It's That Time of the Year Again: Annual Wellness Exam and JD's Bumps

We take our guys at least for one wellness exam a year; usually two. 

There is no particular rule when during the year this should be done but we typically choose Fall and Spring for the following reasons:
  • there is no risk of it being too hot or the weather being to dangerous for the trips
  • the allergens load starts getting lower in late Fall; Winter would be ideal
  • some of the tests make most sense being done in the Spring, such as heartworm testing or tick-borne diseases testing

This is how it's been working for us. Come Fall, we make our wellness exam appointment.

We didn't take any photos at the vet. The exam room is quite small so imagine two of us, the two guys,
a vet and a vet tech ... and somebody trying to take pictures? Not happening.

Normally, we get the physical exam, urinalysis, fecal analysis, and complete blood panel. This time, all we ended up with was a physical exam and we'll have to do the labs some time in the near future. Things weren't working out right for doing the labs:
  • we could only get an appointment with OUR vet at the end of the day, which means in order to have fresh urine it couldn't be first morning sample and there was no way we could have fasted blood that late in the day with our guys
  • both pups decided to go poop in a thick bush where we just could not find it

Best laid plans, right?

So some time soon we'll take the guys in early in the morning to get all these things; a vet technician can draw the blood. Just as well, because we want to include the new kidney function test (SDMA) and apparently there might be certain things that need to be done to provide the blood for this the way the lab wants it and since it will be the hospital's first time getting this test, they have to find out what the requirements are.

Testing non-fasted blood can skew the results and show things that don't reflect actual workings of the body which is what is the purpose of checking the blood in the first place.

Before the trip I made a list of all concerns and questions I had for the vet.

I find that making a list and checking it twice comes in quite handy. That way you can go over all of it with your vet and not forget anything.

We only had a few minor concerns (of course, if they were major concerns we wouldn't have waited for the wellness exam), and a list of bumps we found on JD.

One of the bumps is a skin tag, which we just wanted to confirm that's what it was.

The other two bumps were more of a concern.

They aren't very large and not angry at all; just bumps under the skin. However, they'd been there for couple of months now (at least that's when we first found them) and not going away. One on the back of his thigh and one on the "shin" of the hind left leg. It's not attached to the bone, otherwise we'd gone in right away too.

The vet examined the bumps and marked them on chart so we start a map of where, when and which bumps were found and what their size was.

Interesting thing is that both bumps felt the same to me but to the vet one felt soft and one hard. (Well, I'm not one to squeeze things very hard.)

While they appeared the same to me, they are not the same at all.

I was hoping for fatty tumors (lipomas). The vet felt that the on on the thigh likely is indeed a lipoma but the one on the shin is not.

Because one of the bumps is larger than a pea (the other one is a bit smaller, more like a smartie) and they have been there for long enough, we had them both aspirated. The vet did fine needle aspirate (FNA) and a core sample.

Why wait?! Aspirate. Check out my blog for a preview of my cancer awareness program with VCA Animal Hospitals.
Posted by See Something Do Something Cancer on Sunday, June 15, 2014

I got to take a look at the slides.

The cells taken from the bump on the thigh looked very shiny, oil like. That's what the vet would expect cells taken from a lipoma to look like. Which surprised me because I always thought it would be more like lard type of thing. Funny how we picture things.

The smear from the other lump looked matte. The vet feels the other bump is an infundibular cyst because when probed it oozed liquid. I'm down with a cyst.

The skin tag is a skin tag. We didn't aspirate that one.

While we're still waiting for the lab results, I'm hopeful that one of them is indeed a lipoma and the other a cyst.

Both guys are at ideal body score condition 3/5.

That is what we strive for, even though I was under the impression that we kept JD below that because of his hips. Hubby, on the other hand, was worried that JD is too skinny.

Either way, JD is doing quite well, though he did respond to palpation over TCVM pressure points for hip pain. We are considering adding some turmeric to his supplements.

His muscles are good, except some slight muscle wasting over his glutes, from the way he compensates for the hips. We discussed exercises for him to strenghten them up some.

Other than that, everything is looking good, blood, urine and fecal testing pending.

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 

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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 you!


  1. We go once a year for the annual but we go many times in between when anything is concerning to me.

    Sampson is due up next month and I'll make my list of concerns to discuss with my vet. Seeing as he is almost 11 1/2, I'm mostly concerned with his arthritis and possibly getting something for him for those days when he seems to be really uncomfortable. I dislike giving him pharmaceuticals, but unless the vet can come up with something different, it might be the way we have to go.

    I also have all lumps aspirated, when will you have the results? Soon I hope!

    1. Hi Jodi,

      yes, we got when there is a concern, apart from the regular visits.

      Arthritis can be such a pain ... there is, of course, acupuncture, cold laser and other like therapies ... There are herbals. And there is new pain product out there now, CanineActiv. That would is quite promising. You might want to look that up.

      Results for the aspirates probably in a week, as typical. The vet seems quite confident that one is a lipoma and one is a cyst. So I'm not panicking too much.

  2. Knowing your dog well so you can catch any changes or issues early is good prevention. Being prepared before a veterinarian visit is also very important.

    1. Yes, it's important to know what is normal for each dog. Chronic issues can be tricky because signs creep up slowly and quietly enough for everybody to get used to them and they can become the new normal. That's one of the reasons why annual exams are important.

  3. It would be really scary to find a suspicious lump on a pet! I have been very fortunate not to have found anything like that on either of my kitties. I hope that your results turn out not to be anything to worry about.

    1. It's good that these don't look very menacing and preliminary results look good. So we are fairly optimistic that they are what the vet expects them to be.

  4. Mr. N's wellness exam is usually in January. I think he needs blood work done this year.

    1. We do blood work every year at least once. It's an important part of it. Checks organ function, as well as we test for HW, tick-borne diseases etc.

  5. Bi-Annual exams are important. I love the tip of listing your questions before you go, many times when you are at the vet an all that is going on during the exam you can tend to forget an important question. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. Yes, having notes helps not to forget anything.

  6. Keira goes 2x a year since she is a senior and come to think of it I'm not sure when she last got her urine tested!?! Hum I need to bring this up!

    1. Urinalysis is non-invasive (though can be fun to collect) and provides useful information.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Cathy, I'm so sorry I clicked the wrong thing and deleted this by mistake.

  8. I'm glad your vet isn't worried about the lumps, but I think it was a good decision to get the checked just to be sure! Glad your dogs had a good check up! (I never take photos as the vets either, I think it would be disruptive to the vet.)

    1. I'm glad too. I'll be more glad when I get the biopsy results to confirm that.

  9. I believe this is my first time visiting and I'm so glad I did! This past January, Mommy found a large bump on my right ear that was red so she took me that very day to be seen. Within two weeks we had to have it removed for fear it was cancer. Thank goodness it wasn't but it was scary. They had to take away part of my hear and now I have a permanent large hole in my ear you can see through due to the odd way my ear was sewn back together and healed. I wrote a couple of blog posts about it.
    Thank you for having such a great blog to cover such important topics for dog health!! I'll be visiting again my new friend.

    1. Hi Pixel,

      sorry about your ear. Glad you're ok now, except the hole in your ear. Bumps are scary.

      I'd be happy to publish your guest post if you'd like to share your story with my readers.

  10. Great post! You are a vet's best friend! It is always a good thing to come prepared with that amount of information!

    1. Thank you, Rachel. Being prepared means not missing anything potential important.


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