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My schnauzer is 10 and I've noticed a lot of lumps and bumps on him now.    We got a few of them tested and they turned out to be lipomas which are benign, but there are more appearing and my vet says he will just continue to get more as he ages.  

 

At what point do i stop testing?  Its a very expensive exercise - around $200 per lump and he now has around 6 new ones.  Are lumps common to appear once a dog is over 10?  I read today at an animal hospital that 50% of dogs over 10 have some form of cancer.

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I had a standard years ago, (now have minis) and my standard boy had numerous lumps over the years which we had removed if they were in a spot that they interfered with his daily life.  They were fatty lumps and the vet implied they were nothing to be  concerned with. 

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13 hours ago, giraffez said:

My schnauzer is 10 and I've noticed a lot of lumps and bumps on him now.    We got a few of them tested and they turned out to be lipomas which are benign, but there are more appearing and my vet says he will just continue to get more as he ages.  

 

At what point do i stop testing?  Its a very expensive exercise - around $200 per lump and he now has around 6 new ones.  Are lumps common to appear once a dog is over 10?  I read today at an animal hospital that 50% of dogs over 10 have some form of cancer.

I think once you have had several lipomas diagnosed, it's fairly safe to assume further lumps that look familiar are more of the same.  Of course there's a risk, and a lot of dogs die of cancer.  But I don't think many of the cancer deaths present like a lipoma.  Based on experience with Labs, yes, some old dogs get lipoma like some teens get pimples. 

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A simple fine needle aspiration is a very quick and relatively inexpensive way the check for lipomas. If the stain doesn't stick to the aspirant on the slide, then you can usually safely assume that it is a lipoma. They are usually fairly readily diagnosed by the way they feel, usually softer and squishy and self-contained. They are also pretty common in older dogs.

 

T.

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My mini schnauzer is a few years older than yours and when a few bumps started appearing we got them all tested and nothing but lipomas. He has since grown a few more and the ones he had have become decently large but as they all feel the same (in the fatty moveable way) and aren't impending his movement etc I've just ignored them. I'm more worried about checking for freckles or moles etc on his belly as he's always enjoyed lying in the sun, even on 40 degree days! :eek:

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I stopped having lumps tested on my now 15 year old dog, once I decided to no longer have them removed regardless of whether they were cancerous or not. As @tdierikx said, a fine needle aspiration is a quick and inexpensive way for a vet to confirm whether its a lipoma or not. You shouldn't need to pay for lab testing unless it's not a lipoma.

 

The only lipomas I've had removed from my dog were ones that were potentially going to impact his mobility (such as in his arm pit.) When he was younger I had a couple of lumps removed as a precaution, where the initial test results were inconclusive (both turned out to be benign once the lumps were removed and tested), and had a mast cell tumour removed when he was heading towards 11. He had such a terrible time with that and needed two surgeries plus emergency vet treatment and then had to have the site drained by the vet every two days (so sticking needles in it each time) whilst he was at the peak of a severe anxiety disorder brought on by a dog attack. Two weeks later he had a new mast cell tumour and it was at that point that I decided I wouldn't put him through it again and his vet said there was no point continuing to test new lumps if I wasn't going to remove any of them. Thankfully he's still going strong 4 1/2 years later but I was willing to take the risk that it was a high grade MCT and cut his life short, rather than put him through another round of trauma when he already wasn't coping well in general. 

 

In your situation, I would continue having new lumps tested unless you're comfortable with not knowing one is malignant and letting nature take its course. 

Edited by Snook
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23 hours ago, Snook said:

As @tdierikx said, a fine needle aspiration is a quick and inexpensive way for a vet to confirm whether its a lipoma or not. You shouldn't need to pay for lab testing unless it's not a lipoma.

My vet didn't give me this option.  He basically said need to send to the labs, thats the only way to tell.  So its $200 per lump.  I also went to see a specialist for some other matter and I asked him to look at the lump as a passing comment, and he basically told me the same thing, he can't tell without sending to a lab as a biopsy.

Edited by giraffez
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2 minutes ago, giraffez said:

My vet didn't give me this option.  He basically said need to send to the labs, thats the only way to tell.  So its $200 per lump.  I also went to see a specialist for some other matter and I asked him to look at the lump as a passing comment, and he basically told me the same thing, he can't tell without sending to a lab as a biopsy.

I'd find another vet to be honest. My dog's vet would do the fine needle aspiration, put it on a slide and look at it under the microscope in the consult room. She had no trouble telling whether it was just fat or something else that needed to be sent off to the lab for testing. She did charge extra for it but it wasn't a lot (I can't remember exactly how much.) I get a specialist charging specialist fees to look at it but a GP vet should be quite capable of looking at it themselves. 

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All the clients here whose dogs we groom get a needle test done,slides checked and outcome based on that ,simple and easy .

 

Unless the lump feels attached or odd looking then start simple 

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On 10/01/2021 at 6:09 PM, Snook said:

I'd find another vet to be honest. My dog's vet would do the fine needle aspiration, put it on a slide and look at it under the microscope in the consult room.

I'm struggling to find a good vet.  The one I'm going to has the best reviews in the area .... by a long shot and I've been seeing them for a while too.  I would think they would know how to do a fine needle aspiration but doesn't seem to be the case.   Finding a good vet is a  bit of hit or miss.  Until I actually get into the consult room, I won't know whether they can do this and there is no point asking them over the phone because the receptionist is usually a younger kid (I say kid because they are like in high school) taking the call with very little (or none) animal medical background.

 

Edited by giraffez
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It's really easy to ascertain whether a lump is a lipoma or something else that may need further looking into.

