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Old 20.08.2019, 11:22
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Atheroma (skin growth/inflamed sebaceous) on Dog...treatment/surgery? Experiences?

We rushed to the vet yesterday, because we thought doglet had at least broken her tail...... sudden blood & mess galore in the living room and the tail had a funny shape.

Luckily, it turned out to be not as bad as that...... she had (unbeknownst to us, due to long-ish hair/bushy tail) developped an quail egg sized ATHEROMA that got infected and burst, hence the gory mess.

Apparently those growths are common in older dogs, above 8yrs of age and Lizzie has just turned 11 in summer.

Vet did what she had to do, cleaned the wound and rinsed the mess out, dressed the wound and doglet has to wear cone of shame now and obviously hates it.

We'll see a veterinary surgeon on Thursday, to discuss a possible surgical remove of that sebaceous gland, as after treatment (in particular emptying), they often fill up again with 'matter'.

Have any of you dog owners come across this problem too?

How bad could it get, resp. got it with your dog/s?

How did you proceed, surgery vs no surgery?
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Old 20.08.2019, 12:21
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Re: Atheroma on Dog...treatment/surgery? Your experiences?

Various members of the Muttley Crew have developed these, treatment has depended on:

The degree of certainty that it is indeed 'just' a benign cyst.
Whether or not the lump bothers the dog.
Whether or not the dog is a higher risk for anesthesia.
Whether or not the dog tends to be a cooperative patient.

Most of the lumps have clearly been sebaceous cycst or lipomas - both of which are benign. If the dog is not bothered by the lump - no chewing or licking the site, no interference with daily life - I tend to watch and wait. No sense in going through an invasive procedure in such cases.

If the lump is clearly a benign cyst but it bothers the dog, I'll have it emptied. With the cooperative dogs this can often be done without anesthesia.

About half of the cysts we have emptied did indeed fill up again. Some have had cysts emptied many times, as this is the least invasive option in these specific cases.

But if a cyst is continually reoccurring, and bothers the dog, and the dog is not at heightened risk for anesthesia, I usually decide to remove it after emptying it a couple of times. If removal is a quick easy procedure I might ask if it makes sense to do so in conjunction with another procedure needing anesthesia, such as teeth cleaning. (But not in a high risk dog, as the time under anesthesia is the largest risk factor.)

With the uncooperative dogs anesthesia is needed even for emptying, so I then have to weigh up the risk vs benefit. Whenever anesthesia is needed I go ahead and remove the cyst rather than just emptying it.

---

If there is any question that the lump could be something other than a benign cyst or lipoma, I want to investigate.

Often a biopsy makes sense with my cooperative dogs, as a needle biopsy is much less invasive than surgical removal. Depending on the results of the biopsy I might have it removed or continue watching and waiting.

With the uncooperative dogs anesthesia is needed, so at that point I remove the growth first and then send it off for biopsy.

---

I've only had one burst, this was perhaps 20 years ago. Like yours, it was a tail cyst hiding under all that collie plumage so I had no idea it was there. Looked like a scene from a horror film. So I empathize, it looks a lot worse than it (usually) is.

---

If the Cone Of Shame is really bothering Lizzie, you might try one of the inflatable tube collars. They are more comfortable. But if Lizzie is still quite flexible she might be able to get at a tail cyst even with the tube collar.

---

Sending cyber cuddles to Lizzie. Hope her recovery, whatever decision you make, is easy.
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Old 20.08.2019, 12:40
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Re: Atheroma on Dog...treatment/surgery? Your experiences?

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Various members of the Muttley Crew have developed these, treatment has depended on:

The degree of certainty that it is indeed 'just' a benign cyst.
Whether or not the lump bothers the dog.
Whether or not the dog is a higher risk for anesthesia.
Whether or not the dog tends to be a cooperative patient.

Most of the lumps have clearly been sebaceous cycst or lipomas - both of which are benign. If the dog is not bothered by the lump - no chewing or licking the site, no interference with daily life - I tend to watch and wait. No sense in going through an invasive procedure in such cases.

