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5/6yr Male Alaskan Malamute w/lump on his side Get it removed? Get another opinion?

AlinaLynne
July 14th, 2009, 02:17 PM
My male Alaskan Malamute is about 5/6 yrs. old. He has had a lump about silver dollar size on his side for about 3 years or so. It has never seemed to hurt or bother him. It started out a little smaller then it is now and there isnt anymore on his body anywhere. It seemed to appear after he had gained some weight. He weighs 91 lbs. I touch it all the time because I am always petting him & he never whines or yipes or anything. We have kept an eye on it but we thought it was probably just fatty tissue. This was suggested to us when we first discovered it by friends of ours who have alot more experience with animals then we do.

Two days ago my stepson combed him with a pet wire comb & yesterday I noticed that he was licking that lump alot. Now it is really red, swollen, & wet from him licking it. It never was like this until yesterday. Maybe my stepson irritated it with the comb? Well I freaked out so I took him to the vet. Prince has never really had any illnesses or injuries so he hasnt been to the vet very much at all (knock on wood). So my first reaction was to take him right away. It made me feel a little better that Prince was jumping up & down and all excited like usual when I grabbed his leash.

Anyways, the vet said that it wasnít fatty tissue & that it was a tumor. Just by looking at it & touching it. I asked if they were going to take xrays and he pretty much said he could but that he didnt really need to. He said he is pretty young for it to be malignant but he could only be sure if he sent a sample to the lab for testing. Itís going to be about $575-$600 to remove it which he said he was giving me a deal because Im currently unemployed. I was going to go ahead & have him remove it but skip the lab testing. Which would have been done today. Except after I got home & I wasnt freaking out anymore I started thinking about it all. I thought to myself, "If it were me I wouldnt just let them do surgery on me without getting a second opinion on the diagnosis." I've heard to many horror stories of people & animals getting worse & dying because they had the surgery.

To be completely honest I got sort of an unsure feeling from the vet. Like I said Prince hasn't been to the vet much and my fiance has taken him for his shots. The vet's assistant did mention to me that there was no rush if I needed time to make a decision on what I wanted them to do. So if I was understanding & that Im not sure of. It wasnt life threatening at the moment but it could be if not treated. Prince is not in pain and the only time he seems to be in discomfort is when he is licking it which isnt continuous.

Now at this point I am making phone calls to other vets in my area for estimates and possible appointment times. Ive been researching online to try and gain a little bit more knowledge about vets, pet injuries, & symptons. Which is how I found this website. Thinking maybe someone has gone through something similar & maybe could suggest things for me to look into or ask the vet. Money is extremely tight although more often its non existent. But if surgery is the only way to keep this from becoming a bigger problem in the future then I won't steal but I will beg and borrow if I have to. In the meantime should I keep him from licking it? Or is licking it healing it like some say? Is it ok to give him a bath?

I'm sorry for the lengthy post but I figured too much detail was better then not enough if I was asking for people to give me suggestions and advice on the situation. I tried to break it up a little to make it easier on the eyes. This is my first post besides introducing myself so if the length is an issue please let me know. Thank you for taking the time to read this I really appreciate it.

hazelrunpack
July 14th, 2009, 03:07 PM
First of all, I'd discourage the licking as much as possible. Although there are useful components in a dog's saliva, dogs do tend to often overdo the licking--it'll just keep the area irritated and maybe lead to infection.

Did the vet do any testing on the lump at all? Sometimes they can do a needle aspiration and get enough cells to tell if a lump is malignant or benign. Even a benign lipoma is classified as a tumor--just not a malignant one. That being said, even if it turns out to be a lipoma, if it's getting irritated to the point Prince is always trying to lick it, it's time to have it removed. And if it turns out to be some slow-growing cancer you'd still want to have it removed.

Doesn't hurt to call around for a second opinion, that's for sure! Maybe ask how much an aspiration would cost, too, if they think that's a possibility. If they can classify it as benign and you can get it to heal up, it wouldn't need to be removed unless it grows or starts to bother him at a later date...

Meanwhile, if you can even put away $5 a week in a fund, it would certainly help to offset any future vet bills you might have.

:goodvibes: for an easy 'fix' and please keep us posted on Prince's progress!

Dog Dancer
July 15th, 2009, 11:40 AM
I don't know how well you know or trust the vet you went to. I would trust my regular vet's opinion, even though I don't go there lots and lots. When I go I know he's reliable. But that said, if you feel better about it then by all means get a second opinion, of course it just adds to you costs. To try to put your mind at ease I did have some lumps removed from my lab last year and she went through the surgery wonderfully (she was 7 at the time). So trust your instincts, I think Hazel gave you some good advice though about asking about an aspiration to give you a better insight of what you are dealing with to determine the urgency. Good luck to you and Prince.

AlinaLynne
July 15th, 2009, 05:31 PM
Thank you both for your comments and suggestions. The vet did not take any tests or samples and I didnt know about an aspiration so I will ask about that for sure. I don't trust this vet and that is my gut instinct so I will get a second opinion. Both of you made me feel alot better so thank you thank you thank you I really appreciate it and I will keep you posted.