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Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4125
Experience:  21 years small animal general and emergency practice
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I have a 5 & 1/2 year old Doberman male with 2 lumps. One

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I have a 5 & 1/2 year old Doberman male with 2 lumps. One is slightly smaller than a golf ball under his left front leg, and feels *faty-ish* the other is on his upper left chest area. just below his collar. This one is between a dime & nickel in size, circular, but flat (about a 1/4" in thickness) and can be grasped like the other, all around, but feels firmer.

My Vet feels it may be a Mast Cell, but feels the bigger one is less likely to be dangerous. I've done some reading, and am not convinced it can be a mast cell as it's *beneath* the skin. I'm not a Dr. Any advice would be appreciated. He's talking close to $1700 to have both removed. Very expensive surgery if both are benign.
Hello, and thanks for writing in.

Has your veterinarian performed a needle aspirate of the lumps, in order to look at the cells that make up the lumps?

Dr. Dave
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No he hasn't he suggests they aren't accurate, and that a biopsy will take so much of the tumour, we may as well take the whole thing out. Thanks Dr. Dave



Thanks for your reply and additional information.
Needle aspirates can sometimes yield very good results. Many times, lipomas (fatty tumors) and mast cell tumors can be diagnosed from needle aspirates. They are pretty quick and easy to do, and may help in guiding treatment. We almost always do needle aspirates before going further. But, sometimes needle aspirates don't give a diagnosis, and a biopsy or surgical removal of the lump, and sending it to a pathologist is needed to get a diagnosis.
Mast cell tumors are most common in the skin, but can arise from other areas. So, I would not assume it's not a mast cell tumor because of where it's located. Mast cell tumors can be serious and difficult to treat, so it's best to find out as soon as possible, if your veterinarian is suspicious of that. Personally, I would recommend a needle aspirate first, but since your veterinarian has actually examined Lex, they would be in the best position to decide what is best for him.

I encourage you to read a good article about mast cell tumors here:

I hope this helps.
Dr. Dave
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Our vet was worried that the tumor is too small to get an accurate sample as he fears he might pass through it,(with the needle) therefore not yielding an accurate sample. I'm no further ahead. Your right he examined him, and I will err on the possibility of something bad, bite the bullet, and have it removed. thanks for your speedy reply Dr. Dave



Your veterinarian is correct in that it's possible to not get an accurate representation of the actual growth with a needle aspirate, especially if the growth is small - you may just end up with a sample of the cells surrounding the growth. I also would not be as concerned about a possible fatty tumor, unless it's in an area that may cause possible problems (i.e. armpit, groin, neck, etc.), then it's best to get it removed, before it may start to cause problems (i.e. pushing on blood vessels, impeding mobility, etc.) It's hard for me to specifically comment on the price you mentioned, since costs can vary quite a bit from location to location. If you want to see if your veterinarian is comparably price, you could always call other local veterinary clinics to get an idea of their prices for a similar surgery (with the same things included). Please let me know if I can assist you and Lex further. Dr. Dave

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