Ask Seth: Growth on Dog

Hi Seth. We have a 7 year old yellow lab who is like our daughter to my wife & I.  She has a growth on her leg. We took her to our local vet here about a year ago and he looked at it and said that because it is located on her rear leg joint, it might cause her leg problems if he removed it…  He wasn’t very convincing – acted as though he was not too sure of himself when he talked with us, so I really would like your professional opinion. By the way, it was much smaller a year ago when he saw it… at the time he acted as though it was no big deal.  Since then, it has steadily increased in size – at least doubled in size – and may keep growing.  Not only is it unsightly and requires us to be constantly explaining it to everyone who sees her, but she now licks it – not all the time, but more frequently in recent months, which is now causing it to slightly bleed. My questions are: Should it be removed, should he have removed it a year ago, would it require a general anesthesia or just a local, and finally do you foresee any high potential of its removal causing her additional leg problems or pain? Any other observations and/or comments about this dog growth would be very much appreciated. Many thanks, Marshall Maher


The mass is located in an area that does not provide additional skin to help when closing the surgical site when it is removed.  That being said, if it was my dog, I would have it removed by a veterinarian in the next few months simply because it appears ulcerated.  When removing a mass, the general practice is to take a much larger area than just the mass to ensure that you get the entire affected area.  This could pose a small problem for a veterinarian that is not comfortable with surgical removal in this area of the leg.  If this veterinarian does not feel comfortable doing the surgery, see who he recommends in your area to do it.    I would not commit to have had it removed last year because that is a judgment call and it seemed non-problematic at the time.

The surgery must be under general anesthesia.  Local anesthesia does not work in animals like they do in humans.  Removal should not cause any additional leg issues for her.  It should improve her quality of life.  Yeah, she may have to wear the lamp shade until it completely heals, but she should do fine.  Make sure to address any concerns with the surgeon prior to surgery.  Personally, I would have a biopsy performed on the mass to see what the origin of the mass is and the likelihood of it returning.  I have seem much worse dog tumors removed from more difficult areas of the leg and am amazed at how well animals do after surgery.  Good luck on your decision.  Let me know if I can help you further.

Did you ever have a growth surgically removed from your dog? Tell us about your experience!

Seth Mayersohn

About Seth Mayersohn

Have a question about your pet’s health or behavior? Readers can submit questions to Seth Mayersohn has a B.S. in Animal and Veterinary Sciences and a M.S. in Agriculture from West Virginia University. He has 12 years of experience as a veterinary technician and draws upon that experience to help our readers!

One comment on “Ask Seth: Growth on Dog

  1. My italian greyhound, Herbie, had a very large fatty mass tumor in his chest and several
    small ones. When my vet removed the large mass it went so deep she saw his carotid artery and that was with him looking like a plumped up rooster on the outside! All is well now but we have to keep his fat intake down and he still has a bunch of little ones we are keeping our eye on. My Ichabod is next to have many small but two worrisome fatty tumors removed. One is right between his eye and back of lips so we want it gone before it can cause trouble to his eye or jaw. The other planted itself right on his big shoulder muscle. Ichabod is a large ( 22lb), lean, very muscular italian greyhound. Her ie is also large but he gains weight and is soft and squishier. Neither are dainty little italian greyhounds that most people picture them to be. Ichabod is so accustomed to being strong and agile (he moves like a cat) that I would hate to see that taken away from him. So, we have saved up the money to cover the operation and a dental. We have lifetime pet insurance but not for dental or routine care and you do need to pay for the office visits, medications and procedure up front out of pocket but it is so worth having. We will get 80% – 90% back. It has really saved us in the past. When we figure what we pay for our three " kids" for one year it could add up to just one really bad incident. Oh, by the way I also have a mini wiener and that our insurence covers back problems. ICHABOD, HERBIE and REILLY are all 9 years young!

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