If the lump is clearly a benign cyst but it bothers the dog, I'll have it emptied. With the cooperative dogs this can often be done without anesthesia.

About half of the cysts we have emptied did indeed fill up again. Some have had cysts emptied many times, as this is the least invasive option in these specific cases.

But if a cyst is continually reoccurring, and bothers the dog, and the dog is not at heightened risk for anesthesia, I usually decide to remove it after emptying it a couple of times. If removal is a quick easy procedure I might ask if it makes sense to do so in conjunction with another procedure needing anesthesia, such as teeth cleaning. (But not in a high risk dog, as the time under anesthesia is the largest risk factor.)

With the uncooperative dogs anesthesia is needed even for emptying, so I then have to weigh up the risk vs benefit. Whenever anesthesia is needed I go ahead and remove the cyst rather than just emptying it.

---

If there is any question that the lump could be something other than a benign cyst or lipoma, I want to investigate.

Often a biopsy makes sense with my cooperative dogs, as a needle biopsy is much less invasive than surgical removal. Depending on the results of the biopsy I might have it removed or continue watching and waiting.

With the uncooperative dogs anesthesia is needed, so at that point I remove the growth first and then send it off for biopsy.

---

I've only had one burst, this was perhaps 20 years ago. Like yours, it was a tail cyst hiding under all that collie plumage so I had no idea it was there. Looked like a scene from a horror film. So I empathize, it looks a lot worse than it (usually) is.

---

If the Cone Of Shame is really bothering Lizzie, you might try one of the inflatable tube collars. They are more comfortable. But if Lizzie is still quite flexible she might be able to get at a tail cyst even with the tube collar.

---

Sending cyber cuddles to Lizzie. Hope her recovery, whatever decision you make, is easy.

THANK YOU !! xx

This is the info I was after from other dog owners.

It was a first for us, and yes you are right with the Horrorfilm comparison, now I can laugh about it, but yesterday.......not at all.


I have now informed myself thoroughly or as thorough as I can about the medical side of it (it helps to have trained in nursing many moons ago).

Most certainly we will discuss the matter with the veterinary surgeon on Thursday.- The on call vet yesterday said by the pure looks of it she thinks it is a benign growth.

If we (me and kid#3, her fave pup ) are present and hold her tightly it should work in future to empty that blasted thing without anaesthesia since it is situated on the middle of her tail. But if she should get other such growths elsewhere on her body, then most certainly she would need anaesthesia. She is not the best of patients.........

Thanks again, meloncollie, you ARE a gem
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Old 20.08.2019, 14:55
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Re: Atheroma on Dog...treatment/surgery? Your experiences?

Totally agree with meloncollie's post.

My last dog (also named Lizzie ) had a cyst on the outer thigh of her hind leg which was the size of a walnut. The biopsy showed it to be benign and it didn't bother her, so it was left alone. About four years later, it developed an offshoot which was the size of a grain of rice and also benign, but she began to gnaw at it. Shortly afterwards, Lizzie had to have a cruciate ligament operation so her wonderful vet decided to remove the cysts at the same time.

During her recovery, I moved the furniture to the sides of the room, put a baby gate on the bottom of the stairs and slept on the sofa to keep an eye on her. Lizzie was a good patient and adored her vet, but even though I laid newspaper on the tiled conservatory floor, she would bang the Elizabethan collar on the patio doors until I let her outside.
Luckily, she never developed another cyst, but my friend has a 5yr old working spaniel who has already had 3 cysts removed.

Hope your Lizzie makes a speedy recovery.
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Old 22.08.2019, 12:38
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Re: Atheroma on Dog...treatment/surgery? Your experiences?

Update on Lizzie

I thought, I keep on updating this thread on what goes on here in regard to treatment of that blasted atheroma thing. Maybe sometime in the future another dog owner has a similar problem….

We had a follow up appt this morning with the veterinary surgeon. The treatment goes on as follows:

Washing that wound and the swelling 2x a day, massage or squeeze out any goo that still might be in the gland and disinfect, leave uncovered (no bandages). The goo is NOT pus in her case but sebaceous matter.

