The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Word of the Day: Histiocytoma

Posted by thedarwinexception on April 14, 2007

When you own a dog you get to learn a lot of new words. Today’s word is HISTIOCYTOMA.

Milo has something on his front left leg that resembles a blood blister. He runs around so much outside I at first thought it was a tick – but it doesn’t look like that at all. If it was on my left leg I would think it was a huge cyst of some sort. I knew it was something I wanted the vet to look at, and luckily Milo was due for his heartworm test, anyway, so we we had to make an appointment.

Well, we finally went in on Friday and after determining that his heartworm test was negative, I had the vet look at the bump. He called it a “very normal, very common”  Cutaneous Histiocytoma. These are sometimes referred to as a “young dog tumor”, and are almost exclusively diagnosed in dogs under the age of three. They are more common in certain breeds, especially purebred dogs, and are generally found on the inner ear, the legs, and the front half of the body. They are almost always benign, but do require removal by surgery to be tested pathologically and so that they don’t grow to the point where surgery is not feasible. They can grow  so large that when they are finally removed they have to heal as an open wound, which makes the area ripe for infection.

So now Milo is scheduled for surgery Thursday morning.

And I’m so nervous and worried I can’t stand it. Not only because I have to actually *leave* him at the vet’s office for a few hours (which, BTW, I probably won’t do – I’ll bring a book and wait, thank you very much), but I am also all stressed out over the fact that he has to be put under anesthesia. I don’t like anesthesia. It scares me.

But I did talk to Milo’s breeder, and the breeders calmed me down a lot when they pointed out that when you get your pet spayed or neutered, they also go under anesthesia, and that it is just such a routine thing that there really isn’t anything to worry about. For some reason, that *did* help me. I like “routine” and “done all the time”. Safety in numbers and all, I guess.

So, there goes another $1,000 on this dog for the surgery. (But he’s so cute, how can you really be upset about it?) The vet broke all the charges down. It is going to cost like $300 just for the pathology report. I mean, what the hell? Where are they sending this thing? To the Mayo Clinic? And I was kind of pissed off to see that the vet was even charging for the fucking band aid. And that’s exactly what he called it, too. “A Band Aid” – $15.00. I’m thinking of bringing one from home – I mean, ours even have SpongeBob on them.

So everyone think really good thoughts for Milo on Thursday morning. And me. I’m sure by then, I’ll be so freaked out I’ll be having panic attacks.


9 Responses to “Word of the Day: Histiocytoma”

  1. Veronique said

    The good news is, the surgery will be relatively short, so Milo won’t have to be under all that long.

    But $15? For a band-aid? Jesus. Is this a vet in Malone? ‘Coz that sounds like Santa Cruz vet prices. Either Malone is doing a lot better than you’re telling us, or the vet has to make up for all the deadbeats with Milo’s cyst. Sheesh!

  2. Amy said

    Oh, Kim! Max had one of those, and it was nowhere NEAR $1000. I called the vet and while they couldn’t find the exact charge, she looked at everything over $200, and couldn’t find it – which means that it was less than $200. That makes sense, because $200 is about the threshold at which I remember specific stuff.

    Hell, Max had VERY expensive leg surgery (a TPLO) because she tore her ACL (or the canine equivalent thereof) and that was done by a specialist, and that was only $2500. Yeah, a lot of money, but comparatively a MUCH more complicated procedure than removing a tiny little benign cyst. BJ has had cysts removed that have cost less than that, and he’s a people.

    I would definitely take Milo for a second opinion. That is an insane price. I think they know you’d do anything for that dog, so they’re taking you for a ride.

    If it helps any, Max was running around like a crazy person the same day, and doesn’t even have a scar where they took hers off of her leg. The TPLO on the other hand, left a mark. Eek.

    Mary Grace thinks Milo is a mouse. 🙂


  3. Boron said

    This sounds like our vet, who managed to get $1000 out of us when the dog had a plain old UTI.

    My GP said the latest rumor is that vet schools are becoming more difficult to get into than med schools. Vets don’t have to fuss with medicare, medicaid, HMOs or any insurance and they can now charge human doctor prices.

  4. Kitt said

    I didn’t know you had a Cairn terrier, too! Same color as mine, though mine is almost 10. And yes, you’re right, way too cute for words. Hope the surgery goes/went well.

  5. Oh! Do you have a picture of your pup? Are you on Dogster? If you aren’t on dogster can you email me a pic? I love Cairn pics!


  6. Sherri said

    Hey, just kinda curious how that all worked out for you?

    I have to have one removed and am scared,my vet is only charging 185.00. Certainly hoping it doesn’t get to 1,000. Sherri

  7. Boston owner said

    Histiocytomas typically resolve themselves within a few weeks or months. I believe your vet can aspirate to verify whether or not it’s a histicytoma in most cases, so I’m not sure why your vet felt it had to be removed.

  8. Sarah said

    Hi, Did your dogs Histiocytoma grow back? I paid $500 for my dogs to be removed and now it has grown back 20 times the size and now he is getting one on his face. I don’t know where to go from here. Thanks

  9. Lynda said

    My Jack Russell Terrier had the same surgery when he was about a year old (he’s eight now). He did just fine. It didn’t cost me nearly that much (I’m in the Albany area).

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