Old dog groaning noises.

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2bor02b:
My dog, Elmo, is 12 years old, a German Shepherd, Husky mix. He is about the size of a large German Shepherd but about 10 pounds overweight, I am trying to limit his calories but he gets such pleasure from food. As far as exercise, everday we take a morning and evening walk of 1 kilometre. He does not really enjoy the walks that much but does them for me. He pants a lot and slows down and stalls and sniffs but when we turn around to head back home, he suddenly has more energy and he speeds up and almost prances.

About a year ago, I noticed a lump in his thorax, just below his rib cage on the right about an inch from the centre line. At the time, the doctor said he thought it was a fatty lump and not to worry. I think it has gotten larger. I do not want to put my dog through the stress of surgery at his age.
Recently he has begun making very small groaning noises at night. Since he sleeps on my bed, I notice this change. He will make a small groan and then switch positions. After much groaning and switching, he finally goes to sleep. But then he wakes me up in the middle of the night with the switching of positions. I have given him a coated aspirin at bedtime. It did not help.
What do I do? Surgery is very invasive and it might take his life. Elmo's last surgery to remove a similar lump which turned out to be a fatty, non malignant tumour, was about 3 years ago. The surgery really depressed him and he took a while to come back to full strength. But if this is cancer or a rapidly growing tumor, this will also take his life. If it is a fatty tumor and it is pushing on his lungs or heart or other organs, that could account for his not liking long walks or his shifting positions at night and the groans.

Or maybe this is all part of the aging process in a dog. How can I tell if he is in pain or just giving old age groans. He eats fine and seems happy. Please let me know your opinions. Money, thank goodness, is not a factor. I want this dog to be as happy, always, as he has made me. Thank you.
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FurPaw:
[nq:1]My dog, Elmo, is 12 years old, a German Shepherd, Husky mix. He is about the size of a large ... is not a factor. I want this dog to be as happy, always, as he has made me. Thank you.[/nq]
What does your vet say about the lump now? Has he/she recommended a biopsy?

The first thing that pops into my head re the nighttime groans and changing positions and reluctance to go on walks is arthritis. Have you discussed these symptoms with your vet? If it is arthritis, there are medications that are more effective than aspirin. Just speculating, based on my own experience with oncoming arthritis...

FurPaw
Unleash the dog to reply
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Charlie Wilkes:
[nq:1]What do I do? Surgery is very invasive and it might take his life.[/nq]
I am taking care of a friend's 13-y-o retriever/lab, and we recently had this debate, because I was pushing for surgery to remove a couple of weird-looking tumors. She was worried that the surgery would kill him.
Well, yesterday he had his surgery, and the vet removed numerous tumors besides the ones we were worried about. The dog had a general anesthetic, but when I picked him up at 2 p.m., he was awake and eager to get out of the kennel. I brought him home, and today he's the same good old dog he ever was, minus a lot of tumors.
He doesn't have much time left, but he'll be taken care of properly as long as he is healthy enough to enjoy his life, which he definitely is now.
Charlie
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Rosa Palmén:
[nq:1]My dog, Elmo, is 12 years old, a German Shepherd, Husky mix. He is about the size of a large ... is not a factor. I want this dog to be as happy, always, as he has made me. Thank you.[/nq]
If you are worried about the tumour get a biopsy done, also ask the vet if he/she thinks the tumour might be pressing on something. Many old dog gets fattytumours that are mostly just a cosmetic problem and nothing more, lets hope this is the case with your old boy too =).From your description I suspect arthritis, just like FurPaw. There are different meds you can give your dog in that case. I have treated my older arthritic dog with oral painkillers (If a dog has to be on painkillers for years injections can be given every now and then to let the stomach rest for a while), she also gets supplements (glucosamine, chondriotin, MSM) with her food that are supposed to "lubricate" the joints. She has also gotten a couple of injections (cartrophen) also supposed to lubricate her joints.

The effects of those haven't been dramatic, the biggest change I've noticed after those injections is that she isn't as stiff after getting up from bed. Two years after her first injection she started getting stiff again, and got a second one, so the effects are pretty longlasting. At the moment she gets Rimadyl as painkillers after long walks in deep snow, or if she has been playing more than usual. If I beleive she will be sore the next day, I give her the meds in the evening, and continue to give them for a couple of days.

Rosa
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dogsnus:
[nq:1]My dog, Elmo, is 12 years old, a German Shepherd, Husky mix. About a year ago, I noticed a lump ... it has gotten larger. I do not want to put my dog through the stress of surgery at his age.[/nq]
It is a valid concern.
[nq:1]Recently he has begun making very small groaning noises at night. Since he sleeps on my bed, I notice this ... the night with the switching of positions. I have given him a coated aspirin at bedtime. It did not help.[/nq]
Ah, poor guy.
Just like humans, dogs get arthritis and stiff joints. All 3 of my older ones are getting glucosamine supplements for their joints, and one that has displaysia is also getting Rimadly. I have noticed an improvement in their mobility and lack of stiffening when they first move after a long stretch of inactivity, such as a nap. Just something you may want to talk to your vet about.

Here's a couple of links for both glucosamine and rimadly: http://www.rimadyl.com /
http://www.placervillevet.com/nutraceuticals.htm
Good luck and thanks for taking such good care of your oldster. They deserve it.
Terri
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Suja:
[nq:1]Recently he has begun making very small groaning noises at night.[/nq]
I'll agree with everyone else that this might well be arthritis, and may be completely unrelated to the tumor. Talk to your vet and find out what he thinks. If that's the case, you have lots of options when it comes to treating him. Please also take that extra weight off him. Extra weight can cause a lot of stress on the joints. I know you are reluctant to cut back on his food, but what you can do is add a filler (like green beans, pumpkin, etc.) to increase the volume of his food without significantly increasing the calories.
Suja
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2bor02b:
Thank you to everybody. Will let you know how it goes.
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