Soon after Spike's new owners collected him, they found a pea sized lump on his leg and brought him in to see us for a check-up. Our vet took a needle sample from the lump to send to a pathology lab for analysis. The results of the test confirmed the lump on Spikes leg as an aggressive tumour.
The recommended treatment for a tumour like this is surgery to remove the lump plus 5 centimetres of healthy tissue completely surrounding the mass. As the lump was located on Spikes foreleg, it meant muscles, blood vessels and nerves on his leg would need to be removed. For this reason, Spike was referred to a specialist veterinary surgeon for the operation.
Fortunately, Spike recovered well from his surgery and is now able to use his leg well,
Take Home Message
You should always have any lump you find on your pet checked by the vet. The most common lump found on dogs, particularly older ones, are benign fat deposits called lipomas. These are usually not a problem for a dog, however there are many possible tumours that can develop on cats and dogs that are much more serious. Often the best way to determine whether the lump is benign or a malignant tumour is to have a biopsy taken under general anaesthetic.
If the lump is malignant, it may need to be surgically removed with a wide margin of tissue surrounding it. This is so we are sure all the cancerous cells have been removed.
Tumours most commonly occur in older animals, but as was seen with Spike, they will occasionally occur in young animals also.