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Keeping an eye on your pet

As our pets age it is not uncommon for them to develop lumps in or under the skin, it is important to regularly check your pet over and bring them for a check up if you notice anything new.

Lumps can range from benign lumps such as intradermal cysts and warts to serious tumours such as mast cell tumours and malignant squamous cell carcinomas. The earlier a lump is detected and a diagnosis is reached the better the prognosis. Many lumps look similar in appearance and often we may advise you that we need to perform an aspiration from the lump to obtain a diagnosis. This is a simple procedure and can often be performed during your appointment.

The skin surface is cleaned and sometimes hair removed, a needle is inserted into the lump and directed at different angles to obtain a sample of the cells within the lump, this is then put onto a microscope slide and sent away for analysis. This may be all that is needed to obtain a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan for your pet. Sometimes a surgical biopsy is required, this is performed under a sedation or short anaesthetic and a stitch is placed into the skin after the biopsy is removed, the sample is sent to the lab for analysis.

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Based on the diagnosis of a lump it may be possible to monitor benign lumps for change in size or appearance or it may be advised that more treatment is required. Lumps often need surgical removal, depending on the type of lump this may be a simple procedure or may require other tests such as blood tests, chest x-rays, abdominal ultrasound and local lymph node sampling prior to removal of the lump itself with wide clear margins of normal skin.

The sooner you notice a lump and get it checked out the more likely any treatment required will cure your pet so please don’t hesitate to bring them in if you notice a lump. Contact us today to arrange an appointment.

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