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What is Biopsy?

Biopsy is a surgical procedure used in dogs to obtain a tissue sample for diagnosis of a variety of pathologies, from cancer to skin disease. The goal of biopsy is to provide a veterinary pathologist an accurate picture of the disease process taking place so that they may report the suspected disease or type and stage of cancer in your dog. Biopsy is a common procedure often used to diagnose dermatological issues and certain cancers. Your veterinarian will perform the biopsy (or refer to a veterinary surgeon for more involved biopsy) and then submit the tissue sample obtained from biopsy to a veterinary pathologist for interpretation. 

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Biopsy Procedure in Dogs

The biopsy procedure will depend on the type of biopsy selected for your pet. In general, your dog will be placed under anesthesia for the biopsy procedure. The tissue sample will be taken and submitted to a veterinary pathologist for interpretation. Your dog will likely need stitches after receiving a biopsy. Below are some examples of what to expect from different kinds of biopsies.

Punch Biopsy

This biopsy method is most commonly used to diagnose dermatological conditions. Local anesthetic or general anesthetic may be used depending on the nature of the biopsy. For the procedure, the skin to be biopsied is cleaned and shaven. A small tool is used to bore into the skin penetrating all layers of the dermis the tool is removed taking a cylindrical piece of tissue with it. The tissue is placed into a solution to preserve it and sent for histopathology reading. The wound left by the punch biopsy is sutured closed with 1-2 sutures. 

Jamshidi Needle Biopsy

This biopsy method is used to diagnose bone cancers. General anesthetic is used to ensure that the patient will remain completely still throughout the procedure. The skin over the area to be biopsied is shaved and sterilized. The bone biopsy needle is then bored into the bone through the suspect lesion ensuring that the needle passes all the way to the middle of the bone. The small pieces of bone obtained are placed in solution and sent for histopathology. 

Tru-Cut Biopsy

This biopsy method is a less invasive way of obtaining certain tissue samples. For this biopsy, the animal is placed under general anesthesia and the area over the tissue to be sampled is shaved and cleaned. The tru cut device is placed over the tissue to be sampled and either guided by ultrasound (for internal organs such as the kidney) or placed directly in the tissue (for muscle biopsy). After the tru cut biopsy is performed tissue is sent for histopathology. No sutures are needed after this kind of biopsy. 

Surgical Biopsy

The biopsy methods listed above are considered incisional, meaning that some of the affected tissue or cancer is left behind. Excisional biopsy, such as surgical biopsy aims to extract all affected tissue for examination. This is especially important for cancer treatment. Radical excisional biopsy requires general anesthesia and is a much more invasive procedure. For this type of biopsy, the cancerous lesion is removed along with a margin of healthy tissue to ensure that the cancer does not return. This procedure is done under general anesthesia and requires stitches. The tissue obtained from this procedure is then sent to histopathology where a veterinary pathologist determines if margins attempted in surgery were wide enough or if more surgery is needed to extract all of the cancerous tissue.

Efficacy of Biopsy in Dogs

Biopsy is an effective tool for the diagnosis and/or staging of cancer and other pathological conditions. Because more tissue is included in a biopsy sample for histopathology a veterinary pathologist will have an easier time understanding your dog’s diagnosis in the context of the tissue it is affecting. For other diagnostic measures such as skin scraping or fine needle aspirate, only some cells are removed so the full extent of disease cannot be understood. However, these other techniques are much less invasive than biopsy and do not require suture or anesthesia. 

Biopsy Recovery in Dogs

Recovery from biopsy depends on the method of biopsy used. For less invasive procedures, such as punch biopsy, recovery generally involves the recovery from anesthesia. However, for radical excisional biopsy, such as when a leg is amputated due to bone cancer, recovery will be much more intensive and require physical therapy and a pain management protocol for your dog. In general, recovery from biopsy will involve taking precautions for sutures, i.e. making sure that your dog remains still for 10 days while sutures heal and monitoring the recovery site for any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or discharge. Recovery from biopsy may also involve pain management, which can range from oral pain pills for a few days to a fentanyl patch for more constant dosing of pain medication. 

Cost of Biopsy in Dogs

The cost of biopsy varies between the different kinds of biopsies used. Less invasive biopsies such as punch biopsy will cost between $400-$800 while more invasive or more involved surgeries could cost up to $2,500 (including hospitalization and medications). 

