According to Veterinary Pet Insurance’s Top 10 most common causes of Veterinary visits in 2013, non-cancerous skin growths made number 3 on the list in dogs. In fact, VPI goes on to say that non-cancerous skin growths were the most expensive condition on the list, costing an average of $342 per pet.
Dr. Anna Coffin says the first step is identifying skin growths on your pet. Any lump or bump that you find on your pet’s skin is abnormal and should be seen by a Guthrie veterinarian if it persists for more than one week. Skin growths that change rapidly in size, shape or color should be seen as soon as possible. [Tweet “Skin growths that change rapidly in size, shape or color should be seen as soon as possible. “]
Once our clients have identified skin growths on their pet, there are several things that will occur at our Guthrie veterinary clinic to diagnose the skin growths. A full comprehensive exam will be performed, checking out every major system on your pet’s body. While looking at the growth is the reason for your visit, looking at the whole body will help us determine if there are more lesions or if there is lymph node enlargement. During the visit, it is also important to note where the skin growths are located and its size. This allows us to determine any change in the skin growths at a later time.
Many veterinarians can make an educated guess on what the skin growths are based on the look and feel of the mass. However, there are only 2 ways to actually diagnose what it is:
Fine needle aspirate: This test requires taking a small diameter needle and sticking the mass several times. The tissue that is obtained within the needle is then blown out onto a slide, stained and viewed under the microscope.
- test can be performed in the exam room
- no anesthesia required
- test results received the same day or next day*
- can occasionally be inconclusive due to small sample size
*Dr. Anna Coffin and most general practitioners are able to identify the most common types of skin growths, but occasionally they may need to send the slide to the lab for review by a clinical pathologist.
Histopathology: This is a test performed by on outside laboratory on a larger sample size of the skin growths. The entire mass can be removed or a biopsy of the mass can be sent to the pathologist for review.
- more invasive
- more expensive
- needs to be performed in surgery
- requires anesthesia
- test results received in 5-7 days
If your pet has a mass, it really is best to have your veterinarian perform one of these test. Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian to do these test because appropriate treatment and improved outcome should be based on a definitive diagnosis.
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Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family. Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four legged friend as part of the family.