My brother's 5 year old dog (mixed breed about 50lbs) very suddenly had a mass protruding from his neck. He took him to the vet right away. That vet did blood work which showed the HBC low but everything else normal. He was running a temp of 103 degrees and didn't have an appetite. The mass was firm and not moveable like a fatty lipoma.
He aspirated some cells and didn't think it was cancer based on the slides. He also did xrays with no usable results. He inserted a drain tube and sent my brother home with Rimadyl and antibiotics. The drainage was a brown color and it drained a ton but the mass did not decrease in size.
My brother took him back a week later to remove the drainage tube and little had changed. The vet (a young guy) was stumped so we made an appointment with my vet.
My vet looked at the information, felt the lump and thought we should send tissue samples to the lab for a histopathology.
She called me after the procedure to extract tissue and said the tissue was very, very ugly and vascular and it looked like soft tissue sarcoma. She said the lab thought the tissue has a cancerous look as well. She is a well-respected, veteran in her field so we prepared ourselves for the worst news. But the lab results came back indicating it was a thick-walled infection. The vet said she was shocked but that we could remove it and he would be OK.
Yesterday was his surgery. He was still really lethargic, had a 104 temp and the mass had grown in size. She called me after surgery and said she never found any infection but it looked exactly like cancer throughout. She couldn't get it all because it was so vascular and didn't have defined edges. She sent all the tissue off to the lab and asked them to please look at it again. In her words, she has never seen an infection look like this but has seen lots of cancer look like it.
We hope to have the lab results by Friday or Monday. In the meantime, this has been a roller coaster of preparing for the worst and then being elated that it was fixable and back to thinking he's going to die again. Has anyone ever gone through something like this?
Last edited by rosijet; Apr. 27, 2013 at 12:31 AM.
Some growths are just masses of tissue gone wild and are not cancerous. One of my dogs got one on an anal gland and it grew fast. I had it removed and it was not cancerous. Vet had thought it would be cancerous. Dog lived to be 14 yoa. A domestic farm animal I knew got a huge growth on his testicle, it grew so big that I couldn't stand it (not my animal) so I paid to have it removed. Vet thought it would be cancerous. It wasn't. Domestic animal is still alive and no, not mine.
Unfortunately one in five dogs dies of cancer. I've had several die young, and several die old, from cancers, nasal, liver(2), spinal. And I had one old cat die of colon cancer. So I cannot tell you, OP, whether or not the mass on the dog's neck is cancerous or not. I do know, from my one dog's experience and from the domestic animal I know, that some fast growing masses are very granular and are not cancerous. So hope that this is what is wrong with the dog you have. Genetics control a lot more than our efforts to try to give our animals healthy foods that are supposed to prevent cancer.
So the lab results came back as an aggressive hemangiosarcoma that was metastasized. In the days since the surgery and waiting for the results from the lab, little Ziggy lost his appetite completely and the mass began to grow again.
My brother and his wife made the brave decision to let him go tonight in light of the real diagnosis and his rapid decline.
I asked my vet about the initial error from the lab. She inquired and they told her that there was so much infection in the first tissue samples that they never did identify cancerous cells but could clearly in the second set of samples.
It was a shame to put him through the surgery this week but I suppose it's comforting to finally have a definitive diagnosis. RIP Ziggers.
So sorry. We lost our first dog to hemangiosarcoma, that was not dx'd in a timely fashion either. It is one of the suckiest and apparently fastest-growing types to have. Cyberhugs to all who loved this dog.
RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.