DEAR DR. FOX: I would like to talk about my dog Riley, and the fatty tumor on her back leg. She is old and fat, and has many fatty tumors on her.
One tumor was hanging from her back leg and looked like it was going to come off. She had been licking it like it was bothering her, then she bit it and it won’t stop bleeding. We put a cone on her so she won’t bite it or lick it anymore, and we put some stuff on it so if she does bite it, she will get a bitter taste.
She is 15 years old and if she goes into surgery, she won’t make it. It’s just hard because we don’t know what to do, and she is losing so much blood. The vet can’t do anything, either, without her dying. I really need your help. -- E.M., Chicago
DEAR E.M.: This is an emergency, and you need to take the risk with a competent veterinary anesthesiologist and soft-tissue surgeon to get this tumor removed. Along with the cone around her neck, this tumor is diminishing her quality of life with chronic discomfort.
I will not berate you for waiting too long to have this and other growths removed when your dog was younger and less of a surgical/anesthetic risk. Close relatives of ours kept putting it off with their dog, whose fatty tumor on the flank reached 6 pounds (the dog weighed 35 pounds). The dog was 12 years old, and considered by one veterinarian to be too old for surgery. But after a second opinion and a good surgical team, the growth was removed and the dog enjoyed a full recovery and freedom of movement for another five good years!
E.M. REPLIES: We just took her to the vet and they said that the tumor is cancerous. If she can’t walk anymore, then we have to put her down. Today she could barely get up, and her tumor won’t stop bleeding. We are taking her to the vet again today, but I think it’s time.
DEAR E.M.: My sympathies go out to you and all. This is always a difficult decision, which might have been made earlier if a biopsy on this apparently malignant growth had been conducted.
Recent surveys indicate than 50 percent of dogs aged 10 and over will develop cancer sometime in their lives. This is a sad reflection of what we have done, and continue to do, to ourselves and our loved ones, human and nonhuman, as we poison the planet more and more.
FRENCH BULLDOGS PRONE TO MULTIPLE DISEASES, VETERINARIANS SAY
French bulldogs are especially prone to skin-fold dermatitis, brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, ear infections, diarrhea and conjunctivitis, according to a study published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.
The breed is rapidly becoming one of the most popular in the U.K., giving rise to irresponsible breeding and smuggling, as well as high veterinary costs to treat the issues associated with the breed’s characteristic morphology, said lead author and veterinary epidemiologist Dan O’Neill. (The Telegraph, London, May 3)
They are also rocketing in popularity in the U.S. and other consumer-driven countries, where people’s disposable incomes continue to be misspent and contribute to animal suffering. For dog’s sake, go out and adopt one from your local shelter.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
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