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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5542
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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I have a 14 yr old black male Labrador (Scooter) who has a

Customer Question

I have a 14 yr old black male Labrador (Scooter) who has a hernia, (I believe from pictures I've seen), that hangs down underneath near his penis. It started pretty small at the age of 7 and now is big (3-4" X 6") My vet did not encourage surgery until last year! He NEVER took a needle aspiration of it & I always assumed it was a fatty cell mass. But looking at other lumps on YouTube, it looks just like a hernia. The vet on one of the films said that the dog he was doing surgery on had a hernia which included the dogs intestines in it! Scooter at 14 is definitely having trouble with arthritis but the hernia doesn't seem to bother him. He has a very sweet disposition & doesn't act like he's in pain whatsoever. He's able to walk around with ease. He does cry/bark when he needs my attention to help him get up stairs, can no longer jump up on my bed and he can no longer chew on hard bones. But he doesn't act like the mass is causing him any pain. Do you believe that he is too old to have surgery done? And if he doesn't have surgery, what will I be facing later on? Will this hernia turn into something horrible? Or will he more than likely die from old age? I'm not sure what to do. It is unsightly, but it's obvious so far that it is not causing any severe trouble. I need to prepare myself for any future complication this huge lump may impose on him. I would be willing to send a picture to you. I think my vet feels bad that he did not remove this 7 years ago. Your advise is greatly appreciated by myself & sweet Scooter. Sincerely, Suzie. ***@******.*** Thx for your advise!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Jess, I am sorry to hear about your dog! Do you know for certain now that it is a hernia? Has any imaging (x-ray or ultrasound) or aspirates been done to confirm this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. None. As I mentioned, I assumed it was a fatty lump & he never said or did anything else. We just watched it grow year after year. Then last year he wanted to remove it! I feel that the odds of surgery are against Scooter now at his age since he's not showing any discomfort from it. But, I do fear what I may be facing. I suppose I will put him down or risk surgery when & if it causes him pain. All of the big dogs I've had in the past are lucky to live past 14. I guess that's why I'm against the surgery because he is sooo sweet & docile. I guess I was curious to know what hernias will cause if left untreated...
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

So does your vet actually think this is a hernia? We can definitely see lipomas (fatty tumors) that can get very large, and they can be in this area of the body (anywhere really). They often don't cause any problems at all UNLESS they start to get so big that they are inhibiting movement of the limb because of their location. It can be tough to decide if we should do surgery because it is an easier surgery if the mass is small, but some masses end up staying small forever and never cause an issue- and we cannot predict what will happen in terms of growth! A hernia can be a different story, because there is risk of strangulation of the intestines if they are coming through the hernia. This is a more urgent surgery. But unless your vet has told you they think this is a hernia, I wouldn't jump to this conclusion. You could request that they do some testing to determine what it is (a needle aspirate and/or an x-ray).