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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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My 10 year old Maltese poodle has been diagnosed with cancer

Customer Question

My 10 year old Maltese poodle has been diagnosed with cancer and she is getting fluids in her chest
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm so sorry that you're going through this troubling time with your pup. I'd like to get some more information on the situation so that I can answer your questions most thoroughly.

  • On what basis was the diagnosis of cancer made?
  • What type of cancer was diagnosed?
  • How is she feeling? What symptoms is she having?
  • What sort of specialist are you scheduled to see? I'm guessing an oncologist but I want to be sure
  • Also - what questions can I answer for you?

~Dr. Sara

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Dr. Sara,
Tinkerbell had two lumps taken from her chest two years ok. She had a partial mastectomy. She has been fine since, a couple days ago she was breathing different. So I took her to the vet and we did xrays, she has fluid around the chest area and a lump in her lung (the xray shows slight discoloring in the lung) They tapped her chest and pulled a little fluid.What tests should I be asking my vet to do? An ultrasound? How many times can I get her chest tapped or can they do a valve, I read about that. Other than that she is 100% healthy, eating playing drinking running around. I am not sure what to do and just need some advice.
Thank you
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the extra information - that helps a lot. Depending on what exactly those masses were that were taken off a couple of years ago, they may or may not be related. Some types of mammary tumors and other skin and subcutaneous tumors can metastasize to the lungs and cause disease there. If your vet saw a mass lesion in the lung and also found some fluid, then the odds are significant that this is "bad disease". The next step for working this up is likely going to involve referral to a specialty hospital if you want to go that route. One thing that your vet can do in house, though, is send a sample of that fluid from the chest out to the lab for culture and cytology. I will tell you that frequently we can't get a diagnosis that way - the cytology will come back with general inflammation or with nonspecific info, however, occasionally they will find cancerous cells in the fluid that can get you an answer. If that doesn't yield any helpful info, then you're probably going to need to take her to a larger hospital that can perform a thorough ultrasound. If that mass is accessible with ultrasound guidance, they could potentially sample it with a needle aspiration, but there's a lot of "if's" there. Another diagnostic that can be helpful here is a CT or MRI scan. Unfortunately the cost of these diagnostics definitely add up and you could be looking at spending a thousand dollars or more to get a diagnosis that isn't ultimately treatable. In light of that, it's reasonable to consider palliative care - that is keeping her happy and comfortable for as long as possible. It's great that right now she's feeling fine - the goal of palliative care is to keep them that way for as long as possible.

Please let me know what other questions I can answer for you.

~Dr. Sara


My goal is to provide you with the most complete and accurate “five star” answer. If my answer isn’t what you were expecting, it’s incomplete, or you have more questions PLEASE REPLY to let me know what information you are looking for BEFORE giving me a negative rating! If my answer has been helpful to you, please show me by giving me a favorable rating. Thank you so much :)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Dr
We did get it tested and it is cancer. My plan is to keep her comfortable as long as I can. Thank you for confirming what I thought.
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

I think that your plan to keep her comfortable is very reasonable and agree with your decision. I'm sorry that I couldn't give you better news. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions or help again.

~Dr. Sara


My goal is to provide you with the most complete and accurate “five star” answer. If my answer has been helpful to you, please show me by giving me a favorable rating. Thank you so much :)

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about ***** *****. How is everything going?
Doc Sara