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petdrz., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7367
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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Took my 6 yr. old lab for yearly shots today and there is a

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Took my 6 yr. old lab for yearly shots today and there is a (soft) lump right above her shoulder blade. It seems to have come out of nowhere. The vet wants to do surgery before a needle aspirate. Is this recommended?
Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Maggie today. I'm a veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy to work with you.

I cannot understand why your vet would not want to do a needle aspirate first. Even if they felt confident the mass was something that needed to come off (versus a more benign type mass) I can see not reason why a needle aspirate would not be done other than the added expense. In fact, a needle aspirate can sometimes plan how wide the surgical margins need to be when you do go ahead and remove the mass. This can be very helpful in some cases.

While it is true that a needle aspirate will not always give the information you need to make a definitive diagnosis, it is thought of to be a good first step in most cases. It might be a good idea to question your vet to see why they believe this is not the case for Maggie.

I hope this is helpful. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me when you are done. Thank you for allowing me to assist you.

Dr Z

petdrz. and 6 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you kindly for the positive rating. It is truly appreciated.

Please keep me posted as to how things progress for Maggie.
Hi Andrea,

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

Dr. Z.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Dr. Z,

Thank you for following up. We took Maggie for a 2nd opinion and they've

done a needle aspirate. The Dr. is confident that it just a fatty growth, but will keep on eye on it.

Given that it is close to her shoulder, it will probably be removed eventually.

The concern is that it will grow and restrict her shoulder movement. However, it seems we can wait a bit.

Thanks again,


Thank you for the follow up. What a relief it must be to you to know that it is a benign fatty tumor. We see those quite frequently in my hospital, but until I have confirmed with a needle aspirate, I am always anxious. Now you can rest easy!

If you have any questions in the future that I may help you with, ask for Dr Z in the question title or see my profile to request me. You can save my profile to your browser favorites with this link:

Have a great week!

Dr Z
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. We're not out of the wood yet. We are waiting (with fingers crossed) for the Dr. to phone us back with the lab results. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks so much for your concern.


I will cross fingers as well. In most cases, you can have a pretty good idea of it all you are dealing with is a fatty tumor based on show the aspirate smears out on the slide, but you are right that once you get that call, it will be a relief.