Today I took Missy in for her yearly heartworm blood test and while there checked out a lump on her rear. We did an aspiration and it turns out it is a mast cell tumor. http://www.vetsurgerycentral.com/mct.htm I am not in panic mode just yet. As noted on the site I linked to, hers is in a better area than others. We will do the surgery to remove it within the next couple of weeks and send it off for a biopsy. The good news is that working for a vet means I get a discount, the bad news is that she has the tumor at all, and that it has the potential to be bad. So send good thoughts our way for a good test result. I can't imagine not having her around for many more years. She is only 8 after all. I will certainly post any updates.
This brings up a warning however. To anyone going to vaccination clinics hosted at pet stores to save money, not all those veterinarians are doing full exams. Yes you might be saving money initially, but you may not be doing your pet any favors if things are getting overlooked that should be taken care of quickly. I've worked for a vet in the past and the lump to me looked like other fatty lipomas I have seen. Fortunately the vet I work for told me the my options based on his experience. Because of that I went ahead and did the aspiration right then. If I had been at a vaccination clinic the only option would be to get referred to my regular vet IF the doctor noticed the lump and referred me, or to wait and see what happened with it. For some pets, this could mean the difference between catching a problem early and saving their life, or missing the boat and getting it checked to late. Vaccination clinics are meant for healthy pets only. If you have ANY concerns PLEASE go to your regular vet and get a full exam. The vet in our area doing regular clinics doesn't have a home base hospital with all that entails either so his resources are somewhat limited. Hopefully he is keeping records in case things come up (required by law but not always checked) so regular vets can be kept appraised of issues in their clients when needed. Also keep in mind you will not get mailed reminders from those kind of clinics when your pet is due again.
Hopefully there are people using those clinics that need them due to financial constraints. I certainly understand the need. People will always have pets regardless if they can afford them or not. I just hope people use the clinics as they are intended and not to replace good regular vet care for their pets.