Dr Sue Ettinger is on a mission to help pet owners detect tumors early. Her inspiration for this new program, called See Something, Do Something, was a 10-year old white pit bull named Smokey.
Dr Ettinger had aspirated approximately 10 masses from Smokey over the years and all came back as benign; so she wasn’t particularly worried when Smokey presented with another lump. The clinic was so busy on the day he came in with his vet tech owner, that he never got tested that day and waited another week before returning to the clinic.
When it was aspirated, it wasn’t a lipoma and testing revealed a soft tissue sarcoma. It hadn’t spread to other parts of the body, but a 7 cm mass with 3 cm margins was a very big surgery; they got it all and so Smokey was out of the woods.
But Dr Ettinger combed through literature to find out if there were guidelines for vets and owners about diagnosing lumps and bumps. There weren’t and she decided to take action.
So she’s come up with:
See Something? If a dog or cat has had a lump that is larger than a pea and has been there for more than a month…
Do Something! Go to a vet and get it aspirated or biopsied.
and even a shorter call to action: Why Wait? Aspirate!
Simple rules that could save the life of your pet and also avoid needless pain and suffering.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand