Small Animal Imaging and Photoacoustics Technology: Studies About Tumors in Dogs

By: SA Perillo

“Photoacoustics is a ground-breaking, real-time imaging modality for visualizing small animal anatomy and analyzing function in vivo and non-invasively. It is the future of preclinical imaging in real-time.”

This may eventually help doctors diagnose the disease earlier and find the tumor before it develops. Tumors are small bumps and lumps found in neck, shoulders and knees and can be considered dangerous if not treated immediately. Just like in humans, “tumors” are matched with “cancer” and are sometimes considered hopeless for people---and dogs as well. And so, we immediately panic because there is the possibility that your dog is going to die of cancer.

But, the truth is when your dog has a tumor, he or she can still be saved and that they may not have cancer yet. Most dogs are prone to any kinds of tumors that have to be seen by the vet in order to be diagnosed with something. Tumors in dogs come in the form of bumps, lumps and scabs in different parts of the body, especially the neck, knees and between the toes. Tumors can also be mammary tumors that can lead mammary cancer for female dogs and testicular cancer for male dogs. Then there are internal tumors that can be treated by surgery or chemotherapy, depending on what the diagnosis of the veterinarian is.

The veterinarian diagnoses a lump by doing a fine needle aspirate of the lump, which means using a syringe to suck some parts of the tumors. After a few hours or days of lab tests, depending on the type of tumor, you can go back to the veterinarian to know the results. If the tumor is serious, you and the vet can talk about the options in taking off the lump before it leads to cancer.

If a lump in smaller than 6mm, then there is no need for a major operation and anesthesia, but rather, can be done by sedating the dog and “freezing” the lump. If the lump can grow bigger, then your veterinarian needs to do surgery and remove it. It will also depend on where the lump is. If it is located in the sensitive areas such as the neck and face, then it should definitely be removed while it is still small and manageable. It will also depend on the size on what kind of surgery they will be using. Sometimes, even those small, minor tumors are removed because this will make the dog cancer-free. This will increase the possibility of not having cancer for your dog, and live a longer and healthy life.

There are some reminders that a pet owner should remember when it comes to tumors and lumps, and this should be kept in mind in order to make your dog cancer-free:

• Lumps are usually found in toes, nose, ears, neck and shoulders, and this should be seen by the vet immediately. These are the spots that are mostly prone to cancer because these are sensitive parts of the body as they have thin skin and healing is very difficult. It will be much easier for you, your dog and to your veterinarian if the lump is still small and needs to be operated.
• Always look out for external lumps and scars, and once you do, bring your dog to the vet immediately too for it to be observed.
• Tumors in lips, eyes and armpits should also be seen because this will make your dog uncomfortable if it becomes big. Now, if the tumors are attached to something and cannot be taken off easily, let the veterinarian do the job for you.

Don’t panic and be scared once you find out that your dog has a tumor. This can still be cured as long as you maintain a good health and follow everything that the veterinarian says. If you do, you will have a cancer-free dog in no time.

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