Dog Biopsy Considerations

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with biopsy. Your veterinarian will do bloodwork to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to receive anesthesia as needed for the procedure. Other risks associated with biopsy include bleeding, pain and infection. Biopsy is an excellent tool to create a clear clinical picture in cases of cancer, skin disease and kidney and liver disease. For bone cancer, biopsy is 90% effective at providing an accurate diagnosis. As certain kinds of biopsy are also considered treatment, such as radical excisional biopsy, it can be worked into a therapeutic plan and combined with other treatment such as radiation oncology and chemotherapy. 

Biopsy Prevention in Dogs

Preventing biopsy means prevention the conditions that require biopsy. Preventing cancer is unfortunately very difficult to do. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly which external and internal factors play a role in cancer development in dogs. Some dogs are predisposed to developing certain cancers based on their breed. Many dogs develop cancer as they advance in age. Though preventing cancer is difficult, there are certain cancers that can be prevented with surgery. For example, mammary tumors, common to female dogs, can be prevented by spaying your dog before her first heat cycle. Testicular tumors can be prevented by getting your dog neutered. 

Keeping your dog in good health in general will help if cancer is suspected as they will be better candidates for surgery, chemotherapy and all other necessary treatments. Taking your dog in for regular veterinary visits throughout their life will achieve the goal of keeping them in good health and will help ensure that if cancer does form, it is discovered early.

 Keeping your dog in good health can also help prevent kidney and liver disease that may need biopsy to differentiate them from certain cancers. Preventing the skin conditions that require biopsy may prove difficult as well, as they are largely heritable. If possible, understanding your dog’s lineage could go a long way into understanding the heritable conditions that may affect them in the future. While this knowledge will not prevent a heritable condition from arising, it can help provide insight about what is going on and help your vet make appropriate treatment and diagnostic decisions. 

Biopsy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Riley
American Staffordshire Terrier
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lump on hock joint

Hello. My dog has been diagnosed with a spindle cell tumor through a fine needle aspiration. We are working on finding a vet now to do the surgical removal of the lump. Should I have the surgery done by a board certified surgeon or is it ok to go to my general vet to have the tumor removed? I know that this type of cancerous tumor spreads out like the tentacles of an octopus and so getting clean margins is difficult, especially because of the tumor’s location (rear hock joint, close to the Achilles’ tendon). Knowing this, should the surgeon just simply remove the lump only, knowing that getting clean margins is impossible, and close the wound or should the surgeon try to remove some margin of normal tissue around the tumor to ensure that at least some of the other cancer cells are removed with the tumor but then risk not being able to close the wound and possibly needing a skin graft? I’m struggling with what is the best course of action. Also, is having a dental cleaning/extraction procedure done while my dog is still under anesthesia to make “use of the dog being under” a smart idea or is the risk of infection too great? Thank you for any advice you can give me! I am extremely nervous about putting my dog under and I’m really dreading this surgery.

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Riley
American Staffordshire Terrier
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lump on hock joint

Hello. My dog has been diagnosed with a spindle cell tumor through a fine needle aspiration. We are working on finding a vet now to do the surgical removal of the lump. Should I have the surgery done by a board certified surgeon or is it ok to go to my general vet to have the tumor removed? I know that this type of cancerous tumor spreads out like the tentacles of an octopus and so getting clean margins is difficult, especially because of the tumor’s location (rear hock joint, close to the Achilles’ tendon). Knowing this, should the surgeon just simply remove the lump only, knowing that getting clean margins is impossible, and close the wound or should the surgeon try to remove some margin of normal tissue around the tumor to ensure that at least some of the other cancer cells are removed with the tumor but then risk not being able to close the wound and possibly needing a skin graft? I’m struggling with what is the best course of action. Also, is having a dental cleaning/extraction procedure done while my dog is still under anesthesia to make “use of the dog being under” a smart idea or is the risk of infection too great? Thank you for any advice you can give me! I am extremely nervous about putting my dog under and I’m really dreading this surgery.

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Riley
American Staffordshire Terrier
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lump on hock joint

Hello. My dog has been diagnosed with a spindle cell tumor through a fine needle aspiration. We are working on finding a vet now to do the surgical removal of the lump. Should I have the surgery done by a board certified surgeon or is it ok to go to my general vet to have the tumor removed?

