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Dr Chris
Dr Chris, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 870
Experience:  BVetMed MRCVS
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I have a 12 yr old lurcher and I take her to the pdsa vets.

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I have a 12 yr old lurcher and I take her to the pdsa vets. Because she is on painkillers to help with her back legs she is checked every month. About 8 to 9 month a lump developed on her back and it has grown. The vets that she saw said they did not think it was serious, it does not appear to be bothering her and because of her age they did not really want to give her an anaesthetic. Approximately 2 wks ago she saw a different vet who took samples out of the lump, he rang me and said he couldn't find anything in the lump as there was to much blood in the samples. He then said he wanted to see her again to see if there was enough skin to close the wound after he had taken the tumour out! This is the first time a tumour has been mentioned and I am very concerned about this. She seems to be fit and well for her age,walks approx 2 hrs a day and still has the odd run. Your thoughts would really be appreciated as I do not wish to risk losing her in any way
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What sort of animal are we talking about?
Customer: Lurcher bitch
Assistant: This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the bitch?
Customer: No

Hi, Welcome to Just Answer. I'm Chris, a small animal Vet based in the UK. I am reviewing your question and will get back to you as soon as possible

Sorry to hear that you have had this concern with your dog. It sounds like your vet performed a test known as a 'Fine Needle Aspirate' in order to try and determine what the lump is and to see if it needs to be removed. Unfortunately if the lump is quite vascular (has a good blood supply) then blood contamination can make it difficult for the pathologists to gain a diagnosis from the sample. In this situation we have three main options

1.) Repeat the Fine needle aspirate and see if a less contaminated sample can be obtained

2.) Attempt to remove the mass surgically and send it away for histopathology (analysis)

3.) Take a larger biopsy from the mass surgically under anaesthetic and then return at a later date to remove it if necessary

Unfortunately without further information we cannot determine if the mass is benign or malignant, but if removal is likely to be problematic (i.e if there is not much skin to close the wound) then I would suggest doing all we can to determine what the mass may be before resorting to a radical surgery to remove it.

I hope that makes sense?

Please let me know if you need any further help or advice.


Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am concerned in the first instance because I have been told at her age (12) that anaesthetic can be dangerous

Yes indeed there is always some risk, age itself is not necessarily a risk factor but age does bring with it the risk of underlying health problems. A blood test would be advisable to check her liver an kidneys prior to considering any anaesthetic.

Dr Chris and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you that is helpful, my decision is no operation until further tests have been carried out

Yes it may be wise to attempt to repeat the needle aspirate. However bear in mind some tumour types do not shed their cells well and cannot easily be diagnosed that way, meaning a more invasive biopsy is needed.

Thank you for your kind accept of my answer. Please let me know if you have any further questions.