Comments on the dilemma in the October issue: ‘Mammary mass in an overweight dog’

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Abstract

The dilemma in the October issue concerned an overweight labrador with a mammary mass (In Practice, October 2011, volume 33, pages 493–494), which required biopsy and removal of the mass. However, when the client was advised that the dog would need to lose weight before surgery, they become aggressive, said ‘the dog is on a diet and the weight problem is under control’ and refused to discuss attending weight clinics or changing the animal's food. Practice records showed that the client had previously taken the dog to two weight loss clinics and, at the last visit, it had weighed 27 kg. It was now 33 kg. Rachel Casey commented that there were three options for dealing with this scenario: to ignore the problem until the client returned; to report the owner to the RSPCA; or to contact the owner and try to convince them to reconsider weight loss options. By not taking action, the weight issue would probably not be addressed by the owner and the mass would inevitably grow bigger over time, resulting in a decline in the dog's welfare, while reporting the client to the RSPCA might breach client confidentiality. Consideration also needed to be given to whether the welfare of the dog would be better in kennels or with its owner. She suggested that the best option was to contact the owner and to take the time to consider why the owner was reluctant to address the dog's weight problem. In addition, focusing on the mass and the requirement for surgery rather than the weight of the animal, or suggesting alternative weight-loss options, such as a balanced home-made diet, might achieve good welfare outcomes for the dog.

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