I know that this type of cancerous tumor spreads out like the tentacles of an octopus and so getting clean margins is difficult, especially because of the tumor’s location (rear hock joint, close to the Achilles’ tendon). Knowing this, should the surgeon just simply remove the lump only, knowing that getting clean margins is impossible, and close the wound or should the surgeon try to remove some margin of normal tissue around the tumor to ensure that at least some of the other cancer cells are removed with the tumor but then risk not being able to close the wound and possibly needing a skin graft? I’m struggling with what is the best course of action. Also, is having a dental cleaning/extraction procedure done while my dog is still under anesthesia to make “use of the dog being under” a smart idea or is the risk of infection too great? Thank you for any advice you can give me! I am extremely nervous about putting my dog under and I’m really dreading this surgery.

I also have this same question! Have you gotten an answer?

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Memoe
Shih Tzu
11 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lost voice, lymph glands swollen

Took my Shih Tzu in for dental work and vet called and said they couldn’t go through with dental work because he had a mass in his trachea and tube would not go down because there is a mass my vet doesn’t have training or equipped for that. How much would biopsy cost?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
If there is a mass, you should get your Veterinarian to refer you to a Specialist in your area for further examination and biopsy etc… Pricing varies widely depending on your location, you should speak with your Veterinarian about the biopsy and the referral to get a more accurate ballpark price. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cole
Beagle
9 1/2 years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

he rests a lot. can still walk and go up and down
stairs butfavors the leg

My vet with 40 years of experience took one look at the lump hanging from my dogs rear leg and said 'bast cell tumor, nothing to be done, if you disturb it with removal or biopsy it will grow exponentially. Just keep him comfortable.' what is your take on this?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

Mast cell tumours may be difficult to diagnose as they may resemble other tumours or masses; a fine needle aspirate or biopsy is usually performed to confirm. Surgical removal is the treatment of choice; however this can be very difficult on limbs where there may not be a sufficient amount of tissue to get adequate margins and enough skin to close the wound which leads to a high rate of recurrence so chemotherapy or radiation therapy is usually recommended post surgery (also depends on the grade). If you are looking for a specific treatment plan with a second opinion, I would recommend visiting an Oncologist (check link below). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
www.acvim.org/Portals/0/PDF/Animal%20Owner%20Fact%20Sheets/Oncology/Mast%20Cell%20Tumors.pdf
http://find.vetspecialists.com/

My 2 year old Dobbie was diagnosed with small intestine insufficiency disease. The vet wants to do a biopsy but not sure what will come of that. will it give me a firm diagnosis? What will it tell me... if it is cancer or actually intestinal deficiency? she apparently is lacking b12 Sage can't absorb any nutrients from her food. She is having bout diarrhea with a sponge texture losing weigh and also periods about the throwing up in the middle of the night. I trying to find out if this can be cured and if so what is her prognosis for a long life for her? Will this require surgery? Can it actually cure this disease? Will it confirm this diagnosis of intestinal deficiency? that is the question! I don't know? I don't want to put her through expensive and intensive test and biopsies and surgeries if it is for not. I can't do this to her. she's been too good of a pet! I won't watch go though chemo and radiation. To me that's just not a good quality of life for her. Without guarantees that he can change anything. What holistic and home remedies can I do for her to make her comfortable these are questions I need answered if you can help I sure would appreciate it.

I'm desperate 😢

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Wesley Charles
American Bull Staffy
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Lump

My 7 year old Am. Staff, Charles, has a lump on his upper rear thigh. Which developed a few months ago, was on the soft side, round and did not cause him any discomfort. Yesterday we had a needle biopsy done and now the lump is hard! Is this normal? Does this mean anything by this happening to the lump? Or is the harndness just a result of the biopsy? Thanks!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
The biopsy would not have changed the lump, but it may be changing otherwise. When you get the results back from the biopsy, you'll have more information to go on, and you can talk with your veterinarian about whether you need to have hte lump removed.

