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DrJessicaO, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1062
Experience:  7 years of private practice with dogs, cats, exotics, pocket pets, etc
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my dog just had a needle aspiration today for a very small

Customer Question

my dog just had a needle aspiration today for a very small nodule on the right side of her body. at first it appeared to be a lipoma but because of a large amount of swelling as well as blood showing up on the sample the vet deceided to send the sample to a lab for a report within the last month she was operated on for a mast cell tumor that was completely removed and was low grade. I am worried; the lab report is due back tomorrow and am not certain what else "bad" it could be. any thoughts? she is a 10 year old female spayed mini schnauzer. thank you
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 6 years ago.
Hi there,
What laboratory report is due back tomorrow? Can you please clarify?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the lab report from the needle aspiration that was taken on the small nodule on the right side of her body
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 6 years ago.
Ok, so the low grade mast cell tumor completely removed was a separate tumor that was removed a month ago?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
yes i think (at least according to the vet) we are done with that one clean margins low grade low mitotic(sp) index. THIS IS ANOTHER SUBCUTANEOUS LUMP JUST DISCOVERED YESTERDAY, OFF TO VET FOR BIOPSY TODAY) THANK YOU
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 6 years ago.
Ok, I understand- I apologize for my confusion. What we know about dogs that develop a mast cell tumor is that the dog will be predisposed to developing additional mast cell tumors in other areas throughout the course of his/her life. These tumors are individual entities- they do not spread from a primary site (in the case of low grade disease). We also know that mast cell tumors are the great imitators in that they can look like anything- in fact, it is very common for mast cell tumors to be mistaken for lipomas. They bleed profusely when they are aspirated (more so than any other tumors) AND schnauzers are at very high risk. With all of this information, even though I cannot diagnose without seeing this patient, the most logical assumption is that this is likely a mast cell tumor. It will also likely be a low grade mast cell tumor based on the history. Of course there is always a possibility that it is something else, such as a soft tissue sarcoma (that can also potentially be cured with surgery alone) or a benign cyst. A worse case would be something like a melanoma, but even these tumors have a wide range of biological behavior and can potentially act relatively benign when confined to the skin. I hope this information helps.
-Dr. Jessica
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
thank you the vet did show me the slides, (there were three of them) the first one showed no blood, just a clear substance that i was told resembled a lipoma, the second slide had a lot of blood on it, and the third slide had mostly the clear substance and a bit of blood. what caused the vet to raise an eyebrow was the fact that the location became VERY SWOLLEN right after the aspiration (i believe that is consistent with MCT?). the swelling has since gone down and all that can be felt at this time is the small nodule. Is it common for the sight to become so swollen, and is that indicative of any particular type of tumor? thanks
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 6 years ago.
Yes, that is actually indicative of a mast cell tumor. These tumors release histamines so when they are aspirated and aggravated they can swell up very quickly then immediately change in size. Of course, if this was simply a cyst, the aspirate may have drained it and caused it to deflate. The thing that is unusual about this is that typically mast cells exfoliate into the needle very well. So when you poke them with a needle, slides typically show obvious SHEETS of mast cells under a scope. That may make me believe this could be something as simple as a cyst. As an aside, there is a type of soft tissue sarcoma that does not exfoliate well (tends to be difficult to diagnose on aspirate) and may bleed when aspirated- it is a subcutaneous hemangiosarcoma. These can potentially spread to lymph nodes but many are controlled with surgery alone (again, the behavior varies so much but the biopsy can help better class it as higher or lower grade).
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

thx last part of question what are the other features of the subcutaneous hemangiosarcoma. also what types of dogs are prediposed to them? i just did a little reading on them and they can be very dangerous are they common?

Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 6 years ago.
About 60% of subcut hemangiosarcomas have the potential of spreading to other parts of the body such as lymph nodes. These can potentially look like anything and although they do not exfoliate well into the needle, you typically see scattered "mesenchymal" cells (this just looks like a cell with a tail) under the microscope. Any breed can get these but goldens seem to be most predisposed- to my knowledge, schnauzers have no predisposition. Hemangiosarcomas as a group are relatively common (these can occur elsewhere in the body) but subcutaneous hemangiosarcomas are not nearly as common as something like a mast cell tumor.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
thank you i so much hope this is not a hemangiosarcoma,
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Lab report came back and concluded benign (that blood had no cancer cells in it). here is my question now: I am still concerned, based on all I read and know that needle aspiration is not terribly accurate. should I have the nodule re aspirated, or is that an over kill. PLUS, my pet has SO many cutaneous, and sub cutaneous growths. Should I have all of them aspirated. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 6 years ago.
Hi there,
I am so happy for you but I agree that aspirate is never 100%. However, if they pathologist that reviewed the sample was confident that this was benign and no evidence of malignancy was seen, I would trust that report. If there is any question, they will report something like "inconclusive" or "although this appears to be a benign lesion, we cannot completely rule out malignancy", etc. So I would trust the report unless this tumor changes in the future, grows, etc in which case I would just have it removed and sent in for biopsy (which is much more conclusive).
Unfortunately for this breed they are predisposed to adenomas (benign wart-like lesions) but they can also develop mast cells and mast cell tumors are the great imitators (they can look like anything). My personal opinion is that all skin tumors should be aspirated and if there is any suspicion of malignancy, they should be removed no matter how "low grade" they appear under a microscope. I hope this information helps you. :)