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Internal Dog Tumor Deemed "Inconclusive"

by Jennifer
(Central Coast, California)

X-ray

X-ray

X-ray
Lucy

My sister took care of my dog Lucy about a month ago after 3 weeks of not seeing her. She noticed that Lucy had begun to put on a little weight, but I assumed it was (like the rest of us) because of aging. When my sister saw her again, she commented on the suddenness of weight gain in her abdomen area, almost appearing bloated. So, I took her to the vet a week and a half ago.

The vet took an x-ray (see photo above). He was able to see that she had grown a tumor, and a large one at that. He wasn't able to tell what type of tumor though because of where it was positioned. He then did a sonogram type procedure, and again, could not get a clear picture to determine what type of tumor he thought this was so we could make a decision as to what to do. He had me bring her back the next day. He drew blood, looked at it himself, and sent it to the lab. Both he and the lab said it was still inconclusive.

He has shared with me the 4 possibilities he thinks it is. It could be a malignant or benign tumor attached to her spleen. Both cases he says he could remove the tumor and the spleen as well. He also said it could be a liver tumor, either malignant or benign. If that's the case, he'd really have to see how/where it was attached and if there were more spread of the cells in her body to determine what to do.

So, he's said I should do "exploratory surgery" to determine what it is and what to do. However, if he opens her up and sees she has cancer, should I leave her asleep? And, I've read some things online that say both of these situations may not extend her life much at all, MAYBE up to a year, but more likely a few months.

I asked him what would happen if I let it be, and also if he thought she could even handle such a surgery because of her age. He said her age and health, she's likely be fine from the surgery itself. If I let it be, she's not suffering now, and it would eventually get a small rupture, causing her to internally bleed. She would likely get weak, faint or fall asleep, and pass away.


Lucy is a small, 18 pound schnauzer mix (with what I don't know). I adopted her about 8 years ago. At the time, the humane society I adopted her from assumed she was about 5, however my vet thought more like 4, so her exact age is unknown. I'm guessing she's between 11 - 12 years old.

She's been in good health overall. She tore her ACL shortly after I adopted her, and she's recovered beautifully from that surgery, gaining full use of her hind leg again. She still doesn't like to put weight on it when peeing though! She was attacked by a big dog a few years after that, and again, after stitches, antibiotics, etc., she bounced right back.

Over the last year, I've begun to notice that she's indeed aging. Her eyes are a bit cloudy, she's a little clumsier, and she seems a bit more tired. But still, overall, her health has been good.

Ok, that's the background! Oh...and she has other small fatty tissue tumors in various places on her body as well, which he seems to think are not related. She has 2 that are external (look like warts) and many internal that feel like little skin lumps.

Sooooo, what should I do? I'm very confused about what to do given:

1. Her age.
2. All the questions about what it actually is.
3. The possibility that i could actually be shortening her life span instead of extending it.
4. (I hate to say this, but it's a small part of my thinking process.) The cost - up to $2000, and I already spent $550 for inconclusive information.

I feel like I need more input before I can decide comfortably about what to do. I hate to do such an invasive surgery given her age and all the other factors. Right now, other than being bloated and a bit more tired, she's perky, eating, walking, enjoying herself.

Please help give me direction or maybe more advice about what this is.

Thank you,

Jennifer

Comments for Internal Dog Tumor Deemed "Inconclusive"

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Mar 21, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Internal Dog Tumor Deemed "Inconclusive"
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
You have posed a VERY tough question regarding this massive tumor inside Lucy's abdomen.

Surgical intervention is certainly NOT a holistic approach. But considering the size of the tumor and the amount of space it is taking up in Lucy's abdomen, she must feel uncomfortable as it is draining her energy, making it more difficult to breathe or just getting into a comfortable position laying down.

From the x-ray you posted, it appears to me that this is a tumor of the SPLEEN. Also, as your veterinarian did an ultrasound and did not see any other tumors (or metastasis), I feel that this is a BENIGN tumor. Since the blood panel is NORMAL, that indicates Lucy, being 11-12 years of age, is in pretty good health... except for the large splenic mass! She would probably do very well through the surgery. Although I would strongly advise that you find a board certified veterinary surgeon that has performed many splenic surgeries.

