Old dogs with growing subcutaneous tumours may die under anaesthesia. Tumours keep growing to irritate the dog as they become infected. It is very difficult for the owner to take the risk as deaths on the operating table do occur in old dogs.
Different vets and doctors have different approaches to the treatment of tumours.
1. One approach is to do a fine needle aspiration and then a surgical biopsy of the tumour to be sent to the histopathologist to determine if the growth is cancerous or not.
If it is not cancerous, everyone is happy.
Unfortunately, the histopathologist takes time to reply the findings. In some cases, the fine needle aspiration is not useful. So, the histopathologist asks for a surgical biopsy. Time is needed and it may take two weeks to get the reply.
If the tumour is malignant but has not metastasized (spread to other parts of the body), the time taken by the histopathologist permits the tumour to spread.
2. Another approach is to excise the lump including a wide margin in case the lump is cancerous. This is known as radical excision. After surgical removal, the lump is sent to the histopathologist for a report as to whether it is benign, malignant or just an infection.
I prefer this method and have used it in this old Pomeranian. Fortunately she has a benign adenoma.