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What’s That Lump on My Dog?

2010 July 29

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!

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