Dog Lumps

Animal: Dog
Breed: Labrador

Pet Symptoms: Hammett has had a lump on the right side of his ribcage for 2-3 months which appeared quite suddenly. We had this tested at our local vet. AFter a few attempts with a needle, and mostly blood being drawn from it, he managed to get a fluid sample and said there was a slight grit-like substance in the fluid after testing. We had this sent away to a lab that confirmed there was nothing suspicious so we were to monitor his health and the size of the lump. In that time he has lost a lot of weight (currently 24kg)but he is still eating (not much) and drinking normally. We had blood tests done which didn’t show anything, and we’re now waiting on the results of a urine test. The lump appears to have gotten bigger, which can be slightly attributed to the weight loss. My main concern is that if we were to go ahead with surgery on the lump he may not be strong enough to survive it or it won’t make any difference anyway. He’s relatively happy and healthy beyond that. Still manages walks that last around an hour, shows no signs of pain or distress when the lump is touched or in general. I am at a loss at to what would be best for Hammett as that’s all I’m concerned about. I know an operation would cost a good bit of money, but I’d rather be sure I’m making the right decision for my dog when all I’m told from vets is ‘it’s up to you’.

Our Advice: It is very difficult to make any conclusions without examination of Hammett and access to his clinical notes. The weight loss might have nothing to do with the lump. Unfortunately needle aspirate is not 100% reliable because the sample is taken with needle and sometime that is not enough for the pathologist to make a diagnosis. Without biopsy of the lump there is no way that someone will tell weather it is malignant or not. Proper wedge biopsy is performed under general anaesthetic. If Hammett will be anaesthetised I would recommend x-ray chest abdomen possibly scan and if there is no secondary tumours full excision of the lump and histology in the lab to determine what kind of tumour we are dealing with and to check if there is tumour free margins.