Cancer in dogs – Vet advice

Skin lumps are one of the most common problems
vets see in dogs. It can be a very worrying time for owners. In the waiting room Michael
has found a lump on six year old Huskey Flash’s leg. He’s hoping it’s nothing too serious. I understand he’s got a little lump on his
leg, hasn’t he? Which leg is it? Whereabouts? Hi, right. Good boy. It’s just down there.
Oh yeah, and how long has it been there for? Probably about six months, it started off
small then but obviously it’s got bigger later, so. Right, okay. And does it bother him at all?
Does he – No. It doesn’t seem to cause any problems. Okay,
that’s fine. If you find a lump on your dog, it doesn’t
necessarily mean cancer. There are a lot of different causes of lumps. It might be something
simple like an abscess or a cyst which can often be drained by your vet or treated just
medically, so it doesn’t even involve any surgery. Right then, so I think this morning he’s going
to stay with us, so we’re just going to probably shave a little bit of fur from over it and
put a little needle in and try and suck some cells out and see exactly what kind of lump
it is. We’ll have a look at it here under our microscope, but if we’re unsure at all
of what it’ll be we’ll send it away to the lab so we can find out for definite. Although tumours are the most common cause
of lumps, two thirds of them are benign and therefore merely cosmetic. But the only way
for Laura to be sure is to take a biopsy. Here we go. Right then, if you just want to
go and I’ll hold him here rather me dragging him away from you, and I’ll give you a call
later on this morning as soon as he’s done. Good boy. You be good. You will be, won’t you? There you go. See
you later. Bye. An hour later Flash is ready for his biopsy.
Because he is a placid dog Laura has decided not to sedate him. Just need to shave a bit of fur from your
leg. Oh dear, shave here so we know what we’re looking at. So what we’re going to do something now is
something called a fine needle aspirate, where we put a little needle into the lump and suck
a few cells out .The reason we do this is because we’re not sure what the lump is. If
it’s something really benign, then we can choose to leave it or we can remove it. Good boy. Then we just draw back a bit on
the syringe and try and suck some cells out. Although slightly uncomfortable for Flash
the procedure is over in a matter of minutes. The sample is then prepared to go off to the
lab for analysis. So, I don’t know if you can tell from there,
but there is a bit of material on there. All that we’ve got out of there at the moment
is just some fat cells so there’s not really any cells to see. So in a way that’s good,
in that it might be a fatty lump. It’s just a bit of an unusual position to have a fatty
lump on a dog, so we’ll just try and take another little sample and see whether we can
get any more. Good boy. Fine, there we go. Right then, if it’s the
same this time and we don’t really get many cells from it, then it’ll be up to the owner
to decide whether he’d like it removing and we can send it away.
So as you can see on this, there are some cells there, there’s a small smear that was
made. So what we’ll do is we’ll send that away to the lab now just so they can try and
identify exactly what it is that this lump is. Right then, he can go back to his kennel.
Good boy, well done. That wasn’t so bad. I’ll send this away to the lab and then we
should have the results back in a couple of days and then we can decide from there what
the next step will be. It doesn’t look much, but under a microscope hopefully there’ll
be enough for them to see. Any lump anywhere on the body, there is always
a chance that it can be some form of tumour. But a tumour doesn’t necessarily mean that
it has to be a bad outcome. Quite commonly in older dogs you get a lot of fatty lumps.
Generally it’s kind of over the main body of the dog, and the ears. Unless they start
growing to a very large size or the dog seems really bothered by them, we generally choose
to leave those alone, because they’re not really going to cause a problem in the long
term. Back in the waiting room Flash’s owner is
desperate for news. Unfortunately Laura can’t confirm anything until the lab results are
back in a couple of days. Because the lump’s so small, it’s quite hard
to get much out of it. So everything that we’ve got we’re just going to send away. And
then I’ll give you a call as soon as we get the results and we can decide what to do next. The needle biopsy results showed up the possibility
of a skin tumour so the lump was later removed and sent off for further tests. Fortunately
for Flash the results showed up nothing suspicious which was a huge relief for his owner Michael.

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