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Bentley
Black Lab/Pitbull
9 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

Medication Used

Baytril - 136 mg, Rimadyl - 100 mg
Baytril - 136 mg

My dog had a biopsy today on his right back leg. It is still bleeding, even though they put staples in and have done cold compression. I put an ice pack on it for about 30 minutes and it is still bleeding. How can I get the bleeding to stop? The vets office didn't seem to concerned with the bleeding.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
A few drops of blood may occur after a biopsy or another procedure, but if the bleeding isn’t stopping at all or the blood isn’t clotting you should return to the Veterinarian as Bentley may have a clotting disorder or another condition. There isn’t anything I can recommend apart from applying another cold compress to the wound. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Oliver
Sausage dog
9 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Tiredness

Hi my 9yrld daxie has swollen lymph nodes in his back legs and his neck ,he was treated with predisone tablets for three weeks,vet thought possible allergy out break ?now he is booked in for a biopsy next week as none of them have gone down and vet said they should have gone down with the predisone tablets.What I want to know is it possibly cancer?Do vets do biopsys for skin ailmants

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Biopsies, needle aspirates and other techniques are commonly used on skin, lymph nodes, organs, muscle, tumours etc… to aid in making a diagnosis for Veterinarians and is common practice. If there are generalised swollen lymph nodes then infections, allergies, inflammatory disease, cancer among other causes may cause symptoms; it is important to at least take an aspirate of a swollen lymph node so that the types of cells, size, morphology etc… can be examined to help indicate a diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Jack or Jax
Cairn Terrier
15 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lump

My dog was very recently diagnosed with what could either be salivary gland cancer or lymphoma. However, to be sure, he'll require an invasive surgical biopsy. He has lumps located under his jaw and behind the back legs/knees.

I'm unsure how to proceed because I've heard numerous people tell me that the biopsy itself could agitate the cancer and severely shorten whatever time he has left. Even then, the subsequent chemotherapy may not do anything but make him sick.

He's very old, 15, but generally in good health and very energetic. He eats and relieves himself without any problems. He seems mentally stable and routinely asks to eat or go outside around the same times every day. He has eaten a strict diet of human-grade meat and vegetables since he was a puppy. He takes Rimadyl twice daily for arthritis and eyedrops because his tear glands are not as active as they used to be. Until about a year or so ago he was able to get up and down 2 flights of stairs without any issues. We've only begun carrying him up and down recently but on level ground he's fine (observing him over time, I suspect that he's just no longer confident using the stairs rather than not actually being able to).

I keep hearing that the only other option besides the biopsy and chemo is to make him comfortable until the growth impedes his eating and breathing. However, he survived and recovered very quickly (within days) from the removal of a benign cyst almost a year ago. Given his high energy and good health for his age I'm having a lot of trouble simply making him comfortable and waiting. However, I know that the procedures involved are very dangerous even for younger dogs. I've received recommendations for many natural remedies but I know their effectiveness is dubious at best.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
These decisions are never easy in an older dog and you should carefully discuss Jack’s condition with your Veterinarian; as for natural remedies, I don’t put a lot of faith in them since if they were effective pharmaceutical companies would be all over them. There is a concern about seeding during a needle aspirate or biopsy, however remember that without histopathology we cannot be sure what the specific cancer is and therefore cannot recommend any effective chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Would you say the deep needle aspirate has a lower risk of seeding than a surgical biopsy?

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Kai
German Longhaired Pointer
4 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Swelling

Hi, I have a 4 year old GSP who was bitten by a pit bull on her front leg in December. Took her to the vet when she started to limp, was told by vet that x ray showed “green stick” fracture. No cast, sent on our way. She limped for 6 weeks, and when limping stopped we went for a few walks, and her leg swelled right over the bite. Took her back to the vet, more x-rays and blood cultures. She was put on anti-biotics and the swelling went down except for a bony mass that has formed. Cultures came back negative, and vet said he thinks she has Osteosarcoma. The lump/swelling is not near the elbow though, it’s mid bone and she’s no longer limping, doesn’t seem to be in pain at all anymore...seems completely recovered. Could this be a bone infection since she was NOT treated with antibiotics after the initial bite (which was VERY deep puncture)?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. It could be an infection, yes. Osteosarcoma in a young dog, and in the middle of a bone, is unusual. It might be a good idea to get a second opinion, or to have your veterinarian send the x-rays to a specialist, as those are two very different outcomes. I hope that Kai is okay.

