I've been rather in the background as of late. Too distraught to get involved. Last Friday, September 21, I took Penny the Jack Russell to our veterinary clinic. We had noticed a small lump on her chest cavity. To air on the side of caution, we thought it best to get the lump checked out.
The vet we saw was not the usual vet. He made a physical inspection of the lump and drew the following conclusion. He told me that what she had was a tumorous lump and to rid her of it would involve a high risk operation that could actually shorten her life. I was told the procedure would produce significant scarring. He recommended that we just let it be and the vet concluded that Penny had about a year to live.
Stunned, devastated, I cradled her in my arms and carried her back to the car. Later on that Friday, I broke the news to my son, Tristan. As you can imagine, he was deeply saddened by the diagnosis. We got to talking about what the vet had said and realised something was very wrong. In my state of shock, I had not queried the vet as to why he didn't do a biopsy to test the tumorous growth. Indeed, how could he make such conclusions from just touching the lump.
On Tuesday afternoon, Tristan and I took Penny to another veterinary clinic. We registered right there and then and explained we would like a second opinion. Luckily, we got to see a vet within a few minutes. This time, calmer and with my son posing questions, this vet did a biopsy test using a fine needle aspirate. Further information can be found here : Fine Needle Aspiration
The vet inserted the fine needle into Penny's lump twice. Penny, bless her, wagged her tail. Feeling better in knowing we would be getting test results back on Wednesday, we took Penny home. On Wednesday afternoon, the vet phoned back with the biopsy test results. The test results determined that the lump was benign. No hostile cells and the cells within the lump were uniform in nature. We were told to observe if the lump got bigger and if required, a relatively straight forward operation, lasting about ten minutes, could be performed.
So, this is a cautionary tale. If you have a similar situation and you are puzzled by a diagnosis, don't hesitate to ask for a definitive test. Don't make the mistake I made and assume that a first initial diagnosis is correct. Although we have been experiencing mixed emotions over this, I'm glad that we had the foresight to get a second opinion.
This posting is to bring further awareness and thus, turning what seemed to be a negative into a positive. I must go now and give our beloved dog, a great big cuddle.