Thank you for the prompt reply.
If they are planning on doing surgery, the bloodwork is most likely part of the pre-anesthetic work up to make sure that a dog of his age is able to handle the anesthesia without a problem. As far as the xrays and ultrasound, it is part of screening him to see if the cancer has spread to the vital organs as some cancers do, even if the primary mass is small. Common places for cancers to metastasize include the lungs and the liver or spleen. It is often recommend that before a surgery to remove the primary mass is performed, that we screen the other organs first to make sure there is not already evidence of spread of cancer. If there is, it dramatically changes the prognosis and one may decide not to put the pet through a surgery. In his case, since it is small, hopefully all will be negative, but some tumors spread pretty quickly.
When determining if a mass is benign or malignant, a piece of the tissue must be submitted for histopathologic diagnosis, which is best obtained by removing all or a piece of the mass. A needle aspirate can give an idea, but is not definitive enough in most cases to state for certain. When the surgery is not a major event, it is acceptable to wait until the diagnosis of benign or malignant to screen the other organs, but depending on how involved the surgery is or based on the certainty of the veterinarian, they may feel it better to screen the other organs before proceeding with the surgical procedure. If you are uncertain if you want to proceed with the pre-surgical screening, you can discuss this with the specialist and weigh out the pros and cons. It is not impossible that the mass is benign or even that it is not cancer at all, but they would have a much better idea based on appearance and would be better able to advise you.
It sounds as if you are working with someone who is on top of things. Good luck as you proceed and please keep me posted as to how things progress.
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