Histiocytoma: Aka- Button Tumor in Dogs

Button tumor on the side of Muddy's abdomen. July, 25, 2013

histiocytoma on the side of Muddy’s abdomen. July, 25, 2013


Muddy, the lab is a clown. If you are "dog tired" of the camera person just stick out your tongue.

Muddy, the lab is a clown. If you are “dog tired” of the camera person just stick out your tongue.

Muddy loves sticks.  No inclination to fetch- anything!

Muddy loves sticks. No inclination to fetch- anything!

Muddy resting in the gravel driveway.

Muddy resting in the gravel driveway.

About a month ago I discovered a small round odd looking growth on the side of my labrador retriever, Muddy. A very odd looking growth that is approximately an inch in diameter.

I feared for the worse possible news but my veterinarian diagnosed the growth as a histiocytoma also known as a button tumor. He declared no immediate removal and instructed me to give Benadryl 50mg twice daily for 2 months. The tumor is considered benign but he also said that it should be removed if it does not go away or shrink from the antihistamine. He said that this type of tumor sometimes responds to an antihistamine since the tumor is believed to arise from from type of histamine reaction in the body.

I’ll have it removed after I finish the Benadryl in about a month. I have not seen any change in the size so far and thus I don’t think I will be home free without having to shell out some money. I might add that Muddy weighs around 90 pounds and part of the cost of surgery is figured in according to the weight of an animal. It will not be cheap.

Dog breeds (most often affected) by this type of tumor include Dachshund, Shetland Sheep Dog, Great Dane, Labrador Retriever, Boxer, Staffordshire Terrier, and the Cocker Spaniel.

Of note there is a malignant tumor that resembles the button tumor. Do not take this info here as the last word. If you notice any growth on your cat or dog DO NOT HESITATE TO GET YOUR PET TO THE VET FOR PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT.

I have posted a pic of the tumor along with a few photos of my boy. Muddy was found five years ago by me on a cold and wet January night in the parking lot of the hospital where I worked for not quite 35 years. Muddy is a wonderful watch dog and is very smart. He just does not care a lot for water and has never shown an inclination to retrieve. He does like to play with sticks that he finds in the yard.

Post and photographs

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46 thoughts on “Histiocytoma: Aka- Button Tumor in Dogs

  1. chatou11 says:

    Hello Yvonne, thank you for visiting me et give me all explanations on the weather in Texas. I wonder how is Muddy. Is you son going well?
    Have a nice week and take care.

    • Thank you for inquiring about Muddy. I am sad to say that he went to doggie heaven nearly three years ago this July. I did not post about him because- well I just did not feel up to writing about him. He died of a cancer that was in his breast bone. I was able to keep him going about one month after he was x-rayed and diagnosed. When he stopped eating and was in too much pain, my vet put him to sleep.The vet said it was osteosarcoma of the breast bone. He had been declining for about 6 months or so and I feared the worse for him and figured that he probably had cancer. I knew in my heart that there would be nothing to do to save him. He was only about eight years old. I still miss him because he was one of the best dogs that I have ever had. Muddy was vey kind and loving but was also an excellent watch dog.

      My son continues with severe depression and spends most of the day in bed with his cat sleeping on his chest or by his face. His Labrador, Daisy, sleeps next to his bed. He gets up when his girlfriend gets home from her teaching job. My son’s doctor has tired about 4-5 different antidepressant meds and none of them work. Of course it distresses me to see him doing virtually nothing but he is alive and has good memory and looks and acts normal. He is a lucky man and I thank God for my son.

  2. chatou11 says:

    Hi dear Yvonne, I just want to wish you a good Year with a lot of good moments. The best I want to send you is a good health for you,your son and five me news from Muddy.
    Lots of hugs

    • Thank you, Chatou. This reply to you is finding me in fairly good health with weakness attributed to my hypertensive med and med for afib plus the blood thinner. There is no way around these meds for the cardiologist says these are the best to control afib. I try to manage the meds in a way so that I do not take them all at same time. I just must rest for 30 minutes to an hour or so when I tire in order to get through the day. I am able to walk 2 little foster dogs with 2-3 laps around my one acre.

