Tuesday, May 3, 2016

See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy

Just when I thought I was busy enough worrying about Cookie's joints and muscles, life threw in a twist [as usually]. And at the least ideal moment too.

It was Thursday evening. We came home from Cookie's last critter check of the day and I was petting and rubbing her when I felt a bump on her belly.

I did not like the look of this bump at all. And neither did the vet.

Ugh, where did the bump come from?

Could it be some kind of a bug bite? It felt quite large and not like a bug bite. But Cookie gets so many belly rubs by the two of us, as well as by her physical therapist and vet techs and everybody, somebody would have to have felt it if it was there before, wouldn't they?

To get a better look and feel I grabbed a flashlight and glasses and crawled under the hood. That's what we call it when I want to check something on her belly without having to make her to roll on her back in order to do it.

Like a mechanic, I get under and have a good view of what lies underneath.

This did not look like a bug bite I've ever seen before.

It was kind of fleshy, warty, blister type of thing. I did not like it. But here was the problem. The next day Cookie had an appointment for her physio at the other end of the world than her vet is. Making both appointments would be very difficult if not impossible. And the day after we were leaving for hubby's work.

"You gotta make a decision," hubby said.

Hmm ... what decision was the right one? A lump isn't really an emergency even though I was convinced that it popped up out of the blue. I did not want to pass on Cookie's physio. I did not want just ignore the bump either.

Maybe it IS some kind of a really weird bug bite and will be gone or at least smaller by morning ... ?

Well, it wasn't gone or smaller by morning.

And I still had to make a decision. Right or wrong, I decided to keep the physio appointment and have Cookie's physical therapist who is also a vet tech take a peek. Perhaps she will deem it a bug bite. And if not, we had appointments to continue Cookie's therapy lined up at the place we were going.

I decided to do the physio and try to combine one of Cookie's appointments with a needle aspirate once we get to where we were going.

Cookie's therapist checked it out and said that maybe it's a histiocytoma.

The bump wasn't bothering Cookie. In fact, I don't think she new or cared it was there.

I was hoping it was a histiocytoma too, though it was in a strange location for it.

And didn't QUITE look like one. But it kind of did.

Some further technical complications arose but a week after we found it Cookie's bump got seen. We had made the appointment for examination and fine needle aspirate.

But when the vet saw it she said she didn't like it and that she didn't want to keep it there until we might find out what it is.

Getting results of an aspirate takes about two weeks around here.

That IS rather long to find out what a bump that grew overnight is. She wanted to take it out and then wait for pathology results when it's already gone off Cookie.

The reason one should identify a bump before cutting is achieving clean margins. Without knowing what it is, you can either take enough tissue to make sure the margins are clean - but you might take way more tissue than is actually needed if the bump is harmless or, perhaps you wouldn't need to do a surgery at all ... or, you don't take out enough and your dog might end up having to have another surgery.

Because the lump was on the belly where there is plenty of skin, it was decided to take it out with margins generous for a cancerous bump to play it safe.

Perhaps Cookie was going to lose more tissue than she had to but it seemed the most reasonable decision under the circumstances.

Yesterday Cookie had her lumpectomy.

Because her last blood work was recent enough and everything looked good, she didn't need new blood work. Otherwise, pre-anesthesia blood work is a wise thing to do.

To make sure Cookie undergoes as little stress as possible, I packed our "communal" blanket for her and we arranged hubby being there with her when she starts waking up.

She wasn't at all concerned about being whisked away into the back; in fact the technician didn't have to drag her, she dragged the technician. So many things to check out, so little time.

The surgery went well and Cookie recovered from anesthesia really well.

She did need couple of hours to come to completely but after that she was all bouncy and hungry and ready to go. I was very relieved because I still had concerns since the sedation for her x-rays gone bad.

It was decided to use anesthesia instead of sedation because there is much better control which makes it that much safer. With IV and endotracheal tube in place any complications could be handled easily.

Cookie came home bouncing and hungry. After I fed her she decided she was still tired after all.

All went well and without a hick-up. Now it's the waiting for the pathology results.

Fortunately it should be in on Thursday. Here is hoping that the lump isn't half as naughty as it looked.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: What Is that Bump? 
JD's Biopsy Results Revealed Mast Cell Tumor: You Don't Know What the Bump Is Unless You Look at the Cells 
JD's Mast Cell Tumor Diagnostics, Strategy and Treatment
JD's Mast Cell Tumor: Surgery and Pathology Report
Don't Wait, Aspirate: JD Grows New Bumps

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from yo


  1. I'm glad her lumpectomy went well and that the results come back negative. She's one cute pup!

    1. Got the results yesterday; it was indeed a histiocytoma!

  2. We've been through more than our fair shares of needle aspirations and lumpectomies over the years, so I know what you're going through. Sending good vibes for the results!

    1. Thank you, Nicole. Lumps suck. Fortunately, this one turned out benign.

  3. glad you're such a careful human! so important to look into all the lumps and bumps as soon as we find them <3

    1. Yes it is. Not worth it to take chances with bumps.

  4. Glad the lumpectomy went well! Stuff like that can be so stressful. I read in the comments that it was benign, which is awesome!