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Titan
German Shepherd
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Muscle Atrophy

My 6 yr old GSD has been experiencing symptoms of masticatory muscle myositis. The left side of his face is atrophied and he is beginning to have some difficulty with his left eye. So far he has shown no signs of pain or difficulty with his jaw. We tried 2 week course of Prednisone 100 mg qd but symptoms seemed to exacerbate. Vet has recommended muscle bx since labs had been negative for antibody. Is this the most effective way of finding cause? Also recommended x-rays of head to r/o mass or tumor. Wouldn't he be experiencing more neurological symptoms if mass or tumor growing?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Diagnosis of masticatory muscle myositis may be made by either ELISA testing or biopsy, I’m not sure if the biopsy will tell you more than an ELISA test but worth doing all the same. X-rays of the head will rule out some types of tumours but not all; tumours can be asymptomatic and may not present with symptoms until the last minute. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Chase
Boxer
11 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Swollen Lymph Nodes
Tooth infection

I have an eleven year old boxer named Chase, and our vet believes he has lymphoma. We took him to be looked at because our neighbor, a retired dentist who loves to visit with Chase, said he noticed that Chase had a tooth infection and that he thought it may be why Chase was a bit swollen. Chase has swollen lymph nodes that are most prominent on his neck. The vet told us that she believes he most likely has lymphoma and that lymphoma patients usually do not survive longer than two months after diagnosed if they go untreated. My family is hesitant to treat him with chemotherapy since they fear it will significantly reduce his quality of life, however Chase is my best friend and I am doing extensive research on lymphoma treatments because I don’t want to lose him in two months. I have managed to explain to my family that even though the treatments and procedures can be expensive, chemotherapy doesn’t have nearly as strong side effects on dogs as it does on humans. After reading several articles I personally believe that a Tru Cut biopsy would be our best option for a definitive diagnosis. My only hesitation is putting Chase under anesthesia since he is eleven years old. He is still in very good shape, he runs and plays, and the only serious health issues we have had to worry about relating to his age was some minor atrophy in his hind legs. If putting him under anesthesia is too dangerous for a dog of his age then I would like to learn more about a different way to get a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan. I would just like to be informed of all of our options so that we can decide on what is best for Chase.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
One way to get a sample of the lymph nodes that does not require anesthesia is to have a fine needle aspirate done. It is a quick. painless procedure and can give somewhat definitive results if done correctly. The ONLY way to truly diagnose lymphoma is with a sample of some kind. Presumptive diagnoses are just that - presumptive. If he does indeed have lymphoma, there are a number of chemotherapy options, depending on the type, which you would know after getting the sample. If your veterinarian is not comfortable with this procedure, it may be a good idea to get a second opinion from a veterinarian who is comfortable with getting a true diagnosis. I hope that Chase is okay.

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Bubba
Pomeranian
8 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Mass in elbow w/o pain

Hello, I have an 8yo Pomeranian. I found a lump on his right elbow. I didn't notice it until this week. I brush them a few times a week and I had not noticed it before. The vet said that it looks like the mass has been growing for about 3-4 months, I find that hard to believe. I would have noticed a lump that big. My baby did see a new vet because his vet was out of the office, I was not satisfied or comfortable with the new vet. He seemed to not know how to explain things to me. Could this be anything else, but a mass? He's having a biopsy tomorrow by his real vet.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I think you will have much more information after the biopsy as to what the mass is, whether it is worrisome, and how to treat it. It could be an infection, or a benign growth, but the biopsy is the best way to tell! I hope that everything goes well for him!

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Gracie
Maltese
8 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Sleepiness
Sleepy

After diagnosis of micro vascular displasia, puppy was spayed and a liver biopsy performed. What is the recuperation time for this surgery? She is very tired and skittish. She wants to be in her crate all the time. She has eaten small amounts . She has urinated but infrequently and in a large amount. She seems very uncomfortable

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
It may take less than a week or so for recovery from this surgery; spaying is a pretty routine surgery and the liver biopsy would be a small add-on which shouldn’t really affect recovery times but some pain or discomfort may be felt for a few days afterwards which is to be expected. Allow her to rest and visit your Veterinarian if there is no improvement after five days or so. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Riley
American Staffordshire Terrier
10 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lump on hock joint

