Finding a lump on your dog can be a very upsetting experience; as someone whose dog has had more lumps than a unmixed batch of mashed potatoes, I can attest first hand to this feeling. When those lumps appear “a watch and wait” demeanor does not occur. I’ve learned that any lump can be concerning, as even something as simple as a “pimple-like” growth can be a mast cell (cancerous) tumor. My first Cocker Spaniel had an innocent-appearing bump on her back at the site of vaccination that turned out to be a stage II mast cell growth. Since then, I am not anti-vaccine, but I am over anti-vaccine, particularly since it is believed the vaccine caused the reaction (aka cancer).
Dogs, with their faster than ours pace in aging, may develop more lumps in their lifetime than one could count. Some of those lumps might be of concern, others not so much. A vet visit is always in order if your dog has any new growth, lesion, or lump. At the very least, a veterinarian will most likely aspirate and determine the next feasible step.
One of the more commonly seen lumps is called a lipoma, a fatty tumor that occurs in dogs and cats. Lipomas are benign, but rarely there can be a form called liposarcoma, which is rare but malignant. Lipomas are generally found on a dog'[s belly (my dog presently has one near his rib cage) and should be checked and confirmed for accurate diagnosis. If the lump grows or starts interfering with the dog’s daily life/are bothersome they are generally removed. Never squeeze or attempt to burst the lump.
The biopharmaceutical company, BioSpecifics Technologies Corporation, announced recently a collagenase-based products marketed as XIAFLEX for pets affected by a lipoma. A placebo-controlled phase II clinical trials is underway, with the study expected to complete in the first part of 2013. According to the company, close to two million dogs in the United States are affected by lipomas.
According to Thomas Wegman, President of BioSpecifics, “We are happy to report the initiation of Chien-804 as we believe there is strong potential for injectable collagenase in the treatment of lipomas in canines and a high interest among veterinarians in the product to treat this condition.”
In a previous clinical trial, the efficacy of the injectable collagenase was tested in healthy dogs that had a subcutaneous (under the skin) lipoma. The lipomas treated were benign, superficial, and easy to measure. At the end of the study the treated lipomas showed a reduction by 97 percent.
Upon further investigation, XIAFLEX was approved by the FDA in 2010 to treat a debilitating hand condition in humans called Dupuytren’s contracture.
It will be interesting to see where this study leads and if they are helpful in the treatment of the growths.