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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm new here! I need some advice...

my 8 yr old boston terrier Miles developed a growth on his lip about a couple months ago. We asked our vet while we were there for his reg checkup and we are to keep a watch on it. IF it continues to grow or changes we have to remove it and send away for a biopsy. Our vet said if stays the same we can watch it. No one has been able to give me any advice as to what it could be. I am just wondering if anyone elses dog had something like this. Its light pink mostly and sometimes its clearish...almost like you could pop it and it would go away!

I hate to go right ahead and remove surgically and its just something that would go away and i hate to wait if its something bad :( Miles is our baby and i want to do whats right. (the poor guy just had an eye ulcer and had a major graft surgery done to his eye to save it) There has been lots and lots of vet bills recently and poor guy can't catch a break.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Kristy & Miles
 

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Is it possible that it's a puppy-wart?

Contrary to the name, they can happen in dogs of all ages -- it's an obnoxious-but-usually-not-dangerous virus that causes temporary warty growths, usually either bubble, mole or cauliflower shaped. They almost always happen on the lips and gums, but I've also seen the insides of ears and between the toes. Usually it flares up for a few months and then goes away, but they can re-emerge in times of immune system stress. Is that a possibility?
 

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Maybe. I hope that's all it is. He was so stressed recently. He had a second eye surgery to remove part of the graft. (From having an eye ulcer) It really messed him up. He wouldn't pee for a little bit and vomited blood-- he got over all that and then got this growth. Not sure if that qualifies for immune system stress??
Thank you so much for your response and I really hope it is something of a wart/virus and will go away!!
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If you could get a picture that zooms in on the growth a bit more, I can weigh in on whether I've seen something like this on my dog before. She had a bunch of different growth type things on her lips last year. I had them all aspirated, except for one which was a canine papilloma (they look like cauliflower).

None of them were malignant, and all went away on their own; since I have gotten her allergies under control she hasn't had any...

I don't know if this is the cause of your dog's growth though.

How big is the growth? (a few mm, 0.5 cm, 1 cm, etc.)

Honestly, from your description, it doesn't really sound like a canine papilloma(wart); they usually have a pretty distinct appearance and your vet should be able to have a pretty good idea of what it is by looking at it.

In any case, you do not need to biopsy it to get an idea of what it is (although a biopsy is the only way to get a truly definitive answer). Your vet can look at cytology from a needle aspirate, which is done in the office, without anesthesia. This can give you an idea of what is inside the lump and it is less expensive and less invasive than a biopsy. My dog is very nervous - especially at the vet's - and she has had several needle aspirates done without being sedated.

I would start there, and honestly, if it's already been there for a few months, I would have the aspirate done now. Mast cell tumors (which is what I'd be worried about - not that this is what it is, just whenever I see any pink growth, I worry about it) exfoliate well and are generally easy to diagnose with a needle aspirate. If the needle aspirate gets a good sample and doesn't show anything malignant or questionable, I'd be comfortable watching it for a while, and if it changes, having it biopsied.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much for your response.

Here is the best I can do for a close up...

Let me know what you think.
 

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Do his teeth aggravate it a lot? I wonder if it could be a small abscess or some kind of minor infection under his skin. My dog had one on her chin earlier this year and it sort of looked like that. Like - sometimes I thought I could pop it but nothing would come out. Other times it was solid-pink looking. It stuck around for a couple of months and my vet finally put her on some oral antibiotics for two weeks and it disappeared. It didn't present like a normal abscess (not hot, etc.), and she said we would aspirate it if it didn't respond to antibiotics, but fortunately it did.

If the vet doesn't think this is likely (and of course, I'm only guessing here - seeing it in person is the only way to really understand what's going on with the bump), I still think it is reasonable to ask about a needle aspirate. It's really non-invasive and usually not terribly expensive (I think I usually paid something like $70-$100, which isn't cheap, but is less than a biopsy) and could help give you peace of mind.
 

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Thanks so much for your response. His teeth don't seem to aggravate it that I can tell, but it's a possibility . Originally I thought it was like an abscess but wasn't sure. Thought my vet could tell me. It is like a whitish bubble that looks like it can pop and sometimes pink and solid ad you said...it's very odd.

I should ask about a needle aspirate....see they want to remove it surgically and biopsy it and I think the estimate was inane..like $600 or so (apparently also needs a dental cleaning this year and wants to do all at the same time)....save money wi sedation, etc and will maybe cost $1000......lot of $$ considering the vet bills we have had recently.

Thanks so much for your response...been very helpful.
 

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I can partially see where your vet is coming from; if he needs to have the bump removed, it is probably best to do it at the same time as his dental cleaning because it not only saves you money, but also, reduces the risks of putting him under anesthesia multiple times.

However, it is not a very good idea to remove a lump from a dog without doing a needle aspirate first to get an idea about what it is. The reason is because there are different protocols for removing different types of lumps. For example, if you find out it is a sebaceous adenoma (something benign but kind of ugly), you might decide to remove it anyway when he is under for his dental, but the vet would likely just have to remove the lump (no surrounding skin) and put a little stitch in - not very invaisive. Or, you may decide to just leave it alone.

If, however, it is a mast cell tumor, your vet will want to take very wide/deep margins (as wide/deep as possible given the location) and may even recommend seeing a specialist. It would be a waste of a procedure and your money to do a surgical biopsy of this without knowing what it is.

Additionally, what if the vet puts him under, charges you $400 more and you learn it is an abscess that could be fixed with antibiotics? (and I am not a fan of unnecessarily using antibiotics, but I do feel a short course to see if the bump responds might be worth while and it is the most cost effective option - a 14 day course for my dog cost me about $30 from the vet).

Also, I can't see all of his teeth very well and I am not used to smaller breed dogs, but the teeth in the picture look clean to me, so is the dental cleaning a standard procedure based on his age, or did the vet evaluate him and tell you he needed the cleaning based on what s/he saw?

It might be worthwhile to get a second opinion if you're not comfortable with the options you're being given.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for the response. My vet does not work Fridays so I will call on Monday, I might even call tomorrow to make an appt to see her monday and have the vet evaluate my dog. (Or see another vet in the clinic) I am totally new to all this with lumps and I really appreciate all the info and makes sense....but wonder why my vet hasn't done any of this yet. My dog stopped chewing bones a few months ago (had to wear a cone for awhile from eye surgery) and he has never wanted to chew again. His back teeth aren't that great but I agree...I second guessed his teeth cleaning when I took the pic of his lump....his teeth couldn't be any whiter..he is 8 but has never had any probs with teeth. I was told he needed his teeth cleaned at his annual checkup a few weeks ago from what the vet saw,

This whole lump is stressing me out. I would do anything for Miles so I have to get to the bottom of this immediately and as you said...maybe second opinion? I never knew about the needle aspirate or anything! I would like an answer quickly

Thanks again!
 
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