Marble-sized lump on the back leg

cocker spanielQUESTION: I have an 11 year old cocker spaniel named Snoops. About 3 weeks ago, he got a marble-sized lump on the forefront of his back leg above his paw. It was very soft. A few days later, it started to leak out a blood/clear liquid. I squeezed the area until it all drained out. It didn”t do anything for about a week or two. This Friday, I noticed it was back. Again, yesterday Snoops must have messed with it and it started emptying again. This time it was just blood inside. Again, it was marble-sized and soft. Once it was all drained out, I put some Neosporin and a bandage on it. It seems to be OK today and is flat again. Do you know what this could be?

Unfortunately determining whether a mass is malignant or benign by appearance alone is near impossible.  Fortunately, a lot of masses can be diagnosed using simple tests such as cytology (taking some cellular samples from an aspirate) or a biopsy (taking tissue samples from a little incision or tool).  From the location you described, it may also be possible to remove the mass in its entirety via a local anesthetic without having to place Snoopy under general anesthesia.  My suggestion is to have your vet look at the mass and do a few tests.  Once you know the results, then you are in a better position to decide what the next steps will be–(ie remove w/ local or general anesthesia or do nothing and monitor for changes).

Hope that helps but in the mean time, wound care to the site since Snoopy is licking at it will not cause any harm.  What may cause harm though, and invariably lead to much higher expense, is waiting too long.  An ounce of prevention avoids a pound of cure.

Good luck,
Dr. Chau

Written by
DR.HANH CHAU has been in practice for the past 11 years in the DC metro area. She is trained and certified in Veterinary Acupuncture and as a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. She recently opened Family Veterinary Hospital of South Riding in Chantilly ( 703-327-8425.

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