 

Take the sample, then aspirate it onto the slide. Dip into the 3 different dyes/fixers. If the dye does not attach to the aspirant, then you are looking at a lipoma. Simple.

 

In all reality, a vet nurse could technically perform the procedure... but only a vet is legally allowed to make a diagnosis. Vet nurses actually have to learn how to do a FNA as part of their training/course... and we all have to pass a practical test for same.

 

I can understand erring on the side of caution though... some vets may prefer to have samples inspected by a professional pathologist for the most accurate diagnoses... just in case there is something else going on. It would be horrible to miss something sinister at an early stage, yes?

 

T.

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On 08/01/2021 at 7:42 PM, giraffez said:

Are lumps common to appear once a dog is over 10?

hi :) Gosh - I remember when your 'puppy' WAS a puppy - how time flies!! 
My Mitchell was COVERED in lipomas by the time he was an old boy- he had been on long-term steroids, and I had been told to expect something like this  ..I didn't bother with vet checks anymore, as the others said - by feel I could tell what they were ( I had worked with dogs, and at a vets for years , too) , and just let them be - but he felt like his his skin was stuffed with M&M's, & some larger ones . As they din't impair his mobility or anything, we just left them there ...& he was just Old Lumpy! 
I hope you can find a vet who can carry out the procedure to satisfy you at a much cheaper price ! 

Edited by persephone
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12 hours ago, giraffez said:

I'm struggling to find a good vet.  The one I'm going to has the best reviews in the area .... by a long shot and I've been seeing them for a while too.  I would think they would know how to do a fine needle aspiration but doesn't seem to be the case.   Finding a good vet is a  bit of hit or miss.  Until I actually get into the consult room, I won't know whether they can do this and there is no point asking them over the phone because the receptionist is usually a younger kid (I say kid because they are like in high school) taking the call with very little (or none) animal medical background.

 

That makes it a bit harder. Could you go with @sandgrubber's suggestion of asking to speak to a vet nurse when you call? There shouldn't be any reason why they can't tell you over the phone if they check suspected lipomas in-house. Do you know anyone who could recommend a vet in your area? 

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3 hours ago, Snook said:

That makes it a bit harder. Could you go with @sandgrubber's suggestion of asking to speak to a vet nurse when you call? There shouldn't be any reason why they can't tell you over the phone if they check suspected lipomas in-house. Do you know anyone who could recommend a vet in your area? 

You should definitely be able to arrange a phone consult with a vet .. it may cost you a bit, but if they do the FNA it should be just bundled into the cost of that.   

If they can't organise a phone consult appointment, and definitely, if they can't/won't do a FNA, then I think for me that would be a bit of a deal breaker and a sign to start looking for a practice that could offer better service.

My vets over many years add the size and nature of lipomas to my dogs' notes  .. and if they're in any doubt, will do a FNA.   My vet and I shared a bit of a laugh one day when he was investigating a lump on an older bitch ..wasn't sure because it didn't feel like a normal lipoma .. did an FNA .. and got the answer when pus shot across the room. ..

 

Over the years, the only trouble I've had with lipomas on my dogs have been a couple that needed to be removed because of their location .. and one that actually became infected and needed to be removed.

Edited by Tassie
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Stussy is 13 (a stafford) so lumps and bumps are appearing. She had a large MCT removed in 2019 but my vet aspirates any new ones and we haven't had any more scary ones. There will come a time when I stop bothering getting them checked unless they are affecting her as I've been through this before with another oldie and it comes a time when there is no point doing all the poking and prodding because your treatment plan just becomes more conservative anyway. 

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On 13/01/2021 at 1:42 PM, Tassie said:

You should definitely be able to arrange a phone consult with a vet .. it may cost you a bit, but if they do the FNA it should be just bundled into the cost of that.   

If they can't organise a phone consult appointment, and definitely, if they can't/won't do a FNA, then I think for me that would be a bit of a deal breaker and a sign to start looking for a practice that could offer better service.

My vets over many years add the size and nature of lipomas to my dogs' notes  .. and if they're in any doubt, will do a FNA.   My vet and I shared a bit of a laugh one day when he was investigating a lump on an older bitch ..wasn't sure because it didn't feel like a normal lipoma .. did an FNA .. and got the answer when pus shot across the room. ..

 

Over the years, the only trouble I've had with lipomas on my dogs have been a couple that needed to be removed because of their location .. and one that actually became infected and needed to be removed.

Thanks everyone.  Could I just clarify something to make sure I'm understanding correctly, the FNA you are referring to is the test to extract a bit of the lump into a needle and put on a slide then view under the microscope?  Exactly what @Boronia 's video shows.

 

The thing is, my vet does the first two but doesn't view it under the microscope and they refer it as fine needle aspiration.  They send the slides to the labs to get checked out instead.  Is it common for vets to be able to understand how to use the microscope?

Edited by giraffez
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On 13/01/2021 at 7:03 AM, tdierikx said:

I can understand erring on the side of caution though... some vets may prefer to have samples inspected by a professional pathologist for the most accurate diagnoses... just in case there is something else going on. It would be horrible to miss something sinister at an early stage, yes?

 

I actually get the impression that microscope work isn't performed at this vet.  He doesn't even check it, just sends it to the lab.    Some he would look at the specimen on the slide using the naked eye and say this looks like a lipoma and not nasty so we won't send this one to the lab.  But i'm not sure how he can tell without a microscope.

 

It seems simple enough to diagnose from the above youtube video.  I wonder why they don't do it.

Edited by giraffez
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