I am so sorry to hear about your pup.
There are many reasons not to just tie of the mass, one of which is that it can be severely infected and be a big health challenge to your pup. In an animal this age, something more severe than a skin tag must be considered, especially if this mass is the size of your fist which seems a little large for a traditional skin tag.
I certainly understand money issues being tight. There is the possibility that with an office visit and a simple test called an aspirate and cytology, it may be possible to get a more precise idea of exactly what this mass is. It is important to do this because it will certainly help with giving you a prognosis and will help inform you of what to expect in the future.
With something like this, there are a lot of factors that can help give you an idea of how bad this mass might be. One of the things to consider is how fast is it growing. Are there masses anywhere else? How long has this mass been there? Has it progressed significantly?
BotXXXXX XXXXXne, given his age, and the size of this mass, he should see a veterinarian. With just a little time and not too much money you may be able to get a lot of information that will help you deal with his health as time progresses.
Best of Luck! Please let me know if you have any more questions.
Hello! The test that I am talking about is fairly straight forward. What happens is a needle is poked into the mass and cells from the mass are aspirated (sucked out). This is then spread onto a glass slide and looked at under a microscope. This is a fairly quick in house test. It doesn't always give the answer, but it is very possible that your veterinarian will get a good idea whether the mass is more likely to be "good" (benign) or bad (malignant). If it has been growing significantly over the past six months, it is more likely to be bad, and more likely to show some bad characteristics on the slide. Sometimes, we can actually tell what kind of tumor it is just by looking at these slides and that will be able to provide your veterinarian a better basis to give you a prognosis. The one on the front leg sounds like a skin tag that would be less worrying.
Yes, it is possible, depending on the size and location of the mass to have it removed. This will be significantly more expensive as he will likely need general anesthesia to have this done. The benefit to this is that the mass can then be sent to a pathologist (a sort of cancer expert) who can tell you exactly what kind of mass this is. Your veterinarian who can actually lay their hands on your animal will be able to give you a better idea on if he is a candidate for this surgery. Not having seen the mass, I am not in a good position to do that for you, I am sorry.
I hope this helps. I think you will find the cytology an easy and relatively pain free quick procedure for your pet that has the potential to give you a lot of information (but remember, this is not a guarantee that it will!)