By Nurse Debbie
Lumps are a relatively common finding in pets and there can be numerous different types. It is important to keep a close eye on your pets lumps/swellings and getting them checked by your veterinarian, as an early diagnosis can potentially save your pets life.
Some lumps can look small and insignificant but can still be life threatening if left.
TYPES OF LUMPS –
- Benign – These are harmless growths, which may grow over time, but don’t spread to other organs
- Malignant – These are possibly life threatening growths as they can grow quite rapidly and can spread to other organs, for example, the lungs. In these cases vets will often suggest chest x-rays to check the spread of the cells.
Vets cannot visually diagnose but they often perform an FNA (fine needle aspirate) in which they remove some cells via a needle to send for analysis. This is a less invasive procedure where they can get a quick diagnosis to determine when/if surgery is necessary. Not all lumps are able to be diagnosed via this method, but it is still a good start with most lumps.
Benign lumps may not be as worrying, however, other factors should be considered.
- Size of the lump – does it interfere with your pets movement or generally causing discomfort?
- Is your pet irritated by the lump and continuously licking and chewing at it?
- Is it in an area that keeps getting knocked causing bleeding?
- Is it in an area where it causes ulceration?
Another concern with regards to any lump is even if you can only see a relatively small lump on the surface, how deep does is spread internally and does it interfere with any organs?
This is another compelling reason why your pet needs to see your veterinarian as soon as a lump is found, to allow your vet to diagnose quickly and efficiently. The smaller the lump, the easier it is to remove and the quicker the dogs recovery.
IS MY PET TOO OLD FOR SURGERY?
Lumps can often occur as your pet matures so hopefully the following information will help to answer this question and put your mind at rest.
As with any anaesthetic there is always a risk with any pet and also it is good to be aware with the older pet their recovery can be a little slower, however, we are finding pets are living longer due to better diet and healthcare, therefore, we are regularly performing surgeries on pets of 15years and older.
Firstly we would highly recommend a pre anaesthetic blood test to determine any underlying problems.
We always give your pet a thorough examination on the day of the surgery and our premedication dosage and drugs are carefully selected dependant on the blood test results, bodyweight, age and breed. We also give pain management before the procedure, throughout the surgery via intravenous fluids (these fluids also help maintain organ function) and post surgery.
We also have the luxury of great anaesthetic monitoring equipment which monitors your pets breathing, heart rate, temperature, oxygen levels, cO2 levels and blood pressure as well as a highly trained qualified nurse who is continuously monitoring your pet throughout for a smooth and efficient recovery.
We are also fully aware of how worried you maybe when your loyal friend is in for surgery so we always endeavour to call as soon as he/she is in recovery to put your mind at rest and to organise to get him/her home as soon as possible for some much needed cuddles!