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Coping with Growths: Dixie Mae’s Story

By Colleen Williams
published: July 12, 2018 - updated: March 16, 2023 • 3 min. read
gray dog in cone collar

Key Takeaways

  • Lumps and growths are common reasons why pet parents take dogs to the vet.
  • Dixie Mae, a seven-year-old American Staffordshire terrier had bumps that needed to be removed.
  • Three growths were malignant, and the other was benign.
  • The vet removed the growths with a series of treatments.
  • Dixie Mae’s pet parent’s bills were largely covered by Healthy Paws.

As the sixth most common reason why pet parents bring their pups to the vet, growths, lumps, and bumps can be scary to find on your dog.  Skin tags, cysts, lipomas, and tumors can all fall under this category; so while sometimes the growths can be benign, other times they might be quite serious. Symptoms include hairless spots, discomfort, and a very obvious protrusion on your dog’s body. Being familiar with your pet’s health and their physique – can you answer “was that there before?” – is a great way to catch lumps early.
gray bull dog in cone collar
Pet parent Susan has found that to be key in treating Dixie Mae, her 7-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier whose favorite things in life are snuggling, going for long walks and cooking in the kitchen. “Given her history of skin issues, I have come to realize it is better to be proactive than reactive,” says Susan. Over the past two years, Dixie Mae has had 23 claims for growths and while the bumps have all been removed, not all have been benign.

“A couple of months ago, I noticed a small bump on her back side to the right of her tail bone. A couple of weeks after noticing it, it seemed to be larger,” says Susan. She brought Dixie Mae into their vet, and they agreed the best plan of action was to remove it. “The day before her procedure, I noticed three other small bumps on her and those also [had to be] removed. It ended up that three of the four growths were malignant and the other one was a benign growth.”

Eliminating a benign or superficial bump can be a quick in-office procedure (sort of like visiting the dermatologist for wart removal), however with more serious internal or malignant growths, Dixie Mae had to endure a series of treatments – biopsies, tests, surgery, and even hospitalization. “Over the last several years, Dixie has had many growths removed from all over her body including her paws,” says Susan. “My goal is always to make her life as enjoyable and comfortable as possible.”

brown dog lying on bed

Today, Dixie Mae is back to her fun puppy-self and now that temps have warmed up in Chicago, she and Susan are out running again. “Having Healthy Paws Pet Insurance has enabled me to truly be proactive and have Dixie treated by the best veterinarians,” says Susan. She’s been reimbursed $9,577 for growth claims filed over the past couple years, and it’s helped tremendously in treating her issues promptly.

While there is no true preventative method for most growths other than catching them early and then removing, a healthy lifestyle can help pups’ overall wellbeing and strengthen the immune system. Also, watch out for the sun! UV exposure can affect dogs just like it does people, resulting in melanoma and cancerous tumors.

Chronic conditions aren’t always what we expect! Many dogs have recurring issues like allergies, skin problems, and growths like Dixie Mae. By signing up for pet insurance early, you can save up to 90% on those vet bills. Find out more by checking out our dog and cat insurance, and start by getting a free quote.

The claim scenarios described here are intended to show the types of situations that may result in claims. These scenarios should not be compared to any other claim. Whether or to what extent a particular loss is covered depends on the facts and circumstances of the loss, the terms and conditions of the policy as issued and applicable law.

Insured people providing testimonials in this report have not received compensation for their statements.

Are you a Healthy Paws pet parent with a recovery story to tell? We’d love to hear it! Send your pet’s story along with photos of your four-legged family member to
colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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