Dr. Alexis Bergstrom
Veterinarian – Animal Medical Center
Bailey is an 11yr-old Golden Retriever who presented with a large, ulcerated, infected mass at the base of the tail of several months duration. Aside from the mass, she also suffers from arthritis and probable hip dysplasia, but the rest of her exam is normal. Her owner reports that the mass started as a very small cyst, but has grown dramatically in size, and is now bigger than a softball. The location of the mass also makes it very difficult for Bailey to move around, as she cannot fully move her tail. As a result of the size and location of the mass, a tail amputation was determined to be the only possibility to remove the mass and restore full movement for Bailey. An incision was made at the very base of the tail, the mass was dissected away from the tissues underneath, and the skin was able to be closed with minimal problems. The mass was sent to the laboratory for analysis, and luckily it was found to be a benign hair follicle tumor and not cancerous. Bailey healed well and was able to move and play again like the puppy she wanted to be.
Even though a mass may not be cancerous, sometimes is it important to remove it based on location. If a mass is removed when small, the surgery will be less invasive and it is less likely to involve other parts of the body. In this case, Bailey’s tail may not have needed to be amputated had the mass been removed earlier. It is always best when any new mass occurs on your pet to have it examined promptly by your veterinarian so the best course of action can be determined.