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I am really worried about my 15-year-old crossbreed spaniel who is quite frail now. He has a large warty-type growth on his back that just keeps bleeding. Our vet has advised that it is removed, but as my dog is so old now, I am wondering about how he will cope with the operation.

Graham Finch advises…

I’m sorry to hear this, and I can really appreciate how you feel. The reassuring news is that modern anaesthetics – and sedative drugs – are very safe. You have not mentioned talking to your vet about this, but it may just be possible to remove the mass under sedation, rather than a full anaesthetic. That being said, some risk is associated with any procedure, but age alone is not necessarily a risk factor.

There are various approaches to mitigating any risk. In our practice we recommend a blood sample as a wellness check prior to any sedation or anaesthesia in animals older than eight. We also place the patient on IV fluids during the procedure itself to help maintain blood pressure and ensure hydration.

I feel sure your vet will be happy to chat this through with you and they will take every care to ensure your companion is operated on as safely as possible. Once these lumps start bleeding, I agree with your vet that the best option is surgical removal, so I wish your chap well and I hope he makes a speedy recovery.

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