      I hope you are well and enjoying the winter season with not too much cold weather. The weather in central Texas changes sometimes day to day with cold rain or cold and windy and then the weather gives us a break, as it has done today, Friday January 4, 2019, with sunshine and a temperature of around 64 degrees. I am so glad there is not cold and rainy.

  3. chatou11 says:

    Just wondering if the medecine you gave to Muddy works..
    Have you seen any change in the size of the tumor now?
    cuddles to Muddy

    • No, Chantal there has been no effect. I think it could be because he most likey had the tumor for a while and I did not see it. It simply blends right in on his side and he is such a big dog the tumor is hardluy noticable.

      My daughter, the vet, has told me to do something else but will not write about it here since I am afraid to jinx it. I will start the treatment today. Perhaps I will send you and email of what the “new” thing is. She claims it will heal “right up” but I find it hard to believe. Muddy said, “hugs back to you and thank you for me thinking about me. Woof, woof.”

      • Hello – just curious if the “new” treatment worked and if so, what it is. My dog has this exact same thing on his side and it is not a Mast Cell Tumor. He has surgery on Monday to remove two mast cell tumors and I would prefer not to remove this third benign lump if possible. Thanks,

        • quick answer and I’ll give more info later. The tumor had to be removed and it was not a histiocytoma but another benign tumor- fibro lipoma according to the lab report. The treatment for him did nothing and the tumor continued to grow larger and he licked frequently. I did not wait for a biopsy and had it removed aggressively and then a tissue sample was sent to pathology for analysis.

          In your case you can ask the vet to do a biopsy at the time of the mast cell removals. I would hasten the surgery if I were in your shoes. Please impress upon the vet to be very aggressive and to cut for clean borders. Explore all options for treatment of the cancer.

          My dog died in August of 2016 from osteosarcoma of the breast bone. More on the later. I have not had the chance to update some of my posts due to family problems ( son’s accident and sister’s stroke).

          Good luck with your dog and let me please know how the treatments go.

          Regards, Yvonne D.

  4. He’s such a handsome boy. Hope that the tumor does shrink with the benadryl. Sending you and Muddy lotsa loving vibes. Paulette

  5. Joan B says:

    Hi Yvonne,
    First of all, I hope for Muddy that the tumour shrinks, but also for the sake of the vet costs! I’ve never head of surgery costs according to weight! In Greece I’ve been extremely fortunate with very favourable prices due to some very supportive vets. I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without their support for my work. I’ve spayed/neutered 35+ cats. That combined with general medical care, food and vaccinations, well, it all adds up with so many cats. Recently I stepped into a vet practise in Denmark (my native country) and I almost passed out at overhearing the bill for someone paying for having their cat neutered and vaccinated – 500$!! In Greece I paid 70$.
    Thanks so much for your care and for visiting my blog http://godslittlepeople.blogspot.com
    I really enjoy your beautiful images.

    • Hi, Joan. I’m so glad that you have paid a visit to my blog. And thank you for the very nice words. I appreciate that you have included information about vet costs. All of that is very interesting to me. Seventy dollars is cheap for spaying and $500 is robbery. I suppose hardly anyone is getting their animals “fixed” with that sort of cost.

      I hope you will stay in touch and maybe I can offer some sort of general info. and moral support. You are a rare jewel who is helping these wonderful and beautiful creatures. I so hope that you can return to Greeece. And, I really do hope that I can send you a bit of money someday. Regards, yvonne

      Feel free to email if you wish. yvonnedanielrn@yahoo.com

  6. What a nice looking dog, your Muddy ! Is he doing any better by now ? I hope so and I hope also that tumor will not get worse. My previous dog, Mouchette, Dalmatian/Pointer, had such a tumor under her belly. Totally benign but it looked strange since it was sort of hanging. Yet, because of her great age, 13 years old, the vet did not want to remove it because my dear Mouchette’s heart may not have put up with surgery. She lived 4 more years and did not seem to be troubled by this tumor. All the best for your beautiful Muddy.

    • Thank you Isa for the lovely words and I always like reading about other blogger’s pets. Your Mouchette really lived a very long life to 17 years of age. It is pretty rare for a large dog to live past the age of 12-13. There is no change in the tumor so it seems Muddy will be needing to have that removed. I think that sometimes these can become cancerous or bothersome.

