Should I just let my dog worry his wart?
February 5, 2014 11:56 PM   Subscribe

My old guy has thing on his front leg that he won't stop licking. The cone can't stay on forever. I am pretty damned sure it is a wart since it looks kinda warty and, even though the area is reddened from the licking, my pulling and prodding doesn't cause him pain. I'm so tired of the emotional stress of the cone, for him and for me listening to him stress. I think I'm just going to let him have at it. Note: he's had what I thought was a skin tab there for ages, recently got bigger. I was worried it was something cancerous but it doesn't seem to cause him pain. Meh?
posted by Foam Pants to Pets & Animals (23 answers total)
Not all cancer is painful--in fact, a lot of times it's not because of nerve damage. So there's that. Even beyond that, the main risk, I think, is that eventually licking/chewing like this causes open wounds which cause infection. Either way, I would definitely say this is vet-worthy.
posted by Sequence at 11:58 PM on February 5, 2014 [8 favorites]

"I'm so tired of the emotional stress of the cone, for him and for me listening to him stress."

Off to the vet the both of you.
posted by vapidave at 12:23 AM on February 6, 2014 [8 favorites]

Why haven't you taken him to the vet to see about this lesion? You should go immediately. Whatever it is, it's irritating him and it needs to be biopsied. You need to tell the vet how much attention he's been paying to it.
posted by OneHermit at 12:30 AM on February 6, 2014 [13 favorites]

Cancer mostly doesn't cause pain. Please go see your vet.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:11 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Even if it IS just a wart, the vet can surgically remove it and once healed the cone can come off. Just go to the vet.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 2:10 AM on February 6, 2014

Even if its not hurting her, its likely causing some kind of physical sensation to make her focus on it. Whether its just itchy or tingling or something else.

That must be annoying for her. And with the chance of eventual infection.. I'd take her to a vet to get it removed.
posted by herox at 4:04 AM on February 6, 2014

If it is a wart it should be easily taken care of by the vet.

If you let the dog at it and he develops a wound it will be bad news.
posted by misspony at 4:31 AM on February 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Our 15 year old Gertrude had a lump like that on her leg. It did eventually get bigger (alarmingly so!) and she wouldn't leave it alone. It was non-cancerous, thankfully, but we did have it surgically removed, to stave off infection from the continual licking, and the stress from the licking (for all of us). Had her teeth cleaned at the same time.
posted by sarajane at 4:33 AM on February 6, 2014

This is a question that only your vet can answer.
posted by sid at 5:32 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are many reasons to have this checked out by your vet at your earliest opportunity. The possible diagnoses range from the trivial to very dangerous indeed, but in almost all of those cases, dealing with it earlier rather than later will be better for your dog and for your wallet.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:43 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

You really do not want this to develop into a granuloma, if it hasn't already done so. This will only lead to more licking, spreading infection and ongoing trauma. It could be 100 different things. He needs to be seen by a vet.
posted by barnone at 5:52 AM on February 6, 2014

Go to the vet!
posted by Miko at 6:21 AM on February 6, 2014

If he's in a cone, I'm assuming you've already seen a vet about this. What did the vet say? It's doubtful she intended the cone to be a permanent fixture. Is there anything you're supposed to be applying to it or any medication you're supposed to be giving?

If your vet just stuck a cone on him and said go forth indefinitely, you don't have a very good vet. Whatever it is on your dog's forearm needs to be treated and/or removed or your dog will never stop licking it.

I'd suggest returning to your vet (or to a better one!) to get an actual treatment plan.
posted by kythuen at 7:13 AM on February 6, 2014

posted by radioamy at 7:16 AM on February 6, 2014

There have been a number of studies showing that dogs can smell cancer, and in fact one of my neighbors had a dog who was constantly worrying at her leg and developed (or already had?) cancer there. Correlation or causation? I don't know.

Please take your dog to the vet.
posted by johnofjack at 7:26 AM on February 6, 2014

It seems like the cost of having the vet snip it off and a week or so of recovery time (still in the cone), would be totally worth it in terms of stress reduction and ease of life for everyone involved. I don't know if general anesthesia would even be required. (Which is something to definitely take into consideration)
posted by Vaike at 9:10 AM on February 6, 2014

NOT meh. Nthing that it is long overdue for you to go to the vet. (Or return.)
posted by bearwife at 10:12 AM on February 6, 2014

Note: he's had what I thought was a skin tab there for ages, recently got bigger.

So, you have a lot of responses telling you to go to the vet, but I wanted to address this note specifically while I add to them: My cat had what looked like a small wart on his side, which didn't seem to be bothering him at all, and our vet said to keep an eye on it and bring him in if it got bigger or gross. We checked it weekly. It didn't change at all for almost 5 months, and then we noticed that it was crusty and looked like it had scabbed. We took him in, and the vet said that since it changed suddenly, it was better to remove it (which they did at the same time as a dental). We just got the biopsy results, and it was malignant. Thankfully, they got it all and said that he should be considered cured, but we need to keep an eye out for any future growths.
posted by amarynth at 10:28 AM on February 6, 2014

The cone as a temporary fix. I had hoped that it was the skin tag all swollen and it would go back to normal after some cone time. No such luck. Trip to the vet. Seems to be benign and it'll be snipped off on Wednesday. Meanwhile, he's back in the cone. He's the black and white one on the right.
posted by Foam Pants at 4:00 PM on February 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Glad to hear it, Foam Pants.

I think I used to have that hat!
posted by Rock Steady at 4:31 PM on February 6, 2014

Do those fleecy hoods function as cones?
posted by Jesse the K at 5:39 PM on February 6, 2014

Great dogs! And good news from the vet - well done.
posted by aryma at 8:25 PM on February 6, 2014

Followup: Mishmash went under the knife today. We decided to have a fatty tumor under his elbow taken off at the same time. He's back, sacked out on the floor totally trippin' balls. The vet didn't think it was worth a biopsy as it looked very benign... which is good news for everyone! Mishmash would like to say that he is very pissed at everyone who helped lead to his current state of groggy stitchiness and, as soon as he can tell his nose from his arsehole, he's gonna give me a good talking to.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:02 PM on February 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

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