She is on antibiotics for another 4 days, has also got anti-inflammatory drugs and I have to subcutaneously inject her with a 2nd (homeopathic) anti-swelling and anti- inflammatory drug in 24 resp. 48 hrs.

All this should lead to reduce the swelling and inflammation, as well as the healing of the wound. In ten days we’ve another appointment (unless there is a change for the worse) and then we can hopefully discuss the option of surgery.

Cone of shame stays on for the foreseeable 😊
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Old 22.08.2019, 12:47
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Re: Atheroma on Dog...treatment/surgery? Your experiences?

Read this as aroma therapy on dog.....


Good luck to Lizzie, hope she is well soon!
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Old 22.08.2019, 13:03
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Re: Atheroma on Dog...treatment/surgery? Your experiences?

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Read this as aroma therapy on dog.....


Good luck to Lizzie, hope she is well soon!

ROFLMAO!!! Thanks for the guffaw of the day!
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Old 03.09.2019, 10:10
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Re: Atheroma (skin growth/inflamed sebaceous) on Dog...treatment/surgery? Experiences

Update, been to the vet yesterday.

The sebaceous gland really is a nasty bugger!!

The initial growth has calmed down after lot of care and daily wound treatment from me. However, it spread to the side of the (initial) big swelling and fills there with matter. But luckily is not inflamed!

Vet took a little material with a syringe out of it and it will be examined cytologically, determing if this things is benign or malign.

1st case, benign, trying to get it to heal completely with ongoing wound treatment from me

2nd case malign, imediate amputation of half of the tail , also an option if there is no proper healing within a month of further treatment.

Amputation of the tail......not something I look forward to honestly and not for cosmetic reasons, not at all!!

A dog's tail is an important means of communication between dogs, she as a former feral dog, has already some problems with that ....
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Old 03.09.2019, 12:54
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Re: Atheroma (skin growth/inflamed sebaceous) on Dog...treatment/surgery? Experiences

I'm sorry to hear that this is becoming more complicated, EE. Your poor girl, please give Lizzy a gentle hug from me.

A few random thoughts:

If the biopsy is malignant (and we are all sitting here knocking wood that it isn't), don't be afraid of amputation. While I have not been through a tail amputation with my own dogs, one of the dogs at the rescue I volunteer with needed a tail amptuation - and recovered very well.

(My one experience with amputation was Haifisch's leg, and honestly- that was one of the easiest recoveries of all the surgeries my crew have been through.)

With the tail amputation the rescue staff were concerned, like you, of an impact on this dog's ability to communicate, as she already had socialization issues. So the staff were careful in managing encounters with other dogs until they could see an improvement in other forms of body language. On the whole, though, it was felt that the lack of a tail didn't much change her social skills.

Also, if it comes to a question of amputation, do look for a second opinion. That's not to cast doubt on your vet, not at all, but rather for peace of mind that all options have been explored. A good choice might be UniBe, if you are within traveling distance.

FYI, if a tail amputation is necessary, and if you anticipate traveling outside Switzerland with Lizzie, you would need to apply to the Veterinäramt for a dispensation from the docked dogs importation ban. That will of course be granted as this is a medical necessity, no worries there - but there is paperwork to do. So keep the medical reports to hand, and have the doctor write up a letter to the Veterinäramt.

But we are getting waaaaaaaay ahead of ourselves here. Hopefully it will not come to that, the cyst will be benign, and can be removed.

I so hope that the cyst turns out to be benign - keeping all fingers, toes, paws, and dewclaws here crossed for a good outcome for Lizzie.
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Old 03.09.2019, 13:18
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Re: Atheroma (skin growth/inflamed sebaceous) on Dog...treatment/surgery? Experiences

I hope she is all ok!

I had to have my cat's tail amputated, she broke/dislocated it somehow. Not exactly the same as a dog, but she was absolutely fine afterwards.
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