Tumours are very common in pets and most people find them frightening. As long as they are dealt with promptly, most of them need not be feared.
About half of tumours are benign and the only problems they pose relate to their size and position. They will generally require surgical removal. The most important thing is to tell which tumours are benign and which are malignant.
There is no way to tell if a tumour is benign or malignant without examining at least a few cells from it. Benign fatty tumours are very common, some dogs having several. However there are two malignant tumours which can look and feel exactly like them. The simplest way to check tumours is by Fine Needle Aspirate Biopsy in which a needle attached to a syringe is inserted into the tumour and cells sucked from it. These can be stained and examined under a microscope. This process is regularly undertaken at Ashleigh vets and several tumour types can be identified reliably.
It is sometimes necessary to send the cells away for expert examination to be sure. Sometimes the FNAB will give a good enough idea for reliable surgery and the complete tumour can be sent away for full examination.
More information about our pet cancer referral service can be found on our Pet Cancer Vet website.