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Ask the Veterinarian/Dog; Abnormal growth; left flank


Hello Jana,

I believe I have written to you before to ask questions about either my dog or cat.  Something has come up that has me very concerned and I'd like your opinion.

I know you said you're not a vet, and you do not attempt to diagnose problems.  But maybe you can give me an idea of what I'm dealing with.

My dog has developed a "knot" that is a little larger than a golf ball on her left side, just behind her front left shoulder.  She has shown no discomfort or no change in behavior since this growth appeared.  And she does not respond when I put pressure on it.  I looked up a diagram on dog's internal organs and it looked like this growth may be in the vicinity of her liver, but I'm not sure.   Since she has shown no signs of distress or sickness I have not contacted her vet yet.  But I will probably do that on Monday.  But I would like your opinion in the meantime.   

She does not and has never gotten "people food", and I give her only the highest quality dog food I can get.  Right now she is getting Nature's Balance dry, and Nature's Recipe canned.  I mix them together.  I have looked up the ratings on canned foods and there are some higher rated canned foods out there, and also more expensive.  I am considering switching her canned food to something of higher quality.

Thank you,

I have no clue how old your dog is, but the chances are pretty good that she has a lipoma on her ribcage area.

They are generally soft, squishy masses that are usually benign.

Some breeds get them more often then others and older dogs get them more often than young ones.

They are rarely serious, IF that's what it is, but can cause mobility problems if they get very large.

It's best to have your vet look it over and if it's possible, have it removed before it gets very large. He/She can tell you what it is as well.

Sorry for the late answer, I was out of town.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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