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Comprehensive explanations of difficult pet health problems.


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My dog has a benign tumor that is growing quite large and if removed will just regrow. I don’t know if we should see an oncologist or not. Please help us decide.


My 8-year-old Border Collie had a tumor removed from her head by my vet. The biopsy stated that a multi-lobular tumor was attached to the flat bone towards the back of the skull. It is benign with a slow mitotic growth rate. Prognosis: It will most likely grow back, especially since it could not be completely removed and who knows what is under the skull. The tumor has now grown back to 1.5 times its original size. My vet recommended we see an oncologist. We are considering not going because of the prognosis (not responsive to radiation and highly likely to come back after surgery). My vet says the best case scenario my dog has about a year to live. We are concerned that like treatment would put my dog through a lot more tests and possibly procedures that won’t sustain her quality of life. I want to love her now, and then put her to rest before she suffers. Assuming her lungs are clear, should I talk to an oncologist or a neurologist at this point?


I agree that radiographs of the lungs are a good idea to rule out metastasis. The main question you are asking involves a very personal decision with your family. There are no right or wrong or “stupid” decisions in this situation. The right thing to do depends on what you think is best for you and your pet.

My personal suggestion for you would be to have a consultation with an oncologist. You don’t have to agree to any procedures or diagnostics. As oncologists are experts in their field, their advice can be very helpful. Maybe you will decide there is nothing else to do but spend quality time at home until humane euthanasia is needed. However, maybe the oncologist will provide you with an option you had not considered before and are interested in. At a minimum, an oncologist appointment will give you the peace of mind that you explored every option and chose what was best for you and your pet. If you decide to forgo the oncology appointment, no one will think you are making a bad decision. There is not a wrong choice in these difficult situations.

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