  7. chatou11 says:

    Just a few words hoping Muddy is going better with the treatment. He is our mascot now!!

    • Hi Chatou. Mascot he will be then. The histocytoma looks no different but I’ll give it some more time. He probably had it for months before I noticed it and perahps that makes a difference in whether or not the tumor responds to Benadryl or not. It is on his side and blends right in since it is fairly low on the side of his abdomen. Thanks for taking the time to write about Muddy. You are so nice.

  8. Office Diva says:

    Miz Yvonne:

    Appreciate the helpful info on this type of cyst, and of course I am very sorry to hear that Muddy is so afflicted. I believe 100% in the power of positive thought and prayer, so I am happy to donate all I’ve got towards the shrinkage of Muddy’s tumor. If Office Diva can shrink her be-hind a few inches in less than two months with detoxing, diet, and determination, then surely this tumor doesn’t stand a chance! Muddy (and you, as always) remain in my prayers.

    I am also a big believer that our pets are here on this earth as soul friends to be our companions and help us cope with our daily struggles. Muddy is a smart dog to have been in the right place at the right time to find you and become a part of your healing network. Blessings to both of you. Your Fairy Blogchild.

    • Dear Fairy blog child, thank you so much for the nice and encouraging words directed toward Muddy’s healing. Yes, our dogs and other pets we have for a reason and it is up to us to be the best pet parent possible. I hope to always do the right thing for all my pets. Thank you for reading and the lovely comment.

  9. shoreacres says:

    I do so hope that things go well for Muddy, whatever treatment is required. He is a handsome dog, and from the discussion I’ve read here quite a pleasure to have around.

    This isn’t really related, but I’m curious. Do dogs ever get skin cancers? like on their bellies, perhaps? I was looking at Muddy’s little tumor and thinking how much it resembles certain human skin conditions brought on my the sun.

    On the other hand, I’ve had a couple of strange “protrusions” on my hands, too. One was so long ago I was in high school. Now that I think about it, I believe they were some kind of cyst. I know the one I had in high school I took care of myself, quite accidentally. I hit my hand against a door frame, and that was the end of that! It broke and was absorbed. Strange, these bodies of ours.

    I must say – I’ve been very lucky with Dixie Rose. I believe I’ll give her a pet for being such a good kitty when she wakes up, and explain to her why continuing to work to take off a pound or two is so important!

    • Linda, thanks so much for your nice words and you are right about Muddy being a good dog. He is a lovable dog and is always happy except if he is being a “watch dog.”

      Dogs get three types of skin cancer that are malignant. Melanoma, mast cell, and squameous cell. All three can be treated with chemo therapy.I think. Melanoma can be misdiagnosed when it is in the nail bed and the vet thinks it is simply an infection of the toe. Literature says that mainly black dogs are affected. Sounds virtually impossible to diagnose.

      And yes, by all means contine to reduce Dixie Rose if she is overweight. She’ll be less likey to get ca and a several other diseases.

      I went to Google so that you would have more concise info. I have one below my wrist and not quite at the juncture of my thumb. I’ve had mine since I was in late 30’s I thinkk. It used to hurt for years but no longer causes me any pain. Odd about the pain since I have arthritis of both hands. Read below.

      A wrist ganglion cyst is a swelling that usually occurs over the back of the hand or wrist. These are benign, fluid-filled capsules. Ganglion cysts are not cancerous, will not spread, and while they may grow in size, they will not spread to other parts of your body.


  10. That is very unfortunate news, Yvonne. As bad as the vet’s bill will be, thank goodness they don’t charge like human doctors. Still it will be costly and it is too bad you will need to postpone your new lens. We have not had anything like that on any of our three dogs to this point. Our first beagle, Cassie, had a large fatty growth that needed to be removed. Other than that we have been fortunate in the health of all our dogs…save for having the majority of Murphy’s teeth removed due to nervous jaw clenching and grinding.
    Good luck with the Benadryl but your lack of faith sounds sadly accurate.

    • An early good morning to you Steve. I just got into WP and it is 8:41am as I begin typing this. I see by the time your comment was posted that you were up by 4 or 5 am -not sure whose computer logs in the time. You are indeed an eary riser. I was up at 7am and then ate and did a few chores.

