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Dr. Maggie
Dr. Maggie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Small Animal Veterinarian, General Practitioner
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My 11 year old Chihuahua has a (at present - small) tumour

Resolved Question:

My 11 year old Chihuahua has a (at present - small) tumour on her inside thigh. Biopsy showed it is a 'metastatin tumour' (think that's correct) and, as I understand it, could be quick growing. I've been advised that she should have surgery to remove it. She is booked in for this Wednesday. However, I am very concerned that surgery is the right thing for her. Her bloods show a high liver count of 75. This means, apparently, that she will need to be on a drip. My vet said she doesn't know what is causing the high count...it could be a tumour on her liver it could be anything. As far as the dog is concerned, she is absolutely fine...eating well, no weight loss, not drinking water, no diarrhoea...all as she normally is.
I am concerned (after reading countless reports on the internet...fatal I know!) that surgery could a) make it worse and spread and the vet said it could spread after surgery b) if there is a tumour on the liver what would be the point in putting her through this?
A friend has said I should get a second opinion but this looks as though I have no faith in my vet. This is not necessarily true but I have fairly recently moved
here so I don't know these vets all that well. I am at a loss.
Thank you for your reply
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Maggie replied 2 years ago.
Hi, this is Dr. Maggie - I am a licensed veterinarian and I am going to try to answer your question today.

Thank you for your question today. I am going to assume that the biopsy report said that the tumor was metastatic... meaning that it was a type of tumor that has a high probability of spreading to elsewhere in the body.

When you have a metastatic tumor, places that tumors like to spread to first are the 3 L's... the lungs, the liver, and the lymph nodes.

If your vet has not checked regional lymph nodes via a biopsy or needle aspirate to see if there are cancerous cells in the regional lymph nodes (such as the inguinal lymph nodes), that would be a good idea.

If the cancer has spread to those lymph nodes, it is a little more dire of a situation.

Also, if chest x-rays have not yet been taken to check for nodules in the lungs, that would be a good idea as well. Nodules in the lungs indicate that the cancerous cells have already spread to the lungs.

Personally, I would not recommend surgery without knowing the status of the lungs. The elevation in liver values may be due to metastasis in the liver, so that is a little telling as well. One way to check the liver is via an ultrasound guided biopsy... so you can discuss this with your vet as well.

So in short, I would discuss some additional testing with your vet prior to surgery as you are correct... removal of a tumor will result in no long-term benefit if it has already spread. So checking for metastatic sites (places it may have seeded already) is important pre-operatively.

Hopefully that answered your question today. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

If you found this information helpful, please rate my response positively.

Thanks and best of luck with Gilly!
Dr. Maggie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 866
Experience: Small Animal Veterinarian, General Practitioner
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