from Allentown, Pa., has a Queensland heeler named Jake.
Jake is 8 years old and in very good condition,
according to Andrea. Recently, he has developed a lump
on the underside of his neck and she has noticed it
getting a bit larger in the last few weeks. Andrea
points out that this lump does not appear painful or to
affect Jake in any way. She wants to know what she
it is important to understand that any lump or mass on
your companion is not normal. These growths arise as a
result of abnormal tissue growth. When these masses are
on the outside of the body, we often either feel or see
them. When masses develop inside the body, we are
ignorant to their existence until they begin to cause
problems. Again, either situation is abnormal.
mentioned that Jake’s mass does not seem to be
bothering him, which brings up an important point:
Masses, especially those on the outside of the body, are
generally not painful or irritating — at least
initially. In fact, most commonly, they in no way bother
the companion. This fact has absolutely nothing to do
with the type of mass or its potential severity. Some of
the most aggressive, potentially fatal cancerous masses
are painless until later stages of their development.
This may be the most important lesson I can share
concerning masses of any kind on your companion.
me share a few other facts about external masses in
dogs. Most of these lumps are benign, meaning they are
not cancerous. The masses that are cancerous can
oftentimes be cured by effective surgical removal.
External masses on dogs generally do not cure
first step when you notice a mass on your companion is
to take him or her to your veterinarian. No veterinarian
can diagnose what type of mass a dog has with 100
percent assurance by merely looking. We have excellent
and simple diagnostic tools to help us determine what we
might be dealing with. One such tool is fine needle
aspiration. With many masses we can introduce a small
needle into a mass, remove some of the cells and examine
them under a microscope. Sometimes this procedure can
reveal whether or not a mass is cancerous (malignant).
is sometimes necessary to remove a mass and have it
biopsied. As I said earlier, removal of even cancerous
masses can be curative, thus allowing surgery to give
both a diagnosis and a cure.
not wait around for a mass to cause problems for your
companion. Once a mass is discovered, have it diagnosed.
It may be just fine to leave it alone, but it is always
important to know that for sure.