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What’s That Lump on My Dog?

July 29, 2010

Small Lump Turns Into Big Problem

A big, 45 kilo (92 pound) tan Labrador Retriever mix smiled at Doc Truli and wagged her tail.  A smallish, 2 cm (1 inch) round lump covered with tan fur popped up out of the middle of her left front leg.

Annual check-ups can be interesting.  Nothing is routine in veterinary medicine, and Lucinda proved to be just the interesting case of the day your Truli enjoys helping.

“I noticed that lump on her front leg about three months ago.  I know I should’ve brought her in sooner, but I just couldn’t.  Can you check it out?” said Lucinda’s mom.

A stainless steel scalpel blade handle measures the 2 cm rounded leg lump

A stainless steel scalpel blade handle measures the 2 cm rounded leg lump

Testing the Lump

Doc Truli aspirated the lump.  Only dark purple-red blood came into the aspirate syringe.  Any time a lump provides blood in the aspirate, that lump should be removed as soon as possible.  A lump with good blood supply has a chance to travel through the blood easily and lodge anywhere in the body.  It is not normal for cells to grow where they ought not.  This is one basis of cancer.

Lucinda looked strong, healthy, happy.  She did not feel sick at all.  The lump was not growing; it just showed up one day.  Nevertheless, the presence of blood on the aspirate concerned Doc Truli.

“Let’s schedule Lucinda for surgery tomorrow,” Doc Truli said.

[Have you ever wondered what a lump on your dog could look like under the skin?  Of course you have, or else you wouldn’t enjoy reading all the gruesome details VirtuaVet provides!]

Lumpectomy Surgery

Lucinda’s surgery went well.  Here’s the rundown in pictures:

At surgery, the skin turns back and the lump is a purple-red blob adhered to the underside of the skin.

At surgery, the skin turns back and the lump is a purple-red blob adhered to the underside of the skin.

Post lump removal incision on a Labrador Retriever's leg

The incision after the lumpectomy

sutures in the forelimb of a Labrador Retriever mixed breed dog after cutaneous lumpectomy

The pretty suture line will heal in 10-14 days.

The Very Best Result

The pathology report took about 4 days to materialize. The diagnosis was the very best thing a bloody, red lump can be: an Hemangioma.

Hemangiomas are benign tumors formed from renegade blood vessel lining cells. They do not metastasize, so they do not cause disease in the whole body. They stay local and can grow to be very large and intrusive. Once fully removed, they are gone for good. Of course, a dog capable of growing one Hemangioma lump, may grow more,” says Doc Truli.

Lucinda made a full recovery, deep not lick her stitches, and cannot remember anything was wrong in the first place!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bluestar permalink
    May 24, 2012 1:54 pm

    My dog developed 2 lumps very suddenly, one on her lower back in the fleshy area next to her spine, and one on the ribs. The one on her ribs -I swear-came up overnight. It was not there on the Friday, and WAS there on Saturday night! I am always touching, stroking her along her ribs, and playing with her and she is short haired, so I know how quickly it developed. It came up to the size of half a small egg. (the second lump is about 1″ and hasn’t changed one bit since I first saw it 6 weeks ago) In the next 3 days it grew to the size of half a large egg, then stopped. I took her to the vet, worried she might have injured herself. The x ray showed no bone problems, but he did a fine needle aspirate of both lumps. I am waiting for the results, but he seems convinced these are hemangiosarcomas.
    Can a hemangosarcoma lump literally come up overnight??

    • June 3, 2012 10:33 am

      Yes, but so can other types of bumps that are not cancer, like injuries or inflammatory reactions. I’ll be writing a story soon about a massive vaccine reaction that caused a ginormous lump overnight. Keep checking back for it!

  2. Molly permalink
    March 30, 2011 4:36 pm

    How much did it cost for the surgery? My dog has a large lump by his knee and it is getting bigger.


    • March 30, 2011 7:21 pm

      Hi Molly,
      Surgery prices vary considerably. The actual cost of performing the surgery in the US is usually between $6 and $8.50 USD per minute (just for the surgeon’s time). The quality and thoroughness of the care is what will make the surgery price also vary by hundreds of dollars. For instance, if you want top safety, quickest answers, best chances of full recovery, you would want pre-op screening tests like EKG and blood work. During surgery, does the hospital use multi-modal pain control, intravenous fluids for every procedure over 15 minutes? Are you approving a pathology examination of the lump to determine the exact diagnosis? Each of these decisions adds $65-$150 to the cost of the procedure, on top of the anesthesia, surgery, surgical supplies, hospital fees, and nursing fees.

      In the United States, veterinary medical procedures cost 10% of the equivalent procedure performed on a human being. So, if I removed this lump for $600, my physician would be charging $6,000 for a similar procedure (and I’ve experienced this personally.) Veterinarians really do try to offer value for your money.

      If you would like more specific advice about prices and fairness in your case, I offer private consulting, but that’s not free! Starting at $50 for a personal review of your records and situation and 2nd opinion about the pros and cons of your chosen plan of action and advice about any additional options you have that you may not have known about. My clients that travel to see me in person get this service as part of my care for them. For long-distance clients, I cannot be your actual veterinarian. But my long-distance clients gain valuable insight into their pet’s health situation through my unique and thorough point of view. If I could help you with a private consult email: for more information.

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