for some months. Cytology did not show anything to be overly concerned about. Then, suddenly, the largest lump grew and the owner elected to do surgery, despite the risk of anesthesia this particular patient was faced with. The surgery went very well, and with the extra precautions that we use for Bulldogs, including EKG bloodwork and very close monitoring, the dog did much better than expected and woke up ready to go home. A very large area of flesh had been excised by Dr Greer. This would prove a challenge from the healing point of view, but this had been anticipated, and wound care and cold laser therapy helped tremendously. Again, and as is always recommended, a sample was sent to histopath. Despite the tissue involved ( mammary tissue) the result actually showed osteosarcoma….bone cancer cells. This is very rare, and did not make for a good prognosis. Research shows an average lifespan after this diagnosis of mere months. However, this brave bully has apparently decided to ignore the diagnosis and just carry on with life. The owner reported today that she is doing better than ever, her appetite and zest for life is as good as always. As there is no successful treatment for this, we opted for specific frequency low level laser therapy. Certainly, the owner and pet are happy and we continue to wish the best for them and will keep you updated.
Case number three, was a perky 1 year old beagle that had a small pea –sized pigmented,dermal mass on the chest. Pigmented masses are always suspicious of cancerous growths such as melanomas, which can be fatal. In this case we were happy to let the owner know that the mass showed it to be completely excised, and a benign tumor known as a hemangioma. The area will be closely monitored for any changes.
In all these cases, two with serious potentially life threatening conditions, and one that was benign, the owners had caught the problem early. The lesson to be learned is when you are caressing your pet and notice something that wasn’t there before always get it examined. We have seen cases spread rapidly and dramatically from one small lump on the foot to the pet needing a leg amputation to save its life. When a growth is found and is reported as cancer we will then always follow up with X rays and ultrasound of the body to see if the cancer has metastasized into the internal organs. Treated early your pet may be cured completely or have a longer life span. And that’s what we all want for our best friends.