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June 13, 2013

Old neighborhood dog has a tumor

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: There is an American bulldog named Daisy who lives in the neighborhood. She has a tumor hanging from her belly that drains and bleeds at times. She always comes to my house to sleep in my three doggies’ beds. I love her and allow her to do this, and I wash the blanket each time she goes home.

Is the draining and bleeding dangerous for my dogs? I have mentioned this to her owner, but he refuses to put her down. Daisy does not want to be alone, and she seems scared. I am sad and heartbroken for her cancer, and knowing my dogs won’t get sick will help me.

— L.S., Hendersonville, N.C.

Dear L.S.: I appreciate your concern over your neighbor’s poor dog. My guess is that this is either an ulcerated breast tumor or a fatty tumor — a lipoma. If it is the latter, then surgical removal should fix the problem. But if it is a neglected mammary tumor, chances are that it has spread to her lungs and other parts of her body, so surgery would not be a cure. It may temporarily make her life more comfortable, but she may not survive the surgery.

Either way, if you have the funds, talk to the owner, who may need financial or emotional support — and possibly a kick in the rump to do something for the dog.

The oozing from the growth is not likely to put your dogs at risk, but you would be wise to bleach-clean any towels you put down for her to rest on when she visits. You can clean her up with diluted hydrogen peroxide or a hand sanitizer solution.

I find such neglect appalling, and calling the local animal shelter or a veterinarian to come and evaluate the dog when she is visiting may be a good idea.

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