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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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My dog has had a plum size lump on the base of his tail

Customer Question

My dog has had a plum size lump on the base of his tail where it joins his body. It's been there for ages and my vet says all they can do is remove his tail. It's not cancerous but it must be very itch as he chews on it and it bleeds. It just feels like a blood filled lump. When it's not bleeding it has a tiny pin head size area which almost looks like a thorn could be inside it. I really don't want to have his tail amputated have you any ideas?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Veterinarian. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Fleas?
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about your dog?
Customer: He doesn't have fleas
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 12 months ago.

Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 16 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.

This poor guy. This is a common area for dogs to get masses. I can but lend an opinion on what I might recommend in this situation, having removed many masses in this area (and amputated tails). If the mass is diagnosed to be non-cancerous as based on fine needle aspiration (to a board certified pathologist at the lab) and/or biopsy, then unless radiographs (X-rays) indicate bony involvement in the mass, there is no reason to amputate the tail. That being said, this is a tricky area to do surgery and your vet may be suggesting amputation as this is going to be the easiest option to adequately close the surgical site from his/her experience. IF that is the case, then before having amputation performed I would recommend you get a referral to see your closest board certified veterinary surgeon to consult with having just the mass removed. There are special flap closure techniques the surgeon can perform to maintain the tail that your vet may not be familiar with. Again, this is a super tough area to do a big surgery since there is not a lot of skin afterward to close and high risk for the surgical site to fall apart given high mobility (from wagging) and the pressure on the incision site.

On the other hand, if there is any suggestion based on biopsy or needle aspiration this may be cancerous (e.g., mast cell tumor) then amputation would be very reasonable to get the tissue margins needed and this should be done sooner rather than later. One option for cancerous tumors to try to preserve the tail when bone is not involved is to see an oncologist for radiation or heat therapy to shrink the tumor first and then have a surgery later when the mass is smaller.

I am at a point I need to know what questions you have. I hope that the information I provided has been helpful.

Please let me know if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer.

If you received all the information you needed, then kindly submit a rating.

Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 11 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Joey