Canine Surgery: Should You Get That Mass Removed?

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There are few things that stop a pet owner's heart as much as finding a lump on their dog. Dogs get lumps. Some of them are under the skin, and some of them are on the surface, but they're all terrifying. Before you commit to a surgery, there are some things you should know.

Some Lumps Are Totally Benign

There are some lumps that dogs get that are benign. Fatty tissue masses are one of them: they can be huge and feel alarming, but they're not malignant at all. Others are cysts that are also benign; they're just fluid-filled sacs. However, it's almost impossible for a layman to guess whether a lump is benign or not.

In fact, not even a vet can diagnose a lump by looking at it. Different types of lumps just look different on different dogs. That means that the next step is going to be a biopsy.

A Biopsy is Often as Complex as a Surgery

People are used to human surgeries. With a human, a small biopsy is usually taken, and then it's tested. If it's cancerous, then a follow-up surgery is scheduled. If it's not, then it's left alone or removed with far less urgency.

Dogs aren't generally like this. With a dog, a biopsy is often just as complex and involved as a surgery. Dogs are smaller than people, which means a greater percentage of their body needs to be removed to excise a biopsy regardless. Further, they need to be put under for most biopsies, so they don't move or hurt themselves. 

Since dogs have to be put under regardless, it's often easier just to do the surgery. Otherwise, the dog may have to be put under twice.

Masses Can Become Dangerous Quickly

A mass on a dog can grow very quickly. If the mass is already growing, it's probably malignant. One of the major signs of a benign mass is that it remains the same size. Further, when a mass is removed, an area of tissue around it has to be removed too. This is usually about two centimeters on each side of the mass. If the mass has grown too much, more of the dog's skin and tissue will have to be removed with it.

In general, if a dog has a mass, the safest route is to get it removed. Even if it's a perfectly benign growth, removing it also removes any worry associated with it. That being said, it can also be expensive. Your veterinarian can explain more about the process and estimate how much it will cost. 

For more information, contact a company like Buck Road Animal Hospital.