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Lump on paw pad.

Species: Dog
Breed: Rottweiler
Age: 11-15 years
Hi Dr. Marie!

Baileys is a patient of yours at Beechwood Animal Hospital. We were in last year to see you about this, but you weren't too concerned at that point. Just wanted to follow up.

Baileys is a Rottweiler, and is 11 years old. We realize that with old age come bumps and lumps. He has several on his body, which you thought were probably fat deposits.

However, he also developed a lump on his paw pad, which almost seems to be a continuation of his big pad (see photos at end of message). At first it wasn't too big, but it has grown since and he is constantly licking at it. It is discoloured in one part (pinkish yellow). It really seems to bother him and his gait is not like it used to be. During the wintertime, he hasn't wanted to walk on it for very long outside. He starts to limp quickly.

When we saw you it wasn't as big, and although you thought it was odd, you mentioned that unless it had ruptured or was bothering him you didn't think it was a problem.

We understand that Baileys will not have the energy he used to have, but we are saddened to see him this way. We are concerned for his quality of life and are wondering if he is in pain.

Should we be bringing him in to see you? What are our options? We understand that due to age general anesthetic is dangerous. Is this something you could remove by using local anesthetic? Could you drain it? Antibiotics? What do you recommend?

Thank you in advance!

Melanie & Steven
(Baileys' parents)

Photos of lump:
lump on foot
lump on paw

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh guys...I feel so bad for Baileys. This lump is so large!

I looked back at my notes from last year and I had commented that the paw pad looked really strange. I thought that perhaps he had cut it on something and it was healing. But I also made a note that if it got larger that I was concerned it could be a tumor. It definitely looks like a large tumor from the pictures.

I really do think I should take a look at Baileys and help you to decide what to do. From what I can see from the picture it is very unlikely that we can do anything without a general anesthetic.

Most dogs, even older ones, do extremely well with a full anesthetic as long as their organs are healthy. We would do some blood tests first to make sure that everything is ok.

The only reason I would say not to put him through surgery is if there was a severe problem with his liver, kidneys or heart, or if the cost is too much for you. (I won't be able to give you an estimate until I have a look at it though.)

I did have a very similar case to this in an older Golden Retriever. We removed the lump and she did extremely well.

Give us a call if you'd like me to have a look.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your response Dr. Marie.

We understand that you can't give us a precise estimate, but could you give us an idea (a range) of the cost we'd be looking at for surgery based on similar cases?

Thank you!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It really really depends...mostly on how well attached this lump is.

At minimum you could be looking at $800. But it could even be $1500+.

Unfortunately it may be a lump that is not possible to remove as well...or could need multiple surgeries.

Customer reply:

We did a bit of research yesterday and thought it would cost about that much. We've also seen that with a pad tumor it may be difficult to completely remove (as it is usually necessary to remove some good tissue along with the bad), and that sometimes it's necessary to amputate the leg completely due to this problem.

My husband and I have discussed it and we aren't sure how we want to proceed at this point. Although it seems to be in his way he doesn't seem to be in pain. It is more sensitive to the cold since there is no fur covering the tumor but otherwise it doesn't seem to hurt him. We thought if a simpler procedure could be utilized in this case that we would look into it, mostly for cosmetic/physical reasons (to get it out of his way).

Finally, it has taken quite a bit of time for it to grow to its current size, and so we hope that this could be in our favour and indicate that it is not a malignant cyst. If it continues to grow it will definitely be a problem for him, but wouldn't it be worse to have to amputate his whole leg, or have him go through multiple surgeries at his age? I know that is the worst case scenario but we definitely want to consider it.

Your advice is very helpful.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.