    1. Yes, turned out to be benign after all. So relieved! I was quite upset when I found it.

  5. Have been following on your FB page and am so relieved for you - sending hugs

    1. Thank you, Ruth; yes, we celebrated hard :-)

  6. I'm really glad her surgery went well and that's awesome that the lump was benign! What a relief! Poor Cookie has been through so much lately! ((hugs))

    1. Thank you, Lauren. Cookie really needs to catch a major, long break asap.

  7. We haven't had to deal with lumps yet but I imagine they're stressful. Glad it went OK.

    1. Jasmine, with all other problems she had, never had any bumps other than infectious and one skin tag. Bruin had massive lipoma but nothing else. JD is farming bumps but only one was bad for now. Cookie always had only boo boos until now too. No idea what caused this one to spring up.

  8. Glad it was a histiocytoma and nothing anymore more sinister. It always pays to check lumps and bumps.

    1. Yes, gotta check every single one every time. I couldn't be happier this one was just histiocytoma.

  9. I use belly rubs as a way to keep an eye for any lumps or bumps. This proves how important it is. I am so glad the results are benign. ♥

    1. Yes, very important. It's important to "hand scan" the whole body, really. When I do belly rubs I cover every inch of the belly, chest and inside of the legs ... not why I do it but if we weren't doing it for pleasure we'd do it for monitoring.

  10. Lumps are scary! It surprises me that it takes them two weeks to aspirate! That's a really look time to look at cells under a microscope! I understand biopsy, but the wait for an aspiration would drive me nuts!

    1. Well, no, it takes only couple of minutes to aspirate. But it takes two weeks to get the results back. They do look at the cells in-house but generally, unless they see clearly just fat cells, they send it out and wait until the lab actually passes judgement on what it is.

  11. We have had our fair share of these scares also. It is always nerve wracking :( I am so glad Cookie did fine with her surgery and it came back benign!

    1. Well, as long as it's just scares it's ok, I guess. Though I could do without them and I'm sure you could too.

  12. So glad to hear it's benign. We are always checking the dogs for lumps and bumps, they think they are getting belly rubs! lol

    1. Everybody wins :-) Belly rubs are awesome and regular checks so important.

  13. Thanks for sharing this! It's super important to listen to your gut and be vigilant. I'm so glad things worked out.

    1. Thank you, Bryn. I was quite distraught when I found it. I'm very glad that is over and done with.

  14. I'm glad that it was a histiocytoma!ANY lumps are scary and Shermie has them all over so we have a lump map with our vet since we're having them all checked and even big scary two headed skin tags worry me.

    1. Yes, keeping track and checking and aspirating every single one is so important.

  15. Zora had two of those one time and I was completely panicked because, like you, I felt that they had come out of nowhere - like not there one minute and there the next. It really freaked me out. Thankfully, they too were histiocytomas. Unfortunately, Zora is prone to fatty lumps so we are regularly having things checked just to be safe. Lumps are frightening!

    I'm so glad to hear that Cookie is okay :-)

    1. That is one of the things about histiocytomas, they can pop up quickly. It was one of the things giving us hope that's what it could be.

      Fatty tumors are a nuisance because can cause a person worry just as much as any other bump. Every one should always be aspirated just to make sure, and if they decide to become "active", revisited. But I'm sure you know that.

  16. It is always best to check! Henry had many 'lumps and bumps' and each time we visit our AMAZING vet he will check Henry from top to tail to be sure nothing has become a concern. Great post.

  17. Fingers and paws crossed for good results from the lumpectomy.

  18. Glad everything went well with surgery. I hope everything turns out fine.

  19. Things are never boring for you and Cookie! I'm glad it was benign and you were smart to have it checked!

  20. Happy you are being proactive about Cookie's health! It can be a very scary thing to have to face, so glad it's benign. Good luck with the lumpectomy.

  21. So I am hearing that it was benign?? WOOHOOOOOO!!!!!

    1. Hi Jenna, yes, it was a histiocytoma after all.

  22. #Finndawg has two little lumps which are a bit see through... I can't decide if they're a grass seed implanted... or a tick which didn't affect him due to protection. Next stop, the vet.
    Annette @PetsAreFound

  23. Such an important post. Having four out of my Huskies with lumps, I so agree, see something, do something! Fortunately in our cases all worked out well in the end, and two are "on watch" for fatty growths, but one of them was a medical first for our vet as it hid a much bigger "baby's foot" type growth underneath the surface of a small cauliflower-type papilloma, and making the decision to have it removed proved the right move for our boy. I'm so glad surgery went well and here's to a clear pathology report!

    1. Thank you, hon. Pathology came back as histiocytoma. So that's a great news.

      Yes, every single bump needs to be checked and aspirated; in fact, Dr. Sue's campaign "See Something, Do Something, Cancer" started because their vet tech's dog had tons of benign bumps ... when a new one popped up, it was assumed it was benign also ... and it wasn't.

  24. So glad you got good news, it's great that you were quick to have it checked.

    1. Thank you, Lindsay; it was an intense few days. It was a huge relief to find out it was benign.

  25. We are cocker moms. As such the sebaceous oil this breed produces may not be for everyone. It means that extra lumps and bumps happen. If memory serves me right, Rotties produce more, too. At the first sign of lumps, always see a vet. Great advice.

    1. Our dogs actually never had many bumps. Jasmine had a few but those were all infectious except one skin tag. Bruin had one huge lipoma. JD has a couple one of which was a mast cell tumor, rest are benign. Cookie usually just had boo boos from running through the brambles.

  26. Finding a lump like that would bother me too! I can definitely understand how you might feel nervous about it. I'm glad that the lumpectomy went well and things seem to be going in the right direction for now.

    1. Lumpectomy went really well and incision is looking great; stitches will come out soon.