Hello. I am in need of some guidance from a professional. My dog has a lump on her rear left hock joint. I have seen two general veterinarians and had 2 different fine needle aspirations done. (My primary vet recently retired so I do not have a long history with a new vet yet.) The aspirate was sent for diagnostics. The pathology report says “microscopic findings: spindle cell tumor” and gives several primary differentials including hemangiopericytoma, nerve sheath tumor, and fibrosarcoma. We still do not have a definitive cancer diagnosis yet though. This lump should probably be removed whether it’s malignant or not because it is growing. The vet that performed the aspiration recommends surgical excision, but I am weary of putting my dog through surgery before we have a definitive diagnosis. My question is should I have a punch biopsy and subsequent diagnostics done before the large-scale excisional biopsy surgery? Should I meet with an oncologist since this is probably cancer? Do all of these conditions require the same treatment? In my opinion, it makes sense to actually know what the tumor is definitively before opening my dog up, especially because different tumors require different types of care. I just don’t want to put my dog through anything more than I have to. I don’t want to have to put my dog through more than one surgery to get clean margins. I am also concerned that I will pay for a punch biopsy and diagnostics and still not get a definitive diagnosis! Could this happen? I have never dealt with something like this before and I am not sure what my best course of action should be. I appreciate any advice you can give me.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
A punch biopsy does give more information than a fine needle aspirate, as there is a larger sample to work with. It would be helpful to know what type of tumor you are dealing with before surgery, it is true, even though the mass does need to be removed. If you are able to have the biopsy done before surgery, it would be helpful for your veterinarian to have that information. Seeking the advice of a veterinary oncologist would be a good idea as well. I hope that all goes well for Riley.

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Cassie
Leonberger
5 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Limping lameness

My 5yr old Leonberger has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma tumour in her hind leg but they can’t be sure if it’s spread to her lungs. We have been told that the hind leg bone has different densities so it would be a high risk to do a biopsy to be certain of the cancer. The leg could be made weaker during the biopsy. I don’t know if the risk % to damage the bone is high. If we do nothing and only treat her for the pain then we have a couple of months with her, if we go ahead with the biopsy we could lose her sooner or have her longer.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry that that is happening to Cassie - she is quite young for that disease. The benefit of a biopsy is that it will give a diagnosis, so that you know what to expect. She may have osteosarcoma, or a fungal disease, or a bacterial bone infection, which could potentially be cured. Without seeing her x-rays or examining her, I can't comment on what might be going on. Chest x-rays would tell if it has spread to her lungs, if it is cancer. I hope that you find out some positive news.

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Tarantino
American Bulldog
8 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Medication Used

Prindisnlone

My 8 year old american bulldog has large hard lump on his neck ( big and the size of the whole left side of his neck) my vet done a fine needle aspiration and nothing came out he then quoted me up to £4000 pound to continue with biopsy and aftercare to find out what it was , this was at PDSA animal charity, so I quess my question is do you have any clue what this could be or sounds like? And is there anyway to get biopsy on a payment plan at any vets , thanks :)

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Unfortunately, without being able to see the mass, I don't have anyway to say what it might be, as there can be any number of skin lesions that occur. That sounds like a lot to have a biopsy, and it might be worth getting a second opinion, or clarify if that was just for the biopsy and not for surgery. Most clinics cannot do payment plans for new clients, but most of them do offer CareCredit to cover unexpected expenses.

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Simba
Akita Inu
19 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Sad

Hi. I have a question for you. I read in your article above that Fentanyl patches may be used to help with Pain in the dog after the Biopsy. Since My dog may need to have Biopsies on her abdomen area.

However I heard about Fentanyl causing people to stop breathing, so I did some research and found this:

"There are serious risks associated with Fentanyl use in dogs. It can interfere with the dog’s ability to breathe. It can cause the cardiovascular system to collapse. It can be very dangerous if used along with other opiates. *****In addition, the package insert warned that it ((((must not be used to treat post-operative pain in dogs;))))) it is only for controlling the chronic pain associated with cancer." (found at: https://www.handicappedpets.com/fentanyl-transdermal-use-in-dogs/)

If that's the case, why in your Article "Biopsy Recovery in Dogs"
Does it say this:
"Recovery from biopsy may also involve pain management, which can range from oral pain pills for a few days to a fentanyl patch for more constant dosing of pain medication."

Shouldn't there be a disclaimer under it stating it's not normally for post surgery pain?

Signed,

Loving Dog Mom (whos dog may need surgery)

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Firstly, the use of any medication is at the discretion of the prescribing Veterinarian, there are many sources which state conflicting information about the use of fentanyl patches (and other medications) in small animals; Fentanyl is a controlled medication, so it's not something you’re going to get over the counter. If you take the link below from a reputable site which indicates the use of fentanyl patches after surgery. There is no right and wrong, it is the Veterinarian’s discretion to prescribe according to either the prescribing information or reputable literature. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.vetstream.com/treat/canis/generics/fentanyl-(transdermal-patch) www.vetstream.com/treat/canis www.vin.com/apputil/content/defaultadv1.aspx?id=3860838&pid=11242

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