How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask DrJessicaO Your Own Question
DrJessicaO, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1062
Experience:  7 years of private practice with dogs, cats, exotics, pocket pets, etc
Type Your Dog Question Here...
DrJessicaO is online now

We have a 10 year old Patterdale terrier who is currently at

Customer Question

We have a 10 year old Patterdale terrier who is currently at the Vets with a mass under his tongue. The Vet is treating him with Steroids and Antibiotics. The condition has only happened over the last few days. She is now afraid that if she leaves it overnight he may choke. He is so alert but she says his condition is serious.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 2 years ago.
Hi there,
My name is***** and I would like to try to help answer your question. First let me say, I am so very sorry that you are in this situation. Can you please tell me if your veterinarian has performed any other diagnostics to help determine what tumor type this is (for example a fine needle aspirate and cytology or biopsy)? Also has your veterinarian performed chest xrays to stage his disease? Is Charlie just on the 2 medications at this time, or has anything else been attempted? Lastly, has referral to an oncology specialist been discussed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The Vet says that the mass is under his tongue and as such it would be dangerous for her to operate there.

She has tried to draw any puss in case it was an infection but none was present.

She is afraid that leaving him any longer i.e. overnight he may choke.

Is there anything more she can be doing locally?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
I tried to respond to the Vets questions
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 2 years ago.
Ok thank you for the information. I apologize for the delay in writing back, but I had a lenghty response. :)
The first thing that I would suggest is to have a fine needle aspirate and cytology performed. This does not require anesthesia and is just obtaining a few cells from the mass to examine under a microscope. Your local vet should be able to do this. It is critical to find out what type of mass this is, as there are many different types of disease that can be found in this area. Based on how quickly this tumor presented, my guess is it is likely either a neoplasm (cancer) or an infection. Typically infectious abscesses don't continue to grow, however, so if it is increasing in size, cancer is more likely (especially because you discussed how pus was not found on aspiration). If it is truly cancer, the specific type of cancer is important. We can see some cancers that will respond quickly and completely to high doses of steroids (mast cell tumors and lymphoma)- if one of these two tumors are confirmed, perhaps increasing his steroid dose will help the mass shrink. For instance, a 1 mg per 1 pound dose of steroids is often needed for lymphoma to achieve a response. There are also oral medications such as a drug called Palladia that can help shrink certain types of tumors such as mast cell tumors.
There are other types of tumors, however, that do NOT respond to steroids in which case surgery may be the only option to debulk it. I understand this is a risky procedure but may be our only option in helping to palliate him (control his clinical signs). Another consideration to reduce the size of tumors is radiation therapy, although this requires a specialty clinic. Lastly if an infection is confirmed, more aggressive antibiotics may be recommend OR a different combination of antibiotics.
Secondly, I would suggest having chest xrays performed if they haven't already been. This will help determine if this is cancer, and if so, has it started to spread.
In terms of the medications themselves- it is likely that your veterinarian is on the right track, again however, without having an exact diagnosis it is impossible to say.
Occassionally a temporary feeding tube can be considered so he can continue to receive the nutrition that he needs without needing to swallow medications (which could be risky to him and cause aspiration).
I hope this information helps. Please let me know if you have any other quesitons at all.
-Dr. Jessica