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smanimalvet, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1111
Experience:  Practicing vet with focus on advanced medicine and surgery.
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I just got a chest xray on my dog and she has a huge mass in

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I just got a chest xray on my dog and she has a huge mass in her chest compressing on her lungs and pressing her heart forward. (I have a digital copy of the xray available) Looking for advise on next step and second opinion.

Is the mass growing on the heart itself, or has that not been determined?

What has your vet recommended?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

The vet didnt mention anything much about Sheeba's heart, she was mostly concerned with her lungs. She would not give me a recommendation only said she could refer us for ultrasound to see if operable or put her down soon. I have little money and my dog means the world to me so I am trying to see if I have any options.

Thank you for getting back to me. I'm sorry that you and your dog are going through this. It must be a horrible shock to get this news so unexpectedly. Unfortunately, you won't know your options without further testing. The best way to find out the exact type of mass and your dog's prognosis is to see a specialist. Either a veterinary oncologist or cardiologist would probably be able to help. I can give you a little information on cardiac tumors. There are two types of tumors that commonly occur on the heart. One is hemangiosarcoma. This cancer often starts elsewhere in the body, and by the time it has spread to the heart, the prognosis is not good. The other type is called an aortic body tumor. This type can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are most common. A surgical technique called palliative pericardectomy can be performed. It is removal of as much of the tumor as possible. Dogs that have this procedure survive on average for nearly two more years. Before knowing if the procedure would help, the type of tumor your dog has would have to be determined. Less commonly, benign lipomas can occur in the chest. Sometimes they can be surgically removed, solving the problem. The following site has much information on diagnosis and treatment:

Specialists are usually found at veterinary teaching hospitals. I understand having financial constraints and being faced with such heartbreaking news. Some hospitals will arrange a schedule of monthly payments. There is a reputable company called Care Credit that offers low-interest loans for medical care, including for pets. Here is a link to their site:

There are also groups that offer grants in certain states and for specific breeds. If you'll give me your state and your dog's breed, I'll check on that for you. There would be no additional fee for that - I want to help you, so don't hesitate to ask.

If you have other questions, or want me to check further on financial help, just click on REPLY.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: wasnt the expert advise i was hoping for. i got all the same info already.
wasnt the expert advise i was hoping for. i got all the same info already
Regardless of what type of mass this, surgery is the only chance your dog has. But you have to know what kind of tumor this is, and if it's even operable. I'm going to opt out of your question, which opens it up to other experts. Perhaps another expert will be able to help you.

I'll be hoping for the best possible outcome for your dog.


Hi There-


Can you post the x-ray?


Dr. B

Customer: replied 6 years ago.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for getting back to me.


That is a pretty nasty looking x-ray to say the least. There are a couple of things that have have me worried. As you can tell and your vet has probably told you, the biggest concern is that she sheer size of this mass is literally compressing everything, decreasing the functional area for the lungs to work and could potentially cause her to suffocate. From the views you posted, though its hard to tell without seeing other views, this does not look like a heart based mass and it actually does not really look like a lung-based mass but again, I would need at least one other view to determine it. there is also fluid in the lungs as well. In that area, it could be a lymph node or thymic tumor, abscess, etc. Here is how I would proceed:

I would have your vet take an aspirate of this. With the size and location, this actually would be quite easy and isn't very expensive. Send it off to the lab and see what it is. There is a possibility that, if it is a thymic tumor, surgery would be curative. If it does turn out to be a lung mass, and is primary, then surgery could be curative as well. Aspirates usually take 1-3 days to get back so the sooner the better.


Its hard for me to send you into surgery not knowing what this is or to tell you a treatment plan. This is not an easy surgery, I will tell you that but a dog who is 7 years old, may have a long life to live if the surgery is successful.


I hope that helps a little bit. It isn't an easy decision to make, but you may found that by figuring out what it is first, you can then have a clearer decision to make.


Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Dr. B

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Dr B

Thank you so much for your advice. I decided to get a second opinion tomorrow, Now my vet said my next step should be an ultrasound, what is your toughts on that? I will ask about the aspirate while I am there, I would have never known to ask that, thanks. Did either of the other views help you at all? I am really trying to be clear headed about this, If she isn't able to be saved with a quality of life then I will let her go but I couldn't see giving up on my first try.

If your vet is going to do an ultrasound, then he/she should get an aspirate at the same time. They can use the ultrasound to guide the aspirate which is absolutely the best way to get the best sample for the lab.


Yes, the view from the top helped. I would also need the view from the other side but your vet may not have taken this view. The ultrasound should give you some more information, hopefully about the origin of the mass and the make-up of it but chest ultrasounds in that area are hard at best.


I understand where you are coming from and I will be straight forward with you. Depending on what is found, your two options are going to be surgery and to consider putting he to sleep. A mass this big will take some time to respond to any types of medications and she will suffer during that time. If it is a serious diagnosis then I would consider putting her to sleep but I, like you, need all the facts and I love that you re willing to at least give her a fighting might be surprised!

smanimalvet, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1111
Experience: Practicing vet with focus on advanced medicine and surgery.
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