Brodie's skin cancer scare

Little Brodie visited the clinic recently for her 6 monthly senior wellness check up. She is a 15 ½ year old West Highland White Terrier. Overall Brodie was doing incredibly well, but she had been rubbing her chin on the ground in the last few weeks.

On examination we found a few small skin lumps. One was on her chin, located next to her lip, and it was trapping some moisture and saliva which was causing dermatitis (skin irritation). Testing of the lumps by fine needle sample was not definitive. Since the chin lump was obviously causing her discomfort, it was decided to remove this one, and the other lumps would also be removed and biopsied for definitive diagnosis.

At over 15 years old, it was important to assess her health carefully so we could manage the anaesthetic safely. Preanaesthetic blood tests were performed. A minor change to one liver enzyme was present. This had been detected previously and considered to be an age-related change of her liver which wasn’t causing her harm. It had been monitored with sequential tests each 6 months. Today’s test result was quite similar to previous, so we were happy to proceed with her surgery. Having a trend from previous tests to follow allowed us to best assess this result.

Brodie’s anaesthetic and procedure went very well. She had 4 lumps removed. The pathology testing revealed two of the lumps to be potentially aggressive. The growth on her lip was a Plasmacytoma, which is a type of growth that is occasionally malignant (spreads through the body). Another lump was a Haemangioma, which is often caused by sun damage. These are often benign initially but over time can transform to a more aggressive malignant form.  

Luckily, Brodie’s lumps had been detected and removed quite early. She has recovered fully from surgery and doing very well, as you can see! We’re glad that Brodie’s regular check ups helped to prevent a potentially serious skin cancer.