I haven't had the heart to blog recently, because we've been frightfully worried about a lump in Penny's neck. But we've just had good news. Well, sort of good...
When we noticed the lump, we thought it might be yet another lipoma. (She has three or more, now, but we don't intend to put her through the trauma of surgery unless necessary, so we're simply observing them.) There are lots of sites on the internet with information about how common lipomas are in older dogs. This is one site, and it suggests that all lumps need to be investigated before deciding on a watch-and-wait approach.
However, we - and the vet - thought this lump felt strange, so even though a needle aspiration seemed to indicate it was a cyst with some infection in it, he suggested surgery to remove it. We agreed.
Penny started on antibiotics to settle the infection and duly had her surgery. On the day, we waited for the phone call to say she was fine. But when the phone call came, the vet nurse suggested we make an appointment to talk to the vet as we collected her. Little alarm bells went off, so both her humans went together, to give each other moral support.
The long and the short of it was that the vet had found the lump sitting around a major blood vessel, so he stopped the surgery, having taken a piece off the lump. It was sent off for a biopsy and we waited...
We kept Penny beside us every moment of the first couple of days, to check she didn't scratch at the stitches, which pretty much she didn't.
She even got to sleep beside one of her humans, which doesn't normally happen. Like the Princess and the Pea, she reclined on a tower of soft mats.
Today we've learned that the part biopsied is a lipoma, and, to use the vet's words in the reassuring phone message he left for us, basically 'harmless' and 'benign'.
But it's still beside that blood vessel - the jugular - and it showed two different results in testing, lipoma and cyst.
I called in to discuss it with the vet, and was impressed with the amount of time he spent explaining to me what the situation is. We'll be keeping an eye on it, checking it every month to see if it is growing. I asked if it might grow inside where we can't check it, but the vet said it will grow out, if at all. He said not to check it more frequently than once a month, because we might become too accustomed to it and not notice a change.
Here's hoping all will be well.