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Frustrated over lump on neck


I'm new to the group and thought I'd share my frustrations with you to see what you think.

Last Friday night I noticed one small lump the size of a big marble located approximately 3 inches under my dog's (Dixie) right jaw and under the skin.  I took her to the vet  Sat. morning and they said it was an abscess and they gave me some antibiotics.  They said if it gets bigger or doesn't seem to get smaller to bring her back on Monday.  They withdrew some fluid from it and looked at it under a microscope and said all they found were some "imflamatory" cells, and no concern about cancer.  Great!

Sunday morning I woke up and the small lump had grown to probably the size of a tennis ball and her whole muzzle was swollen with fluid as well as a little down the front chest to between her front legs.  So I took her to an emergency hospital.  Here, they shaved the side of her neck to look for any signs of a bug bite or puncture wound or bruising.  They found none.  They also checked her blood clotting times to rule out any type of poisoning.  This checked out fine.  They tried to get a "diagnosable" sample but apparently couldn't because of the swelling.  They are concerned about a mast cell tumor but wouldn't operate because of the swelling increasing the risk of degranulation and proximity of major vessels.  So they gave her Benedryl and sent us home.

So Monday I brought her back to my vet.  They were shocked at how fast it grew in size.  He didn't really know what to do and actually said it's a complicated and confusing case.  He didn't want to jump to a mast cell tumor because of how fast this grew and didn't want to attempt another poke at it because these mast cells get angry when bothered and also didn't want to do surgery because of the risk of degranulation.  He actually referred us to Michigan State but we really can't afford that.  He did draw blood to send out (results should come back today) and gave her a shot of some diuretic drug and a steroid injection to try to help with the swelling and discomfort.  So now we wait....

Her behavior has changed.  She is very tired, in fact I had to carry her into the house after yesterday's vet visit.  She did walk once in the house, but sleeps a lot.  I think the steroid shot helped because since last evening she had a little more energy and was walking around some.  The diuretice did nothing except make her pee on herself.  This morning the lump seems to have either stopped growing or maybe just a little bigger, but not much.  Her appetite has not changed but the swelling makes it hard for her to eat.

I'm frustrated because we've already spent $600 and don't have any answers yet.  The vets aren't acting as fast as I'd like and Dixie, in the meantime, has to get by in her condition and I'm left to cry and pray.  I want them to go in and remove this thing but they act like they don’t want to.  I'm hoping or some freak infection or something but my gut is telling me cancer.  What do you think??  Thanks for taking the time to read my long story and replying.
2 Responses
172023 tn?1334675884
Are you absolutely sure you can't afford Michigan State?  That's where I would go in a heartbeat.  Often fees at university settings are below what private vets cost, and they frequently have studies going on  for particular treatments for certain diseases, where your care may be very little.

See if you can find out what a simple, initial consultation  with an internal medicine specialist would cost there.  It could be as little as $50-$100 for the consultation.  They might be able to lend a fresh pair of eyes to this alarming problem.  Of course, you'd have to pay if you decide to treat there,  Most vet school clinics have in house financing available.

If there's any way to afford it...my vote is to do it.  Keep us posted.  It sounds like an awful situation.
82861 tn?1333457511
I agree with peek.  If there is any way you can at least afford a consultation, it's worth it.  Also ask if they offer Care Credit (a line of credit only for medical issues in humans or their pets) or something similar if you decide to have them do any treatment.  Facilities like that are just like hospitals for humans, even to the 24/7 nursing care.  That's what makes it so expensive, but your dog couldn't be in better hands.

In the meantime, check out the Care Credit web site and see if that's something that might help you and your dog.  Sometimes it's cheaper and easier to use your own credit, so be sure to read the fine print.

You can also post your questions to Med Help's veterinarian, Dr. Cheng on the Ask a Vet forum.  She's great!

I hope you post back and let us know what the diagnosis is and how she's doing.  I'm really interested to see what it turns out to be.
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