People will be petting their pet and find a lump or a bump, something that has popped up overnight, they then assume the worse – Its CANCER, sometimes we then avoid finding out more. Either though fear or worry or cost.
During the first week of February (weekdays only) as part of our involvement with WORLD CANCER DAY we are offering a free consultation with Louise or Gemma to get the worrying lumps and bumps checked.
We have all been in your situation and its scary so we hope that we can help put your mind at rest or we can get in early and remove the small swelling which is a sign of a more dangerous disease process – remember larger masses are harder to remove.
Most superficial lumps and bumps are caused by one of the following
1. Puncture Wounds – Often these have resulted from a bite, they fester beneath the skin surface and then eventually break open.
2. Benign Masses – Warts, skin tags, fluid-filled cysts, fatty tumours (lipomas) and histiocytomas are all examples of benign (non-cancerous) masses that may or may not need to be removed depending on size, site and how much the animal is bothered by the mass.
3. Cancerous tumours – These are the scariest of the masses. Sometimes they can be cured with surgical removal but sometimes they have spread to other parts of the body locally or to distant parts of the body.
What you can do at home:
There are some simple suggestions to help at home
1. Assess your pet – if your pet appears unwell or there is a smell or discharge from the lump then we need to see him ASAP as it may be a more urgent situation, than if he is well the lump is not red or hot with no odour.
2. Mark the mass – So many people steal themselves to come to the vet for the bad news but then cannot find the mass when they get into the consult room. Clip some hair from around the area or mark it with tipex or a small amount of nail varnish.
What we will do:
We need to find out the origin or cause of the mass to this this several things may take place.
1. History – We will ask several questions – how long have you noticed the lump? Has it grown quickly? Is the dog/cat bothered by it? How has your pet been otherwise?
2. Perform a physical exam – Sometimes the look and feel of a mass can give us plenty of clues. Examining from head to tail will also give us clues as to any further complications.
3. Fine needle aspirate – We will insert a needle into the mass to try to extract some tell-tale cells that can be looked at under the microscope. These will be looked at in house by our staff and sometimes for a more expert opinion send to the pathologists. Unfortunately this test only tells you what cells are in the area the needle hits so it’s not 100% representative of all the cells in mass.
4. Incisional biopsy –In order to get more cells or a fuller picture of the mass sometimes we will cut a piece away. We do this a number of ways but your pet will need to be sedated or anaesthetised for it. We would do this if the FNA has been non diagnostic and we wanted to remove the mass surgically but were concerned about removing the correct margins.
5. Excisional biopsy – This increases our chances of making a definitive diagnosis, but it means removing the entire lump and then submitting the tissue to the laboratory for full assessment.
Once a diagnosis has been made we can give you the most accurate prognosis and treatment for the type of mass it is.