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Old 02-26-2014, 08:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cancer, surgery, and epilepsy

Dakota most likely has cancer. I found a lump on his neck and it grew pretty fast. It is hard. We took him to the vet and they took a sample but it wasn't a definitive result.

So we are trying to decide if we should have the mass removed. However, he is just under 10 years old, has epilepsy (but has been seizure free for almost 4 years). The vet obviously can't tell us what to decide, and neither can you, but I do know that there are risks with his age and surgery,as well as him having seizures during the surgery from the anesthetic. However, the vet also told me that the chance for a seizure will be lowered after surgery, forever. That to me sounds wrong. I would think that after the anesthetic wore off the chance went back to normal.

So my questions:
  • Has anyone had a dog that had a cancerous mass removed and was cured?
  • Does anybody have experience with surgery on an epileptic dog or have any information about it?
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Before you make a decision about the mass removal, have you had x-rays to see if the cancer has spread? When our vet suspected cancer on our previous dog, she x-rayed the lungs, and unfortunately you could see cancer growths everywhere, so the mass removal was pointless.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh, I am so sorry!

Vets generally don't like putting epileptic dogs under anesthesia unless it is absolutely necessary.

If the biopsy was inconclusive, you way want to go to a specialists to try again before making any decision on the operation.

You mentioned that the lump is a hard lump, is it connected to the bone or can you feel that it is free moving? If the latter, it could be calcinosis.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oops, I just re-read your OP and noticed that that you mention the lump is on the neck. I am pretty sure that is not a common location for calcinosis... Sorry, didn't mean to lead you on a wild goose chase.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My vet spayed some fosters that had seizures. He said he would select the most suitable anesthetic and he said that the sedative reduces the likelihood. There were no problems. I would do the surgery if the dog is good candidate.
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If it will be curative, there is the opportunity for good, clean margins and the skin to cover it, a lung x-ray is clear, bloodwork and urinalysis looks good, the dog is healthy, active otherwise, and the anesthesia is suitable, I would do it.

I would possibly get a second opinion (even if only to address that one odd comment), and definitely ask for a thorough lump check while the dog was under. Some places have an anesthesiologist, too. I think the canine epilepsy groups have some resources about anesthesia as well. Let us know!
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If the antibiotics don't shrink it (it is so hard to tell if it is shrinking, or if I just am hopeful that it is) and we decide on surgery (which I think we will) the plan is that they would do an Xray and blood work immediately before the surgery. If there is no signs it has spread he would go directly to surgery.

I also read that there are anesthetics that do not lower the threshold. I am glad to hear that somebody else had success with them. However, I don't think my vet uses them because they didn't mention it. I will be calling around within the next few days to see if I can find a vet that uses the safer anesthetics.

Meanwhile: he is still acting great. Same amount of energy, good appetite. When I feel the mass it does feel smaller to me, but it isn't so much smaller that I know for sure it has shrunk. I hope it turns out to be an infection but I am trying to be realistic at the same time.
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