Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Have The Darn Thing Removed When it's Small!

When we see pets for lumps or bumps, we see a wide variety of scenarios. This includes everything from the small tiny itty bitty thing you can hardly see (yet the owners want removed NOW) to huge bleeding masses that "suddenly" appeared (not really.)

But overall, they mostly fall somewhere in between. Most people are reasonable with them. I speak for myself ONLY here - I don't recommend removing every single mass. It depends on a lot of factors - where it is, what I think it is (based on appearance, location, my experience, breed, etc), what it looks look, if it will affect function or in the case of show animals, appearance and finally finances of the owner.

There are just a few cases I almost ALWAYS recommend removal of a growth:

1. Cats - high rate of malignancy period. I don't wait on any cat masses. 

2. Boxers (and some other breeds) with skin masses - high incidence of a malignancy called a Mast Cell Tumor

3. Growths on the toes, legs or ears/face of a dog. Why? Well, even if they are benign, we don't have much tissue to work with here. If they start to grow, they may get to the point that we may not be able to close the tissue.  

The growth below is on an older Golden Retriever (a breed with a high incidence of cancer anyhow.) We saw it mid summer and it was not this large at all. Now that the dog is licking at it and it's oozing on the floor/carpet and oh, probably that it's the holiday season with guests coming, we have it removed. Fortunately I was able to get enough apparently (key word) clean tissue around and under this mass and still close it. 

The pictures show pre op and post op. This is MOST likely a locally invasive malignant growth called a hemangiopericytoma  but we won't know until the pathology report comes back this week.

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