My 12 year old spayed female has a baseball-sized tumor in her mammaries.. It was first noticed two years ago as pea-sized.. It grew very slowly and this past febuary it was walnut-sized. It has steadily grown since into a baseball(nine months-its growing faster). It has not spread to her lungs. She eats, drinks, plays, and acts like a 5 year old.
My vet basically told us there is nothing we can do.. He says surgery is not an option because of her age and the fact that the last time she was anesthetized(sp?) she did not do well.. He says that the only thing to do is wait until it grows too large for the skin to stretch over it, and it will rupture through and then it will be time to euthanize because it will be impossible to keep an open wound from infection.
I cannot bring myself to think of the pain she will go through when it does rupture, and I watch every day as it grows and the skin gets tighter.. At the same time she still acts like a puppy, so its doubly hard to know she's that close to dying. I don't think I can put her down knowing she is fine in all other respects, and I just wish the mass would go away...
I'm rethinking everything and am hoping to get another professional opinion. What are her chances of surviving surgery at her age? Should I try and have it removed by a specialist? Otherwise, is my vet correct in telling me to wait until it ruptures and that there is nothing else I can do? I can barely afford to pay my bills, but if there's a good chance of her survival I would do anything.. At the same time, how much time will I be buying her given that she is already 12..?
I'm sorry to hear about your dog and would definitely urge you to get a second opinion -- especially now before her condition worsens. The fact that she seems to be doing so well despite the tumor, is a good sign.
I would strongly advocate for your dog to have the tumor removed. Anesthesia with the proper agents and control is very safe even in elderly patients and surgery in this case can greatly improve both your dog's and your quality of life.
Prior to anesthesia a complete blood chemistry panel and CBC need to be completed, if chest radiographs have not been taken recently this would also be a good idea, as would an ECG.
I completely agree with Dr. Dew and would definitely get a second opinion. There are many options available for safe anesthesia and your dog at 12 years of age is not too old to try to remedy this situation.
Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM
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