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nekovet, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 13 year old westie x has a lump on her spine, doesn.t seem

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my 13 year old westie x has a lump on her spine, doesn.t seem to hurt her but has stopped her from walking very far, and she sits down when ever she can, she also is off her food and bringing up bile, and suggestions please.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian & I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long has she had the lump?
Is it mobile and part of the skin? Or does it feel deeper or attached to the spine?
How long has she been vomiting and off food?
Is she drinking? Can she keep water down?
Are her gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?
If you press on her belly, does she have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?
Could she have eaten anything she should not have (ie bones, stones, socks, toys, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?
Any diarrhea?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Dr.B. Poppy has had the lump for about 2 weeks, it is quite hard and feels attached to her spine, its about 1" across, she has been off her food for about 4 or 5 days now and has vomited at least 3 times, always bile. She is drinking ok and seems to keep water down ok. her gums look fairly normal (comparing with my other dog ) not particularly moist or sticky. She doesn't have pain when I press her tummy, just looks very sad. No diarrhea. I don't think she could have eaten anything she shouldn't. I hope this helps with a diagnosis. I wouldn't want Poppy operated on as she is an old lady.
Thank you,
First, I would note that if this lump is hard and been present for a while, then its not likely what is putting Poppy off her food. Especially as her vomiting tells us that we have nausea present. Instead, it is likely a mass associated with either the spine, muscle, or nerve tissue in that area. These can be sore, but if she isn't showing that, then this may be something we just need to monitor (+/- have her vet sample for analysis) at this point. Especially since surgery isn't something you are keen to have her undergo and her nausea signs are a more pressing issue just now.
That aside, if we have vomiting, nausea, and appetite loss; this does raise some other concerns. Common causes we need to consider include bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, parasites/protozoa infections, general dietary indiscretions, organ issues (ie kidney, liver), metabolic disease, and ingestion of harmful items (less likely for Poppy).
With this all in mind, as long as she can keep water down, we can try some home supportive care to try to settle her stomach. To start, if she hasn’t just vomited (since otherwise we’d need to rest her stomach for a few hours first), then you can consider treating her with an antacid. Common OTC pet safe options would be Zantac (More Info/Dose @ or Omeprazole (More Info/Dose @ Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if she has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
If she can keep that down and settles, we can then try her with small meals of an easily digestible diet. Specifically, we could try Poppy with cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion free). There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise continuing this until the signs are settled, and then weaning her slowly back to her normal diet.
Since dehydration is a risk for dogs showing these signs, we'd need to keep an eye on her hydration. To check that she isn't dehydrated, there are a few things you can test. Further to checking for gum moisture, do make sure she doesn’t have sunken eyes and that she doesn’t have a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a good video HERE ( If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then that would be our cue to have her seen before this becomes an additional issue for her (especially as it is often dehydration that makes them feel unwell).
Overall, the mass is a concern but it doesn't sound to be what is causing her more pressing signs at this stage. So, having it sampled to know what it is would be ideal, but isn't the urgent issue we need to focus on just now. Instead, we need to address that nausea for her to stop the vomiting of bile and get her eating again. So, we'd want to consider the above just now. Though if you do try these but she isn't settling for us, then we'd want to consider getting her vet involved. They can assess her hydration, rule out fever, make sure there is nothing in her stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. As well, with her age, a geriatric blood test would be ideal to make sure her organs are working as they should. Depending on their findings, her vet can treat her with injectable anti-vomiting medication +/- antibiotics to settle her stomach, and get her back feeling like herself. And again while the mass bothers us, as long as its not ulcerating the skin, making her sore, or found to be anything nasty; we'd just keep an eye on that at her age.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you! : )
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Dr B, Thank you for your advice regarding Poppy, I have given her Zantac with water but after 30 minutes she brought it up and is now looking very sorry for herself. Ive tried feeding her with chicken but she's not interested. I'll see what tomorrow brings. Thanks again.
You are very welcome,
If she cannot keep that down, then I do think a check with her vet tonight or first thing tomorrow would be best. That way they can use injectable anti-nausea medication to settle that nausea and give us a chance to get her back to eating properly for us.
All the best,
Dr. B.
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you! : )
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