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Cutaneous Lesion, Possibly Cancer?

3430 Views 20 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  hotel4dogs
We took Apollo, our 7 year old Golden, to the vet this morning for what appeared to be a sore near his nose. Our vet termed it a cutaneous lesion (I'm not sure I've spelled it right!) and immediately referred us to the oncology department at the MSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for a biopsy. He believes it is cancer. We are seeing the oncologist this afternoon.

Has any one had any experience with this? I'd appreciate any information that you can share.

We are devastated at the thought of cancer, but are hoping for the best.
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I am no expert in this area - so all I can do is send you many wishes that it is NOT the dreaded "C"!!
We will be praying that it is not cancer and Apollo will be ok.
Sorry about the scare, I will pray that Apollo gets a good diagnosis.
Is there any lymphadenopathy (swelling in the lymph nodes)? You or your doc can check the ones in the neck. That would give you a good clue as to the kinds of systemic involvement the lesion has. Swollen lymph nodes could mean cutaneous lymphoma. I lost my six year old dog to a particularly aggressive, incredibly rare variety last winter (panniculitis-like cutaneous T-cell lymphoma). He, however, had literally dozens of skin lesions that cropped up almost overnight as well as severe lymphadenopathy. There are other kinds of cutaneous lymphoma that have much better prognoses.

Fortunately, there are all kinds of cutaneous lesions that don't mean lymphoma or even malignant cancer at all. You may find out that the lesion is a completely isolated problem. If the vet fears cancer, the lesion should be biopsied immediately. It it can safely be removed entirely in the process, so much the better.

If the lymph nodes are swollen, they can be aspirated with a needle, and the aspirate can be sent out for testing. Needle aspiration is a procedure where they stick a needle into the node and grab a tiny piece for testing. It's an uncomfortable procedure for the dog, but not horrible, and there's no recovery time once it's over. Needle aspirates aren't always conclusive, so your oncologist may recommend (again, only if the nodes are enlarged), a full biopsy of a piece of the node, which does involve an incision, stitches, and some recovery time.

Another possibility is mast cell tumors, which have a better prognosis, particularly if the one on the muzzle is the only one. I think I recall that mast cell tumors are much more common than cutaneous lymphoma. Again, a biopsy of the lesion would be necessary for diagnosis, and removal of the lesion would be ideal if possible.

Dogs also commonly get benign fatty masses called lipomas as they get older, and those can just be removed. The masses can break open and cause sores. That would pretty much be the best news possible about this lesion, though if your vet said "cancer," that means he or she probably ruled out a lipoma first.

Keep us posted. Many of us have dealt with all kinds of the common cancers and chosen different treatment options, so we can provide support at the very least. Here's hoping that the sore is just a sore.
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Wow, Tippy I can tell you have done quite a lot of research on this ugly topic.

Spartanmom, I wish you and Apollo (love his name!) the best and I'm hoping that you receive some good news about the lesion. Please keep us posted!
Wow, Tippy I can tell you have done quite a lot of research on this ugly topic.

Spartanmom, I wish you and Apollo (love his name!) the best and I'm hoping that you receive some good news about the lesion. Please keep us posted!
Yeah - because of a needle aspirate that came back inconclusive, I had to spend almost a month trying to figure out what was wrong with Gus last year. His cancer was so rare and had such an atypical presentation that all the vets and I had to do a lot of research and even read some papers on the human version before we figured out what was going on.

It wasn't until a biopsy of both a lesion and a lymph node that we had a conclusive answer, and it was pretty much the worst possible scenario. Fortunately, what happened to us is a million-to-one chance (why couldn't we have won the lottery instead?), so I have high hopes that Apollo has something less serious.
We saw the oncologist this afternoon - but really don't have a lot more information. Our appointment was late in the afternoon, and since we are local, they asked us to bring Apollo back tomorrow for blood work, biopsies, tissue samples, etc

She said just from examining him, she honestly had no idea what it could be. While she didn't rule out cancer, she said that his age and general good health would be factors in his favor that it might be something else. She mentioned some kind of infection. She said his lymph nodes were prominent, but did not seem to be enlarged. He has several lumps and bumps that appear to be fatty deposits - that was our vet's opinion also.

So - we are in wait and see mode, and still hoping for the best. I will keep you posted.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers - they are greatly appreciated.

tippykayak - thank you for the information - I'm sorry that you had to go through what you did to come by it.
I am prayring for good news for Apollo. Please let us know when you hear anything. Sending you a hug!
I am sorry to hear you are going through this with Apollo. These things are never easy. We, unfortunately, have experience with mast cell cancer. Our previous golden, Chip, was diagnosed at age 10. Mast cell can carry a variety of prognosis, from very good to poor, and the disease is known for growing multiple tumors either at the same time, or in succession. Chip, unfortunately, had the worst case of mast cell that our vet, the surgeon, the pathologist and the oncologist ever saw (like Tippykayak said, why couldn't we have hit the lottery with these kinds of odds?). Most cases carry a better prognosis, we just had bad luck. But there are so many possibilites for Apollo, that we really can't speculate. There is a very good chance it is something non-life threatening and easy to treat. I hope things go well tomorrow. Please keep us posted.
I really hope it's just a lipoma that burst and got infected. That would probably be the best case scenario.

Apollo just came home from the hospital - we are very happy to have him back. I don't have much new information, but wanted to keep you posted.

They told us he did very well there, although the oncologist termed him a "drama king"! They still don't know what has caused his lesions. However, his blood work was all normal - which seems like a good thing. We are waiting on the results of the biopsies and tissue cultures. Most are expected in a week, although the fungal cultures can take up to 6 weeks. Because of the location of the lesion (very close to his mouth), they have put him on an antibiotic as a precautionary measure.

So for now, we're considering no bad news to be a good thing.- and we'll just wait and see.
I'm glad you have Apollo home. He sounds wonderful. "Drama King" indeed. He probably just needed a lot of attention and paw holding.
I hope his biopsies and cultures come back with good news - something that can be easily treated!
It does sound hopeful that his blood work was all normal. I'll keep you and Apollo in my thoughts and prayers.
I'll keep you and Apollo in my thoughts and prayers.
It sounds like good news and that is what we will be praying for for it to be official. Give Apollo a big hug for being such a "Drama King".
I'm still waiting and hoping to hear good news come up. Thanks for the updates so far!
I remember waiting for biopsy results. It stinks. You have to wait days and days not knowing if the news that will come back will be no biggie or the end of the world. I don't envy you right now.
I updated the other thread yesterday, but thought I should do this one too. We got good news yesterday - the lesion is not cancer. All of Apollo's bloodwork, biopsies, and tissue cultures came back normal. The lesion appears to be healing now - don't know if it helped by the antibiotics or if it just happened. The oncologist still has no idea what caused it. We were advised to keep an eye on it and if it doesn't keep improving, we were referred to MSU Dermatology.

Thanks for all of the thoughts, prayers, words of wisdom and encouragement, and support in general. It has been greatly appreciated. You're a great group!
Thank goodness he is okay!
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