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Sorry for the long post, but I'm really worried and I don't know if I should try and come up with money somehow to help my dog or if I should put him down.

My dog Bear is 11 years old, and until now, has been in perfect health all of his life. A few months ago he got a lump on his front leg, and we were told by the technician that it was probably either a fatty tumor or cancer. It wasn't really a vet, but more of a clinic for low income families that just administers boosters and vaccines.

It started out really small, but grew to a little bit bigger than the size of a golf ball within about 2 weeks. It got to that size fairly quickly, and then stopped growing, and since I don't have money to spare I let it go. For about 4 months he didn't have any pain, didn't bite it or anything, and as far as you could tell I'm not sure if he even noticed it.



Just recently he has had some odd behavior, mostly in the morning when he gets up. Normally he's hopping all around excited you're up and runs to the door to go out, but now is acting very confused and stares a lot like he's catatonic or something. I have to coax him outside and I can tell his leg has some pain because he stops at the steps and stares for a few minutes, then limps down it. If I touch the lump or leg he doesn't yelp, but sometimes he just yelps or whines out of nowhere. He has a lot of other symptoms also, but mostly just very odd behavior of not being himself. The best way to describe it is that it seems like he's aged 5 years, acting more like 16 than 11, within a matter of days. It is VERY bad in the morning, gets a lot better in late afternoon where he acts almost 100% normal at times, and then gets bad again at night.

At first I thought it was old age, but there was rapid onset of this behavior and I just recently noticed the lump has gotten slightly smaller and it went from being somewhat soft to a lot harder. It's right under the skin, and it does move around a slight bit, so it's not into the bone. Does anyone have any idea what it is? I don't think that it's a fatty tumor.

My guess is that it's an abscess or something and it burst slightly, and the odd behavior could be because he is septic or something? It has to be more than a coincidence that the lump changed in size and softness right when the odd behavior started. I barely have enough money to take care of myself, and I don't have the money to get this fixed. It will cost hundreds to do a biopsy and get it surgically removed. BUT, I don't want to let him go. If it's just an infection I will do whatever I can to get the money, have it removed and get him on antibiotics. If it is a malignant tumor or cancer I'm going to have to put him down because I can't afford it and I can't watch him suffer like this.

Does anyone know if an infection could cause this kind of odd behavior? Or does this sound like cancer? If it is an infection will he deteriorate quickly, or could he fight it off? It's just weird that he was fine for so long and then all of a sudden within a matter of days he deteriorated like this.
 

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It could really be either. Yes an infection could show sudden symptoms but so could cancer.

You need to get him to a vet asap. If it's an infection his chances of making it through get slimmer each hour he isn't on antibiotics (if he's septic). If it's not an infection than you could see about doing a needle aspirate and that will tell you if it's cancerous or not and it's less expensive then doing a surgical removal and biopsy. From there you could see what your options are.

Either way the basic advise is still the same. Get him into a vet asap!
 

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Agree with the Vet. You may need to make the hard decision. In a perfect world, the vet would take a biopsy and check other symptoms and the diagnosis would be definitive.

However, a good and compassionate vet would consider the dog's age and symptoms and explain what he believes it to be and leave the decision up to you (treat or PTS). A dog that has gone septic can be treated but it is costly and depending on the degree of septicemia and organ function, the prognosis can be highly variable. A dog with metastatic cancer probably cannot be treated.

A vet is necessary. If there is no money you can try your local dog shelter for advice and services. Not the best choice.. not at all.. but even PTSing the dog is not without expense.

Sorry this is happening.
 

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Can you take his temperature? If it is an infection he will have a temp. Take it rectally w/a lubricated thermometer. Normal temp is about 101 degrees. If he has a temp, go to a vet and see if they will give you a broad spectrum antibiotic.

If his temp is normal, then I would go to the vet and ask about the cheapest way he would go to diagnose it, and if he would take payments. You might want to check out www.carecredit.com They basically finance vet bills. It might make any treatment decisions easier for you.

You might also ask the vet about putting him on a pain killer like Etodolac and Tramadol which is cheaper than Previcox and Rimadyl.

If you can't get his pain under control, I would put him down, if it isn't an infection that can be cured. Animal Control and the local Humane society will humanely euth dogs for about 35.00.
 
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