When the growths first began, our veterinarian removed 3 of them. But surgery for Gator is difficult for all concerned. Gator is crate phobic, having broken all his baby teeth trying to escape from his puppy crate. It doesn’t take much to put him into full panic mode. Confinement turns him into the dog from hell, and we avoid it whenever possible.
His wonderful veterinarian, Dr. Donna Brinck, understood Gator’s phobia. Before his surgery, she placed him in an empty treatment room with frequent visits from staff. He wasn’t happy, but he didn’t panic.
After the surgery, Gator was placed on a dog bed in Dr. Donna’s office, where he was monitored until he became lucid. For several hours, Gator followed his wonderful veterinarian around the back office and was watched over by other staff members until time for us to take him home. Veterinary clinics do not generally provide such services to all patients, or they would never get any work done.
Gator’s tumors were benign, but the surgery was such an ordeal that we decided not to subject our dog to that in the future. Plus, his beloved vet moved out of state.
When Gator goes in for veterinary exams, the new tumors are biopsied and so far, they have proven to be benign. If that ever changes, some big decisions will have to be made, because our boy is 10 years-old, an advanced age for such a large dog.
We examine our dog frequently, looking for any irregularities. Early detection and treatment increase an animal’s chance of survival, should a malignancy be involved.
Give your pet regular visual exams and run your hands over its body, so that you might find any obvious abnormalities. Only a veterinary professional can accurately diagnose a problem but as an observant pet owner, you may pick up on potential trouble in-between vet visits.
Be on the lookout for the following signs from PetMd.com that might signal a problem:
- Lumps & bumps. Only your vet can determine if a lump is a malignant tumor on your dog.
- Abnormal odors. Foul or unusual odors emanating from your pet require investigation. Certain cancers can produce can produce bad odors.
- Abnormal discharges. Blood, pus, vomit, diarrhea or any other discharge should be checked by the vet. A bloated stomach might also signify internal discharge.
- Sores that don’t heal. Any wound that doesn’t heal within a normal period of time could indicate something serious. Call the vet.
- Weight loss. If it is unexplained weight loss, visit the vet.
- Appetite changes. There’s always a reason if your pet stops eating.
- Coughing or breathing difficulties. These could be symptoms of heart or lung disease, as well as cancer.
- Depression. Pets with cancer often sleep more and become depressed.
- Changes in bathroom habits. Difficulty urinating or defecating or blood in either urine or stool could be a warning sign.
- Pain. Limping or any evidence of pain could signal something serious. See the vet.
Only your veterinary professional can accurately diagnose the cause of these symptoms.