Pet vet

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - JEFF KAHLER Jeff Kahler is a vet­eri­nar­ian in Modesto, Calif. Ques­tions can be sub­mit­ted to Your Pet in care of Life­Styles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto, Calif. 95352.

An­gel is a 14-plus-year-old fe­line shar­ing her life with her care­taker Ste­fanie. Some time ago Ste­fanie found a small, dark and soft mass on the top of An­gel’s head and about six months ago it grew quite vis­i­bly to about the size of a quar­ter at its base and three-quar­ters of an inch high. It is now pink, soft and, as Ste­fanie puts it, squishy. She wants to know whether or not she should be con­cerned.

The sim­ple an­swer is yes. At this point, we do not know what type of mass is grow­ing on An­gel’s head or if it could be can­cer­ous. The fact that it has changed char­ac­ter and ap­pears to be grow­ing is cause for con­cern.

An­gel needs surgery to have the mass re­moved. This will re­quire an anes­the­sia, but from Ste­fanie’s de­scrip­tion, it does not sound as if it will be a ma­jor pro­ce­dure. Still, An­gel is 14 years old and needs to be treated dif­fer­ently from a 2-year-old when pre­par­ing for an anes­thetic pro­ce­dure and the surgery it­self.

On older pa­tients I like to check body func­tions first. This is tai­lored to each in­di­vid­ual but usu­ally in­cludes blood work and test­ing to check for proper heart func­tion. This more ac­cu­rately as­sesses anes­thetic risk, which then al­lows us to make ad­just­ments as nec­es­sary. All pa­tients need to be as­sessed for risk. Just be­cause every­thing ap­pears to be nor­mal does not mean there is not some un­der­ly­ing prob­lem.

Af­ter sur­gi­cal re­moval of An­gel’s tu­mor, a biopsy will be per­formed on the mass. With this in­for­ma­tion, we can give a prog­no­sis.

One im­por­tant com­po­nent of An­gel’s surgery is pain man­age­ment. It is very im­por­tant to con­trol pain to has­ten good heal­ing. Proper pain con­trol is based on an as­sess­ment of the likely level of pain that a par­tic­u­lar pro­ce­dure might in­duce. In An­gel’s case, med­i­ca­tion likely will be needed be­fore the pro­ce­dure, fol­lowed with med­i­ca­tion af­ter and an oral preparation to be given for a few days at home.

Spe­cial to the Demo­crat-Gazette/DUSTY HIG­GINS

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