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Beagle Bump Blues

May 22, 2010
beagle with lump

beagle with lump

7-Year-Old Beagle Sports Leg Lump

Bailey might be the cutest beagle ever. Short, roly-poly, friendly, and well-loved, Bailey fears nothing and eats everything! But the other day in the vet’s office, she was a little apprehensive.

“When did you notice this lump?” asked Doc Truli.

“Just last night,” said Bailey’s mom. Uh, oh…

If a lump goes from zero to this… one night???! What on Earth is it?

Oval, raised, firm red lump on the forearm of a Beagle

Oval, raised, firm red lump on the forearm of a Beagle

“A lump this size on a leg concerns the veterinarian because this location does not have much extra skin in order to close the defect that a lump removal will leave behind,” says Doc Truli. “Special plastic surgery techniques for dogs must be employed to make a safe, beautiful skin closure.”

Bailey underwent surgery to have the lump removed and tested at the clinical pathology laboratory to find out what cells make up the lump.

The red color and fast-growing nature worry the veterinarian.

Beagle Bump Differentials

Your veterinarian calls a list of likely possible diagnosis, the differentials (not to be confused with the stuff in the car that makes the transmission and the wheels work.)

This bump might be:

hemangiopericytoma (tumor of the pericytes, cells surrounding blood vessels)

hemangioma (tumor of the blood vessel cells themselves)

nerve sheath tumor

other connective tissue tumor

hemangiosarcoma (tumor of the blood vessels that spreads like crazy really fast, but usually does not grow in a neat oval package like this)

Beautiful Beagle Bones

After the lump removal, and the fancy closure pattern to make the skin come together without extra tension to pull at the stitches, Bailey’s leg looked like this:

Beagle forelimb plastic surgery

A nice modified

Bailey’s stitches will heal in about 10 days, give or take 3 days. She will need to wear the Elizabethan collar (the cone) to prevent her from nibbling at the stitches!

Bailey’s bump came back as “histiocytic sarcoma.”

Histiocytic sarcomas can be nasty cancer. If signs of spread are present as abnormal chest radiographs or lumpy organs on ultrasound, that will be bad news for long life for Bailey.

The good news is, a histiocytic sarcoma on the skin and nowhere else has a chance of being an isolated tumor. If it can’t be found anywhere else, then microscopic cancer is unlikely, and Bailey could live a normal life. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

P.S. (May 2010): Check out the “Bumps” tag or these posts to see other “bump” stories:

When a Fat Bump Goes Bad and Cocker Spaniel Belly Lump and Bichon Suffers Bump Under Tail

9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2013 3:37 pm

    An older lady neighbor has a 7 to 8 year old small dog that has similar looking growths on both hind legs. They are not as red, but firm and she says they have grew quite recently, maybe the past month or so.

    She has a bandage on one rear foot because of the location of the growth. She says she was worried it might get wore off and bleed.

    She is a very nice older lady. I believe she must have suffered a stroke in the past because she walks very slowly with a distinct limping and sagging on one side of her body. I think she lives alone and I know this dog must be her best friend in the world. She is poor and would be unable to pay any sort of veterinarian bills.

    I’d hate to see the poor dog suffer, is there any sort of help out there for someone like her and her dog? Or is her best option to just let things run their course and then adopt another dog.

    I barely know the lady, but I wanted to try and find some help for her. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you

    • April 3, 2013 1:19 pm

      Dear Mike,
      Your story about your neighbor brings up a painful but salient point about pet care and payment. I often see dogs like this and I have to decide, as the doctor, should I perform discounted or free services in order to give the dog better quality of life and give the person peace of mind? Especially an elderly person who maybe has only the dog for a friend and who also has lived so many decades only to wind up in that place where they are worried and feel they cannot care for the dog. Plus, as a neighbor, do you offer to pay or to drive her somewhere for help? Is it kind or patronizing?

      First, about my services. I realized years ago that my services are not my own to give as I wish. Many people come to the animal hospital and they say,”the vet would treat my pet for free or for a significant discount if they wanted to.” they have no idea that we hear that every day and a business cannot stay open giving its services away every day! But more than that, the financial health of my nurses and the support team depends on them getting paid a decent age and benefits. If I give away products or services, I am taking from my team. I have a sense of loyalty to those closest to me, and since I am a work-a-holic, it’s my animal hospital team that holds my loyalty first. Also, animal hospitals in the US have, as a national average number, a 10% profit margin. So if I give someone a 10% discount, or if I have them pay with CareCredit (which we pay 10% in credit card fees), we break even. 1% more discount, we lose money out of the pockets of my team. I can’t do that in good conscience. So I stick to relieving pain and suffering and providing life stabilizing care if an animal is brought to me, say, hit by car, by a good Samaritan.

      Then I have the issues (daily) like your neighbor and her dog and the potentially neglected lumps. At what point is it the dog’s fate? Is the dog suffering? Is the human responsible for managing her own tendency toward worrying and mental and emotional suffering? (in other words, is it your responsibility to step in, help the dog, and thereby help the woman have peace of mind?) I often have people come to consult with me when they have only the office visit worth of money. They never had nor intend to have payment for any testing or treatments. Basically, they wish for a doctor to approve their course of inaction, so they can feel best about themselves. Or, in the best scenario, they truly seek advice for home care, even if surgery is the best objective option. I had to come to terms with the idea many years ago that some dogs are not going to get curative surgery. But a veterinarian can still use their skills and advice to help design a home care plan. In serious illnesses, we call this Pawspice care.

      You are insightful and sweet to notice your neighbor and the dog. You will do what you feel you can, and what you feel is right. Life is this big journey and you have a privilege to choose your path, like an experiment, and see what happens. Just own it and go!

      Thank you for the insightful questions,
      -Doc Truli

  2. Jamie Meng permalink
    March 13, 2013 5:35 pm

    I just found a pea sized bump on my Penelope’s back right leg near her ankle. It scared me so I went on a search of what it could be and this is where it brought me. Her bump looks exactly like this one. I’m calling her vet tomorrow!!!!

  3. Emi permalink
    January 26, 2013 1:27 am

    Whoa. That is certainly one huge lump. I’m in a similar situation. I found one like this on my dog’s hind leg (right side), near the ankle. It’s been growing steading from pea size to a bit bigger for a week now. I think I’m gonna have to get it removed soon. But I’m particularly worried because it’s mostly bone there :<

    • January 26, 2013 8:43 am

      Dear Emi,
      Get that lump removed while it is still small! Do not delay! You are right to be concerned about the bony extremities. There’s not a whole bunch of skin there to repair the hole left behind by a lump removal. There are surgical techniques to get the most out of the skin, bit beyond a certain size, it gets tougher or sometimes not possible without a skin graft. Good luck!

      • lisa permalink
        January 8, 2014 8:47 pm

        I have a 9 year old beagle. He started getting lumps a couple of years ago, I was diligent about having them checked by his vet. She tested each one and told me that surgery was an option but unless he gets one in a spot where it is neccessary or he gets a malignant one, then surgery is purely asthetic. Why would I put my senior dog through surgeries I have had surgery and the healing is not easy on a human let alone an animal who cannot understand.

  4. Karin permalink
    June 19, 2012 7:55 pm

    Is Bailey still alive or was it a nasty cancer?

    • June 26, 2012 2:37 pm

      At the end of the story, I put the nasty cancer name: histiocytic sarcoma. so far, there are no signs of it coming back and Bailey feels fabulous.


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