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Old 07-01-2009, 08:40 PM
 
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I have 7.5 year old Siberian Husky. Bandit is epileptic, and he is currently on Phenobarbital twice per day. (His dose was lowered to now-current levels a couple months ago when we went for his checkup.) He's also had some issues with nasal mites, which seem to be mostly controlled by his monthly application of Advantage Multi, which is a topical heartworm/flea/tick combo. He's been on that for about 4 months now, and for the four months before that (until we landed on the Advantage Multi as a treatment), he got his heartworm preventative in the form of monthly Ivermectin shots at the vet.

He weighs about 73 pounds and is trim, but not skinny. He definitely doesn't need to lose any weight though. Or gain any!

Normal demeanor is good-natured, calm, confident -- no anxiety, depression, lethargy, clinginess, etc. His appetite for food and water is normal. Ability to hold his bladder is normal. Energy level is normal (for him...he's a naturally low-key dog).

Recently I have been thinking that his fur was feeling unusually dry and that he was shedding more in his non-shedding seasons than he should be. This past weekend I bought an omega-oil combo (3-6-9) that's marketed for humans and I've been adding a 1/2 teaspoon to his morning and evening kibble. He's only been on it for a few days, so too early to tell if it's having a positive effect. His dog food is a venison-and-potato kibble, which I soften with warm water. He eats about 1.25 cups twice per day, which has been his normal amount for all of his adult life. When/if he gets "human" food, it's usually only fruits and veg -- apples (no seeds), carrots, green beans.

Tonight I was brushing him and discovered a lump on his side. He was lying on his left side, and I was brushing his right side. The lump feels large (not quite the size of a tennis ball) and flattish -- it's not an obvious protuberance. It seems to be located about 3 or 4 inches back from his armpit. I pushed on it and watched his face and he didn't seem to react at all, but at the same time, he has always -- ever since he was a little dog -- not liked for me to pat him on his right side. Since I'd never noticed the lump before, I didn't think much of it.

So... My long post (sorry!) brings me to this question: Given the fact that he appears to be 100% normal in all other respects, at what point would YOU, as a loving dog owner, get concerned? Obviously a trip to the vet could be warranted, if only for my own peace of mind, and if he were dispaying ANY symptoms of sickness or abnormal behavior, I'd be there in a flash. But there's another part of me that thinks I should just hang back and wait...keep an eye on him and be prepared to act if things change...maybe make an appointment for two or three months (which is when he's due for his next Phenobarb-levels check). He has not given ANY indication that he is unwell. He acts perfectly normal with respect to appetite, mood, energy, bowel habits, and he's not "favoring" the mystery lump. I know that sometimes, older dogs get mysterious lumps and bumps as just a normal part of their aging process, and often these are completely benign and harmless.

Last edited by Niftybergin; 07-01-2009 at 08:50 PM..
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Denver 'burbs
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I would have his thyroid checked. Epilepsy and thyroid issues often go hand in hand...Don't know if that would explain the lump but it definitely would explain the dry coat. If you are already giving Pheno, the thyroid meds can be given at the same time and aren't expensive....
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maciesmom View Post
I would have his thyroid checked. Epilepsy and thyroid issues often go hand in hand...Don't know if that would explain the lump but it definitely would explain the dry coat. If you are already giving Pheno, the thyroid meds can be given at the same time and aren't expensive....
I'll mention it to his vet, Maciesmom. Thanks for the suggestion! I did have his Thyroid levels checked -- the full, comprehensive panel of six or so tests that cost me about $250! -- about 2 years ago, but that was before he went on Phenobarb. (He's been on the Phenobarb for about 19 months, with EXCELLENT control of his seizures. Yay!)

I wonder if they do the basic thyroid level test when they test his Phenobarb levels? Hmmm... I'm pretty certain that they test his liver functions (enzymes) at that time because Phenobarb is so notoriously hard on the liver.

If this were you and your dog, given everything I described in my original post, would you rush right out immediately, do you think? Or would you just plan to tack it on to his next regular checkup (which will be in October), but of course be ready to act immediately if anything changed?
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
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Any abnormal lump should be checked. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Denver 'burbs
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If it weren't for the lump, I'd probably wait...The lump is concerning though....Glad to hear the Phenobarb is working for Bandit. Epilepsy can be a heartbreaker. BTDT.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maciesmom View Post
If it weren't for the lump, I'd probably wait...The lump is concerning though....Glad to hear the Phenobarb is working for Bandit. Epilepsy can be a heartbreaker. BTDT.
Oh...God gives me all the epileptic dogs. *she says wryly* I'm pretty certain that's his assignment for me here on earth. Of the 10 dogs my family (parents, self, brother) have had, 6 have been epileptic -- all were purebred -- and 1 had occasional (but non-epileptic) seizures. So I'm kind of a pro. Not that it's not heartbreaking, of course. We lost my dog's brother to his epilepsy 2 years ago. He clustered and couldn't come out of it, and by the time my brother got him to the vet, Bodie's core temperature was 116 degrees. He was euthanized on the table.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Denver 'burbs
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Bless you. We had an epileptic Golden - we had her on Phenobarb and Potassium Bromide and we kept Diazipam on hand. After 3 years of trying to get her seizures under control (she was a cluster girl too) and they just kept getting worse and more frequent - I feared exactly what happened to your dog's brother. So we euthanized her rather than have her go through that. It was so difficult for everyone. We never did have any consistent results no matter what meds we tried so it is good to hear a success story!
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Marion, IN
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If it were my dog I would go sooner rather than later and have the lump checked out. If it is something unhealthy the wait could make a big difference in a prognosis.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:57 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
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I'd get it checked out, just for the peace of mind alone...I discovered a lump on one of my chi's jawbone, (hard, marble-sized & painless when pressed...) and was worried sick! The doctor said since it's not getting any larger & not causing her any pain it's probably either a granuloma or lipidosis...he told me to wait it out and if it gets any larger we'll do a biopsy, but he didn't seem to think it was any cause for alarm. From what I've read, some lumps go away by themselves, while others must be surgically removed...I'm really hoping this thing starts to shrink so I don't have to put her under the knife...ugh, believe me, I feel your pain! But anything abnormal should be checked...especially because if it does happen to be something serious, the earlier it's treated, the better...good luck & let us know how it turns out!
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara CA
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I too would have the lump checked out sooner rather then later. Last year when I found the large lump on Jazz's chest and the aspitation came back as a soft tissue sarcoma the pathologist's report said to get it off ASAP or to consult an Oncologist ASAP. The vets called Dash's oncologist who said get it off ASAP so the next day my vet did surgery, removed it and was able to get clear margins. The pathology report showed it to be a nerve sheath sarcoma which was still a low garde one at that point. No further treatment was necesary.

My dogs have both had fatty tumors and Dash has had a host of other harmless growths but I always get into the vet asap to have them looked at as better safe then sorry.
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