Skip to Content

Are You Proactive Or Reactive When It Comes To Medically Managing Your Pet?

For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook you saw that last Friday I had to take a non-planned trip to the vet with Sherman because I found a very surprising mass on the pinna of his left ear.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook, obviously this is new news for you. I share lots of craziness over there like what I’m making for dinner, or what Gracie is wearing to school, or Sherman’s bloody ear, because I know that is what everyone wants to see.(sarcasm)

Anyway, I didn’t like the bump I found on Sherman’s ear at 5:10 Friday evening so I called the vet and because she is totally awesome she told me to bring him up and she would take a look at it. She is totally awesome because the the vet office closes at 6:00 and she was fully booked and fully sick with the sniffles but she loves Sherman so she fit him in.

To be quite honest with you I wasn’t all that concerned, maybe because it happened so fast, I found the mass and 15 minutes later I was at the vets, which didn’t leave me much time to dwell on it, but when the vet saw it she didn’t like it.  I had peeled the scab off of it and what was underneath was an ulcerated pea sized raised mass. She immediately took a swab and looked at it under the microscope. At this point she was thinking it may be inflammation due to some sort of trauma, a histiocytoma, or a mast cell tumor. The good news was that she didn’t see any mast cells on the slide, and even though the ear is a common place to see a histiocytoma, mast cell tumors can be seen there too, so she still wanted to proceed with caution.

We can be reactive or proactive in this type of situation. Treat the bump with some antibiotic cream and monitor over the weekend or send a piece of it off for biopsy now.

In most cases I am a reactive person. I take the wait and see approach. However, when it comes to my dog and the word mast cell, I am proactive.

So we sent a piece of the mass off for biopsy.

********Slightly Graphic Image Below


This is what Sherman’s ear looked like after she removed a piece of the mass. For those of you who are curious about the procedure we did here I will fill you in. The process was quite fast and simple:

The vet injected Lidocaine around the area and then used a 10 blade to cut two small pieces of the mass out. Then we applied pressure because it bled quite a bit and used a cautery stick to stop the bleeding.  It was all done in less than 10 minutes and Sherman didn’t flinch.

Now came the hard part. The wait.

A biopsy usually takes 4-5 days to come back from the pathologist. In 4-5 days a lot of things can go through ones mind. First, if the biopsy came back as mast cell Sherman would lose part of his ear. I spent 3 days folding Sherman’s ear back to see what he would look like with 1/2 his ear gone.

Next I spent hours looking up mast cell tumors online. Yes, even people who work in the vet world do this, although we get totally called out on it by our peers. Eventually I found a picture of a mast cell tumor on a dog’s ear and it looked exactly like the mass on Sherman’s ear.

Done deal.

I basically had Sherman set up for surgery by that point.

I was driving my husband crazy.

I was driving the lab that had the biopsy crazy.

“Is it done yet?” I would call and ask

“No. Stop calling us.” The lab tech would say.

Finally on Tuesday, after pestering the lab for 3 days,  I received the report.

The mass was consistent with a regressing cutaneous histiocytoma. No mast cells seen! Which is good and no further action is required!


So now here’s my question for you:

A lot of people talk about dog being proactive vs reactive when it comes to dog traning but what about when it comes to you medically managing your pet, would you consider yourself a reactive or a proactive person, or does it depend on the situation?

In life in general I am a reactive person, but when it comes to my dogs health I am definitely a proactive person.


Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Monday 24th of September 2012

So glad to hear that Sherman is going to be OK! My family is definitely proactive. They almost call the doctor when something new pops up that isn't supposed to be. :)

Woofs & huggies, <3

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

2 brown dawgs

Monday 17th of September 2012

What a relief to know that Sherman is OK. I would have done exactly what you did in that situation. Hopefully (since I am so far behind) his ear is much better now.


Monday 17th of September 2012

Thank you and yes his ear is doing so much better now!


Friday 14th of September 2012

So very glad the test results came back as non-cancerous. How scary. (I would have been flipping Sherman's ear too.)

I am normally a very proactive person when it comes to my dogs, but the last year and a half have been extremely tough from a monetary standpoint, so I am forced to be reactive at this point. I am hoping that I will be in a much better position in a month and then I will be proactive once again. Daisy has a very small lump on her foot that has not grown in size or started to puss or anything (and Labs tend to get a lot of lumps and bumps as they get older), but I will be much more relieved when I can take her in to have it checked out. I hate being forced to be reactive.


Monday 17th of September 2012

Thanks Mel!

I hear you loud and clear too sand even though I work at the vets and get a pretty good discount, I am the same way. I drew blood on Sherman and was all ready to send it out, but then I stopped myself and said that if I did that without having the biopsy results back first I would be throwing money away, not to mention I just had full blood ran on him a few months ago for no reason:)


Friday 14th of September 2012

Proactive and highly paranoid. Meaning, proactive in that they receive regular vet checkups, the best diet and food in my research/opinion (raw), and tons of exercise and activities. And then I'm so paranoid that I am reactive in the sense they are taken to the vet immediately. After dealing with AIHA (auto-immune disease that killed my picture-of-health dog in 3 days), I am now paranoid to a fault almost. I'm not sure what that's called officially :)

Jen @dogthusiast


Monday 17th of September 2012

I understand what you are saying, in a way I think it kind of depends on what we have gone through in the past. My first Newf was not very healthy at all, and from that I became paranoid with Sherman and Leroy. I'm sorry to read about your dog that had AIHA

Jana Rade

Friday 14th of September 2012

Glad it's nothing serious! I too believe in tending to problems when they crop up, rather than wait for a small problem to become a big one, or miss something. God knows that with Jasmine one doesn't want to take any chances.

On the other hand, with Jasmine, and her health care expenses as they are, it's not a good plan to always run all possible diagnostics for all possible options. So how far I'd go with diagnostics depends on the situation and on what her vet thinks about it. So there were times when we started antibiotics to see. There were times when we did run cytology and biopsy.


Monday 17th of September 2012

I hear you. I think it all comes down how well you know your vet too, the fact that my vet advised just doing the biopsy now rather than wait and see led me to believe she wanted to be careful. I work with her everyday and I read her, the tone in her voice, the fact that she didn't say it was nothing, etc. I have to tell you though that I thought about you during this because of the while lick granuloma thing! I thought for sure we would be removing that too!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Homemade Cranberry Dog Treats 20 Easy Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas The 4 Stages Of The Newfoundland Dog Homemade Apple Dog Treats No-Bake Pumpkin Dog Treats