A few months ago, I noticed a small lump on our dog Arran’s head. It wasn’t rooted to anything, nor did it feel irregular or overly hard. I was still concerned about it, though. When we visited our vet in early May for our other dog, Zane’s, allergy shot, I asked her to take a look at it. At first, she thought maybe it was a tick bite. But I hadn’t seen any ticks on Arran in the spot where the lump was and, being from the South, I have definitely seen my share of ticks.
The next time we brought Zane in for a shot, I had the vet take another look at Arran. She made a note of the lump because then she knew it wasn’t a result of a tick bite. Then she said she’d look again during our next allergy shot visit to determine if we should remove the lump. We went in last Friday and the vet said she thought the lump had gone from lentil size to pea size. I agreed.
So we made an appointment to take the lump off on Tuesday of this week, which also happened to be Bill’s birthday. I was supposed to fast Arran prior to the surgery. Perhaps as a sign of his increasingly senior age, Bill accidentally fed Arran on Tuesday, so we had to postpone the surgery until today. Fortunately, Bill didn’t feed the dogs before he went to work, so I was free to take him in at 8:45 this morning.
The vet felt Arran’s lump and said it felt smaller to her and maybe we didn’t need to do the surgery. On Wednesday of this week, though, it seemed to me to be a little bigger. I have been doing a lot of reading about canine mast cell tumors and was afraid that maybe that’s what we were dealing with. Mast cell tumors can get bigger or smaller within days and they don’t have a particular look to them. Since the lump seemed to be changing, we decided it would be best to just take it out.
I have also lost two dogs to cancer, so I know I fear it more now than I might otherwise. The tumor on Arran’s head was very small, covered with hair, and didn’t seem to bother him; but mast cell tumors can look totally harmless and later turn out to be deadly.
One thing about our vet here in Germany that is different than in the United States is that I am usually encouraged to wait for them to do the surgery if it won’t take too long. In the States, most of the time, you take your pet in early in the morning and pick them up later if they are ready to come home. Our vet doesn’t have boarding accommodations, so it’s best if I am around to look after my dogs. I was also in the room when Arran was anesthetized. I guess that’s for his comfort as he goes to sleep. When I had my dogs’ teeth cleaned, it was the same procedure. I stayed in the waiting room while the work was being done.
The surgery took less than an hour. I asked the vet to trim Arran’s nails because he hates having that done and there have been a couple of times when he’s gotten one hooked in his collar. I could hear the assistant trimming Arran’s nails as the vet came out and showed me the growth she’d removed. It was covered in blood, looked kind of smooth, and was maybe the size of a large capsule. It will be sent to a pathologist who will determine what it is and if any further treatment is needed.
Waiting for Arran to come to… my very first paying job was working for a veterinary hospital. I was having flashbacks of that experience today.
As Arran was waking up, I was encouraged to sit with him, again, likely for his comfort. It took about a half an hour for him to wake up enough to leave the vet’s office. He was wearing a cone of shame that was a little too big for him. The vet gave me a smaller one I could try when we got home. I did put that one on him and it does seem a bit better.
We have antibiotics to start on Sunday, but we don’t have any pain pills. Hopefully, it won’t hurt too much as he’s recovering. We go back on Monday for a recheck. Perhaps then, we will be presented with a bill. Can’t wait for that! 😉
At home, wearing the “cone of shame”…
I hate to put my dogs through surgery, but the last one we lost had cancer that went undetected until it was much too late. I would much rather be safe than sorry when it comes to mysterious growths on my dogs.