What’s That Lump On My Good Dog

Health

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia reporting. Recently my huMom noticed a small lump on my shoulder. It’s like a small, firm yet squishy bump. At first huMom thought I had bruised myself but it didn’t go away. I did some sniffing about & uncovered what this lump might be.

First thing I sniffed out is that finding a lump on or under your good dog’s skin is not that uncommon. A veterinarian would refer to the lump as a skin mass or skin tumor. These lumps can go unnoticed for weeks or months on a good dog with thick fur. Often they are discovered during a bath. In my case, I have short, light colored fur & I’m kinda muscular so it stood out on my shoulder.

These masses can either be benign, in which case there is no concern for spread, or they can be malignant, meaning there is a risk of it spreading within the body, it is therefore important to know a few simple things to look out for.

If you notice any unusual lumps on your good dog, it’s a good idea to have your veterinarian take a look. Your vet will likely do a test called a ‘fine needle aspirate.’ The veterinarian will use a syringe & needle to collect cells from the lump, which are then sent to a veterinary pathology lab where technicians will determine what type of cells are present.

Your veterinarian may also suggest a ‘biopsy’ of the mass. This is where a small sample of the mass is removed using a scalpel or a round punch biopsy tool. Biopsies generally give more information than fine needle aspirates since a large cross section of tissue can be collected. They are not necessary in every case & heavy sedation or general anesthetic is required.

The most common lumps on good dogs are:

Lipoma: These are usually moderately soft, round masses made up of fat cells located under normal looking skin. They are usually movable & slow growing. Lipomas are benign fat cells, and can be left alone if they are not bothering your good dog.

Sebaceous cysts: These small hairless masses grow out from the skin & appear wart like. Cysts are usually benign but can be irritating or become infected.

Mast Cell Tumors: These tumors can take on a variety of appearances both on & below the skin—from looking like a small ulcerated bump on the skin, to a larger mass that changes in size or color. Mast cell tumors are malignant & can spread to other parts of the body. If a mast cell tumor is diagnosed in your dog, your vet will likely discuss options, usually surgical removal including surrounding tissue. A pathologist at a veterinary lab will then examine the tissue to determine how likely it is to spread or reoccur.

My Vet is aware of my lump. It seems to just be a Lipoma but huMom will be keeping an eye on it & should it change, I’ll be off to have it examined closer.

CEO Olivia ❤ 

What’s With the Whiskers?

Health

 

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here. This morning I sniffed out a cat whisker on the floor. Dottie broke one off while practicing cat-jitsu with Jerry Underfoot. It got me wondering why us four leggers have whiskers but huMom doesn’t seem to have any.

The technical term for whiskers is “vibrissae” which are a special type of hair found in many mammals, including cool cats & good dogs. They differ from normal hair in that they are innervated which means they are directed by the nervous system. At the base of whiskers are special nerves that send sensory messages to the brain.

Whiskers can help determine wind direction on land or current direction in water. They also serve as receptors for important information about the size, shape, & speed of nearby objects, ultimately assisting dogs in ‘viewing’ an object more clearly, even when it’s dark (remember, vision takes a back seat to dogs’ other senses, like smell).

Both cats & dogs can reflexively flare their whiskers & point them in a forward direction when they feel threatened. This may be part of trying to look as big as possible to frighten off an aggressor.

Cats usually have 12 whiskers in neat rows on each side of their face. Dog whiskers aren’t quite so uniform & may appear anywhere on the face or chin.  It’s best to just leave whiskers alone as cutting or plucking them might actually be disorienting for your four legger.

So there you go. I’m still not sure why huMom has no whiskers, but she says she’s okay with it.

CEO Olivia

 

Emotional Support and Epilepsy

Health

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve had a rough few days. The epi monster keeps lurking around the house despite our efforts to chase it off.

Fighting the monster is very draining both on me & my huMom. It takes 24 hour vigilance on her part which often means huMom gets a jolt of anxiety induced adrenaline every time I make a noise. Is the monster back? It also can mean little or no sleep for several days. I’m often attacked while sleeping; most often in the early hours of the morning.

During times like these, my huMom has to be focused & be mindful but that doesn’t mean she’s not emotionally affected.

It may be days after an event before my huMom can take a breath & process her emotions. Fear, anger & a feeling of helplessness all come out. Thankfully she has her journal/book of #*@!! where she writes all the things she doesn’t want out in our universe.  Most importantly she has her humans to talk to. Not just her close furriends but also those in inter-webs who also live with canine epilepsy. Those peeps can especially relate to the fight we are in. It’s through these connections that huMom finds the strength to prepare for our next round, when ever it may be.

If you live with an epileptic dog or cat, or any animal with special needs, you need to remember self care. Talk to someone about your anxieties. Rant & rage if you must. Write, scribble, doodle or copy & paste images in your journal. But what I want to emphasize most is that you are not alone. Having emotional support is very important & there is lots of it out there. Reach out.

CEO Olivia

PS: March 26th is Purple Day ❤  Show Your Support Show Your Purple ❤