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Old 02-06-2013, 11:12 AM
 
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My 9 year old dog has had a hard little lump behind her ear for several months (about half the size of a pea). I had the vet aspirate it, and the results indicated that it is just a sebaceous cyst. However, another vet who examined my dog insists it should be removed because it could be something serious. She was quite dismissive of the needle aspiration results and told me if it were her own dog, she'd want the lump removed immediately.

I check the lump regularly and so far it has not changed size, shape, or firmness. The weird thing is I swear it has moved a tiny bit lower from where I originally found it.

So what would you do if it was your dog? Keep monitoring and have it removed if anything changes? Get a third opinion from another vet? Just go ahead with surgery? Anyone ever have a similar experience with a lump like this? I know one thing.. I'll be pretty upset if I have this thing removed and it really was just basically a pimple..
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:23 PM
 
Location: zone 5
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Did the second vet explain why she didn't believe the results of the needle aspiration? Normally, I'd think 3 opinions is excessive, but when you're talking about a possibility of something totally trivial, or extremely serious, it might be warranted.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:51 PM
 
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Our puppy has a hard little thing like that on her ear flap, a fraction of the size of a pea. We're leaving it alone. Sebaceous cysts are so common, especially in older dogs. If it isn't growing, I'd leave it alone and watch it. Remember, in order to remove it, your dog will probably need general anesthesia, something you prefer to avoid, especially in an older dog.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by subject2change View Post
Did the second vet explain why she didn't believe the results of the needle aspiration? Normally, I'd think 3 opinions is excessive, but when you're talking about a possibility of something totally trivial, or extremely serious, it might be warranted.
She felt unless every last cell was pulled out of the lump there was no way to know for sure what was really in there. In other words, just because the needle aspiration only pulled out harmless stuff doesn't mean there isn't bad stuff in there, it just means the needle didn't get it. When I ran this by the vet who did the needle aspiration he acted like it was the strangest thing he ever heard.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
Remember, in order to remove it, your dog will probably need general anesthesia, something you prefer to avoid, especially in an older dog.
And that is precisely my hesitation in having it removed. Obviously if it is life threatening I want it gone, but if it really is just a sebaceous cyst that would be awful to put her under for no reason.

Does anyone know if checking the lump with needle aspiration repeatedly can cause problems? I'd feel more convinced if multiple smears all had the same results..
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:07 PM
 
Location: zone 5
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I'm really not understanding the second vet's point of view. They do needle biopsies on humans and those are accepted as conclusive. I've never had a money hungry vet, and I don't like to think that about anyone, but it does cross my mind here. OTOH, now that she put it out there, I'd be worried that if I ignored it and it wasn't benign, I'd beat myself up forever. So if it was me, I might do the third opinion.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:33 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
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Why did you have the dog evaluated by the second vet - was it because of this little place or something else? Is it possible it is a piece of foreign material that got under the skin and has built up some scar tissue around it? How deep under the skin is it?

I panic over lumps after losing so many Rotties to cancer. My vet has to talk me down off the ledge every so often when I find an unidentified area on one of my crew. I trust his opinion implicitly, which is not to say I wouldn't overrule him and see someone else if I wasn't comfortable with his diagnosis :-) Is your dog's breed one that is prone to cancers?

I'm with Subject2change - a human needle biopsy is pretty conclusive unless they miss the spot they are trying to aspirate completely. I'd be inclined to watch it some more, although sebaceous cysts can grow as well. And are really, really yucky but not dangerous.

I guess it comes down to the faith you have in the two vets. From your description it sounds like the second vet was being a wee bit dramatic.

With an older dog, I'm just always cautious about anesthesia. I'd want to know how long it will take to excise this thing and consider the general overall health of my pet. I'm sure the first vet, if that's the one you trust, would be willing to remove it even if he thinks you're being a nervous Nellie. If it's a quick fix it may be best to have it removed and put your mind at rest - if it's deep and will require a lot more anesthesia and time, I'm not sure I'd rush in.

Well. There you have it. That is absolutely no advice at all, really, is it? LOL! Go with your gut, K9, that's the best advice I have.

Last edited by Sam I Am; 02-07-2013 at 08:50 AM..
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:56 AM
 
Location: US
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You should get the surgury now to be safe, especially since it's small. One of our dogs a long time ago had a small one on his back leg. The vet said it could potentially be a problem in the future, but there is no need to remove it now. Maybe one or two years later, it was almost overnight, the thing grew much larger and became cancer. The vet said the leg would need to be amputated, but the cancer may have spread already. We got it done, but the cancer already spread and after very disturbing outbreaks of all sorts of ____ we put him out of his misery. It was shocking how fast things can change.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
Our puppy has a hard little thing like that on her ear flap, a fraction of the size of a pea. We're leaving it alone. Sebaceous cysts are so common, especially in older dogs. If it isn't growing, I'd leave it alone and watch it. Remember, in order to remove it, your dog will probably need general anesthesia, something you prefer to avoid, especially in an older dog.
Agreed......we have stopped having Angel's lumps and bumps removed unless they appear to bothering her.

Angel is a 13 year old lab (s) in good health.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Alaska
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Our vet said that it would likely return after draining it and the only way to get rid of it would be to remove it completely under general anesthesia. I had it drained because of my wife's and one son's concern and the cyst filled back up. Our vet said if our GR ever goes in for some other surgery, that would be the time to remove it.
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