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My husband took Miss Lulu Belle to the vet today for her vaccinations, an allergy shot, and to take care of a few other things. One of those things was a small blackish bump she developed on the edge of her ear. Our vet said that it was possibly a melanoma. Does that sound right?? I've never seen any other slave write about their dog's melanoma. I've seen sebaceous cysts, sarcomas, lukemias, etc, but never a melanoma. Does anyone know anything about melanomas on dogs? Is my vet a freaking loon?

As a side note, I'm relatively sure I need a sedative right now. I know I shouldn't be freaking, but I totally am. She's only two and it's really depressing and frightening that she might already be developing cancerous growths.

Can anyone provide me with information, links, book recommendations, etc. Any experience or knowledge anyone has on this subject would be greatly appreciated. Next week, the vet wants us to bring her in so he can cut a chunk out of her ear. He also said we have the option to biopsy it after he removes it. Should I do that as well?

Jeanne
 

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I know a basset that recently had a melanoma removed from her eyelid. Her owner said she was fine and the tumor wasn't malignant.

Here's a couple of articles discussion melanoma in the dog: Melanoma and Melanoma Tumor in a Dog.

Betsy can shed more light on this topic but it appears that not all melanomas are malignant in dogs and though I'm not sure, seems the malignant type might be less aggressive then in humans. :confused:

I'd definitely have it biopsied. Sending positive thoughts-keep us posted.
 
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I would certainly have it biopsied. Chloe had an odd growth on her side last year and I had it removed when she had her teeth cleaned. The vet didn't think it was cancerous, but just to be sure we had it biopsied. Sure enough, it was cancerous, but was confined to the lump. I now watch her more closely for odd lumps/bumps. She hasn't had any lumps since then and it was removed Feb 2004.

I think it is always better to catch these things quickly before they can cause trouble. Try not to stress out too much.
 

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Thanks very much. Our plan is to have it removed and biopsied. The biopsy is an extra $50, but I couldn't deal with not knowing. The vet will take a chunk out of her ear , but I know that I'd rather have her missing a piece of ear than any of the alternatives. And, kudos to my 10 year old for asking me, "mom, what's this on Lulu's ear?"

I found out lots last night about canine melanoma! Ready? I'll try to keep it somewhat short. Tri-colors, listen up because this primarily concerns you. Canine melanomas predominantly occur in dogs with dark pigment skin. Lulu had TONS of ticking. Her entire belly is splotched with black skin. Anywhere she has black or brown fur, she has black skin underneath. Her front leg skin is black as well. It has nothing to do with the amount of exposure to the sun, but rather simply a mutation in the dark pigmented skin. Typically you see melanomas in schnauzers, scotties, retrievers, or other dogs with dark pigments. No list I found ever mentioned our houndies though.

Melanomas that occur outside the mouth and eyes are typically (pawsies crossed) benign. If a dog develops one in their mouth they are aggressive and unforgiving. Very rarely will they respond to chemo or radiation and do not have a good prognosis. Any sort of melanoma that develops near a mucous gland or any other gland for that matter is a bad thing. They can metastasize very quickly and there's virtually nothing you can do. Treatment always involves removing the affected area and doing a biopsy. Other typical places melanomas develop are on the eye, eyelid, and footpads. The footpad one threw me, but seems to be generally agreed upon.

Lulu's melanoma is a dark black lump about the size of a large pea, right on the edge of her ear. The best way to describe it is to say it looks like a very full tick, you know? It's very round and very hard. This bodes well for her also as it isn't a splotch of skin. What bothers me is the close proximity to her mouth and eyes. I'm going to have the vet check for any signs in her mouth and around her eye areas when she has it removed next week. The other thing that bothers me is that very few people seem to have experience with melanomas on their bassets. That kind of scares me because it seems to be atypical of our breed.

Anyway, that's what I know. I did a Google search for "canine melanoma" and found lots of really good information on vet sites, the flat coated retriever society, and the schnauzer society. So, just a word of caution to all the tris with dark pigmented skin out there. Make sure your slaves are keeping a good eye on your dark skin. Again, thanks everyone for the drool, we're going to need a lot of it this next week...and mommy could use a stiff drink.
 
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Lulu's Mom, Thanks so much for sharing what you found out. I think a lot of tri owners will be giving their babies the once-over tonight. Lots of prayers and drool coming your way. Wish I could figure out a way to send you that drink. Hang in. You're doing the best you can.

Me 'n Twink
 

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Discussion Starter #6
BENIGN MELANOMAS...
Benign cutaneous melanomas of dogs are usually seen as round, firm, raised, darkly pigmented masses from one-quarter to 2 inches in diameter.  They occur most often on the head, digits or back.
I took this off the Melanoma Tumor In a Dog link. Barbara, thank you so much for these helpful links. This description accurately sums up Lulu's melanoma. I am breathing a small sigh of relief that it would appear hers is likely benign. I'm only breathing a small sigh of relief because she's still going to have to be put under anesthesia to remove it.
 
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Besides my Basset Homer, I have two black Lab mixes. The male who is 3, developed a hard, black growth on his paw some months back. The vet said it was a form of melanoma and could be malignant. If it was, there were several types, as not all are fatal. It turned out to be malignant, but not a bad kind. The vet suggested that I just leave it alone as sometimes there can be what is called "spontaneous resolution." We decided to take his advice and sure enough, it eventually disappeared! He's been fine ever since.
 

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;) No problem, it's double the melanoma fun! Thanks for sharing your story too. I too had heard that melanoma is predominantly a male problem as well. I'm glad everything turned out good for your lab. Do you remember how long it took for it to go down?
 
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It took about 5 weeks. When you're waiting and worried it seems like forever.

I've gotta ask - what does LuLu do when she catches those cats? I have a few cats and a couple of them are not afraid of Homer so he's ok with them - but the ones that run from him and show fear - well I think he'd do some serious harm if I let him get to them. :mad:
 

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It depends on whether your kitties still have claws or not. Miss Lulu doesn't actually "catch" the kitties either. They're generally way too fast for her. It's funny though because they juke each other out like football players on the field. The couple of times she has gotten close enough to reach out and do whatever she wanted, she just paws at them wanting them to play. They paw back and slash open a nose or ear. She learned very quickly that chasing the kitties is fun, catching the kitties hurts. They are starting (after two full years) to come out of their shells with her though. They're realizing she isn't as scary as she looks so they're getting braver each day. I even have one that likes to rub on Lulu. Lulu can take it for a few minutes, but then she just gets so excited she can't stand it and tries to play with the kitty just like she would another dog.

I've never ever sensed any of the prey instinct with her and the cats. She's always, even since her little puppy days, viewed them as something to play with, not something to chase down as prey. Although, she does do a good job of "treeing" the kitties on their carpeted kitty tree. She loves to do that, then wait until they're brave enough to come down and the chase starts all over again. She's always seemed to know they're part of her pack, not something to hunt.
 
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