Tumor Removal for Dogs and Cats

dog-skin-tumor

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Cutaneous (Skin) Surgeries

At Sterling Shelter Clinic, we know how scary it can be when your pet is injured or is diagnosed with a tumor. We also know that treating these conditions can be expensive. That’s why we provide low-cost mass removal, mammary tumor removal, and wound repair surgeries for cats, dogs, and other pets. Our highly trained veterinarians will help you determine the best and most affordable course of treatment for your pet. No matter what your budget, your pet will be in good hands with Sterling Shelter Clinic’s skilled and compassionate veterinary team.

Mass Removal Surgeries

Has your pet been diagnosed with a skin mass or tumor? Many of these types of masses can be treated or even cured with surgical removal. Removing the mass also allows your veterinarian to send it to a laboratory for further diagnostic testing. This is often a crucial step to determine whether the mass is benign or cancerous.

Removing a skin mass is usually a simple procedure. Your veterinarian will make an incision through the skin, extending around the mass. Often some normal skin is removed with the mass – this ensures that any microscopic tumor cells surrounding the mass have been removed. Once the mass has been removed, the incision is closed with sutures. The tissue is closed in multiple layers, so your pet may have sutures both under the skin and externally.

Most pets recover well from mass removal surgery. Depending on the location of the mass, your pet may need to wear an e-collar (cone) after the procedure to prevent licking of the incision. Your pet will be sent home with pain medication, and may also be prescribed antibiotics or other medications depending on the size and location of the mass.

Some types of skin tumors can spread or grow back in the same spot. That’s why it is important to frequently touch and examine your pet. If you find any new lumps or bumps – particularly in a senior pet or a pet that has a history of skin tumors – see your veterinarian to get them checked out. It’s easier to remove a mass when it is small, so it’s best to address any new lumps as soon as possible.

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animal-mammary-tumor

Mammary Tumors

Mammary tumors are similar to skin tumors, but the procedure needed to remove them is much more involved. Like skin tumors, mammary tumors can be either benign or malignant (cancerous). In cats, most mammary tumors are cancerous. In dogs, most are benign. Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure whether the mass is cancerous or not without taking samples of it. Typically, this sampling is done by either biopsy or fine needle aspirate.

Mammary tumors are most common in female animals. Animals that are not spayed, or who went through at least one heat cycle before being spayed, are at the highest risk for developing mammary tumors. Male animals can develop mammary tumors too, but this is rare.
The type of surgery used to remove a mammary tumor depends on the size, location, and type of tumor involved. Removal of a benign mammary tumor is often similar to removing a skin mass. The veterinarian will make a wide incision and remove the mass along with some normal tissue. In some cases, the entire affected gland will be removed.

If your pet is diagnosed with a malignant mammary tumor, your veterinarian may recommend a procedure called a radical chain mastectomy. This is similar to a mastectomy procedure in humans. All of the mammary tissue is surgically removed to prevent the cancer from spreading further. However, unlike humans, most companion animals have a mammary chain extends along the entire abdomen. This means that there is much more tissue that needs to be removed during a mastectomy procedure.

Your veterinarian will recommend either a unilateral (one-sided) or bilateral (double-sided) mastectomy. If both sides are to be removed, often the surgery is staged in two procedures. This means that your pet will have surgery to remove one mammary chain and then will have a few weeks to recover following the procedure. Once your pet has healed, a second surgery is performed to remove the other side. In cats, the lymph nodes associated with the mammary chain may be removed as well.

For benign mammary tumors, surgical removal is often curative. Unfortunately, malignant tumors often require additional treatment to control. This may include chemotherapy or radiation treatments, which are typically performed by a veterinary oncologist. Your veterinarian will help you determine the best course of treatment for your pet’s mammary tumor based on its location, size, severity, and your pet’s health history.

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Lacerations and Wound Repair

A traumatic wound is an emergency, even if your pet is no longer bleeding or does not appear to be in pain. Wounds must be cleaned and sutured as soon as possible to prevent infection. This is especially important if the wound is contaminated with dirt or other debris.
Your pet will likely be placed under general anesthesia for the wound repair procedure. For small wounds that can be repaired quickly, your veterinarian may elect to perform the procedure under heavy sedation instead.

During the procedure, the veterinarian will first evaluate the wound to see how deep it is and which tissues are affected. Any debris in the wound will be carefully removed. The wound will be thoroughly flushed with sterile saline to wash away dirt and bacteria. To prevent infection, the wound must be as clean as possible prior to closure. The veterinarian will then cut away any dead or damaged tissue, and the remaining healthy tissue is sutured closed. Deep wounds may require several layers of sutures to close.

Some wounds are so badly contaminated or infected that they cannot be repaired right away. In these cases, your veterinarian may recommend bandaging and topical treatments for the wound for several days. Once healthy tissue begins to form in the wound bed, the wound can then be sutured. This is called delayed closure.

After a wound repair procedure, your pet will be sent home on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Your pet will likely have stitches on the surface of his or her skin and may need to wear a bandage. It is very important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for follow up care and recheck visits to ensure that the wound is healing well. In most cases, stitches will be removed by your veterinarian 10-14 days after the surgery.

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