Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Dog lumps and bumps: What happens at followup veterinary appointments
Yup, Liam is so cheerful that he even enjoys visiting the veterinarian.
But I had a few worries about this appointment.
For about a year, I've been keeping an eye on a lump I found on Liam's left shoulder. (I first wrote about it here.) When I first felt that bump, I whipped Liam in for an appointment. And this was his followup visit for that bump.
Liam wasn't alone in his visit, either. Sinead also had to come in for a visit, for a bump I've been monitoring on her forehead. You can see it clearly (as long as I don't remove it with Photoshop, that is.)
The first visit for a dog lump or bump is always the scariest. Typically, the team measures how big the bump is, and they take exact measurements to determine just where the bump is on the dog's body. Knowing that Sinead's bump is an inch from her eye, for example, makes it easier to track.
When all the measurements are done, the team then pushes a tiny needle into the lump and pulls out a sample. Any fluid or tissue in that sample is squirted onto a slide, and then the goo is stained and examined. If anything suspicious shows up, intensive testing involving biopsies is typically the next step.
I've been through those steps with both of these bumps. But that doesn't mean I can relax. Followups are also really vital.
Once a year, my veterinarian likes to re-examine these lumps and bumps. He's ensuring that they haven't grown, moved, changed color or done something else unusual. And, he pinches and pushes them, just to ensure that they aren't causing the dogs pain or discomfort.
I'll admit that I worry before these appointments. It's hard to watch the dogs get poked and pushed and measured, and I'm always worried that the appointments will flag up something bad. But so far, I've been lucky. These lumps are both benign, not moving and not changing. So this appointment came with no bad news.
But next year? I'll be back. Just to check things out again.