On the other hand, treating Lucy with homeopathy would be very difficult for a number of reasons. Remedies can be slow to act and may take months to shrink the tumor, providing the correct remedy is found. And the longer that mass is in her abdomen, the higher the risk that it may rupture and cause internal hemorrhaging (In which case she would need EMERGENCY surgery).

And, finding the correct remedy will be very difficult because Lucy is not showing any 'symptoms'. You mention that she is perky, walking, eating and enjoying herself. Unless of course, she has had a vaccination in the past few months that may have contributed to the formation of this mass, then there are a number of remedies that would be indicated.

Of course, seeking the help of a holistic veterinarian that can examine Lucy in 'person' and look at her x-ray and blood work would be ideal... a holistic vet could also give you another opinion and more information that may be able to help you make a decision.

In the meantime, I would advise feeding her the HEALTHIEST DIET. NO DRY DOG FOOD. A diet HIGH in protein and fat, and LOW in carbohydrates. This is because tumor cells thrive on sugar, or carbohydrates. The 'goal' would be to starve the tumor cells and continue to nourish the healthy cells in Lucy's body.

A diet such as a canned puppy food would be good. Or check our page on raw dog food diets.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO

Mar 21, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Internal Dog Tumor Deemed "Inconclusive" PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
Here is the rest of my response:

NO MORE VACCINATIONS!! (NOT EVEN RABIES)
According to Dr. Pitcairn, author of Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, vaccinating a dog with a tumor or cancer is like throwing gasoline on a fire.

You should ALSO start supplementing her with products for immune support. Such as Immuplex from Standard Process, 1 capsule opened and sprinkled into her food TWO times daily.

Also from Standard Process, try Canine Whole Body Support, dose is on the bottle according to her weight and it can be added to her food.
(Both are available on Amazon.com)

Additional good options include...

1. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder - Get the 8 oz size, add 1/8 tsp to her food two times daily.

2. Missing Link powder for dogs - Add 1/8-1/4 tsp to her food two times daily.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Mar 27, 2012
Thank you...
by: Jennifer

Dear Dr. Tillman,

Thank you for being more certain with me. I appreciate your directness and giving me advice from afar. I have gone back and forth on the issue, but given all the things you've said about her well being, not just the tumor, I'm moving ahead with the surgery. I live in a small area, so I'm not sure about board certification, but my vet has done this type of surgery before. Her surgery is scheduled for Monday, so please keep her in good thoughts.

Thank you, and I'll let you know how it goes.
Warm regards,
Jenn (and Lucy)

Mar 27, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Internal Dog Tumor Deemed "Inconclusive"
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jenn,

Yes, ALL of us at Organic Pet Digest will be sending healing prayers and good wishes for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for Lucy!

Please keep us posted, Jennifer.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman


Apr 03, 2012
Lucy Update
by: Jennifer

I'm happy to so far report Lucy's success! She had her surgery yesterday. The vet removed a 3 pound tumor and her spleen. I saw pictures (I have one if you want me to post it), and the poor little thing had this giant grapefruit growing in her tummy...it was HUGE!

I'm happy to report she made it through the surgery well. She spent the night at the vet's just to be sure she's stable. I go to pick her up this afternoon.

I'm hopeful and happy for her recovery. She's an older dog, but still have so much life in her. I went to visit her and she wagged her tail and was smiling indeed!

I wanted to say thank you to Dr. Tillman. I was uncertain about which direction to go with the idea of surgery given my local vet not being 100%, Lucy's age, and other factors. Because of Dr. Tillman's second opinion and advice, I went in feeling comfortable with my decision, no matter what the outcome. I hadn't considered the discomfort my Lucy must have been feeling, and now it's so obvious that the tumor needed to come out.

I will now take Dr. Tillman's advice about diet and supplements. I really appreciate this website and the advice. I'll keep you posted regarding her recovery.

Thanks again!
Jennifer

Apr 05, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Internal Dog Tumor Deemed "Inconvlusive"
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
Thank you so much for the update on Lucy. I am very happy to hear that she is doing so well. She must be much more comfortable now without that huge tumor!

Hopefully, it was a benign tumor, or have you received the results yet?

Please keep us posted on her recovery after this major surgery.

Come back to this page and click the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Canine Tumors (Dog Cancer),
- Dog Warts,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Canine Tumors/Dog Cancer Section


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