      My animals of course come first and while I don’t think that I want to scrape into my savings for a new lens I might. Just have to see how my health is bounching along by the time the fall butterflies make an appearence. I keep thinking that maybe I should get the lens for maybe this time next year I won’t be around. I keep having so many negative thoughts about my heatlh.

      That aside. Yes, you have been lucky to have had dogs thay did not have anything too major other than Murphy’s teeth needing to be removed. Since I have a pack of dogs it is more or less a given that one of them will be needing something. Friday Dancer, the Aussie Shepherd had a hematoma on her ear opened and then a small drain placed in the incision to allow the blood to drain out rather than pool in the tissue of her ear. Hematomas always distort the ear a bit and Dancer’s ear is already looking a tad deformed. She is a mostly black dog and it won’t be so noticable. I have no idea what was going on with ear. I had not noticed that she was shaking or scratching her ear excessively. Trauma to the ear causes a blood vessel to break hence the blood pools in the tissue of the upper ear.

      Anyway, that trip to the vet was $349 and that included a lab test for kidney,liver,heartworm, and tick borne diseases. My vet did not want to do surgery before the heartworm test. I was 99% sure that she did not have heartworms- been on heartworm meds with a few misses here and there for the past 2 years. With a pack of dogs is is easy to forget the meds once in awhile. I have alll the dogs retested about every two years.

      • I am not sure about which clock is active, but it appears to be mine for this post as I was up between 4 and 5. Slept a little late from a long tiring day driving all over the northeast yesterday and somewhat dreary whether this am. 4:30 is sleeping late for me but 9 pm is burning the midnight oil for me also. 🙂
        Yes, with a pack of dogs it will be constant and expensive. I hope after these two incidents that maybe there will be a run on healthy times for both the dogs and, more importantly, for you.
        Regarding the lens…we can all wonder whether we will be here next year. I am guessing you may have had your doubts for a while now, but here you are and quite likely here you will be next year and beyond. That said, we all need to treat ourselves to something nice once in a while. Mary Beth thinks I do a little too much treating. But it is good for us and, if you can give up that bit of your savings, then maybe you should get yourself something, like the lens, that will brighten your spirits and help you enjoy the butterflies and birds that visit you. If it brings a smile to your face and warms your heart, which we all know is already quite warm 🙂 , then go for it.
        Whatever you decide, your dogs and cats appreciate your care for them and we appreciate your pictures….even if taken with a shorter lens. 🙂

        • Steve I figured that you go to bed with the chickens as we say in Texas. Maybe that is a general saying-have no idea. I’ve always been a night owl, having worked the PM shift for so long. But of late I’ve been staying off WP and not crusing around reading random blogs.

          Yesterday, Friday, I had to go to 6 different places. Twice to the vet. That is the most that I’ve been out in many months. So I reckon that my health is better in some areas. Anyhow, I was in bed by 9:30pm. Usually I’m up till 11pm or past.

          Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. I appreciate your kindness very much.

  11. TexWisGirl says:

    had no idea a growth like that could be the result of allergic reactions. thanks for the info, and good luck with sweet muddy.

    • Yes, some type of histamine action going on in the body but I don’t think researches know all the answers. Prior to the tumor appearing, Muddy was excessively licking on spot on a fore foot and that resulted in a “lick granuloma” that is caused from frequent liking of one spot just above his paws. I did not pay much attention to that because at the time, my daughter Lisa was getting sicker and sicker with no diagnosis. It was driving me “bananas.” Anyway one day I watching him lick his leg and saw that it had caused a knot like thing to form with the top of it raw and looking bloddy. I got a topical med from my vet for that and I was able to get it cleared up. He has an area that looks like an elevated scar now on his lower leg. The other thing that I did was to restrict the labs from runnning and rolling in the grassy areas of the yard. I try to keep them on the gravel part of the back yard. I think the lick thing was an allergy to grass and maybe that is when the histamine action of his body went awry.

      Thanks Theresa for commenting and thanks for thouhgts of good luck.

  12. sybil says:

    Lucky Muddy for finding you. Lucky you for being found my Muddy. Two dogs requiring surgery so close together can be a bit onerous.

    I recall when Trey was younger, we’d be at the vets every other week with one crisis after another. Not cheap.

    • Sybil, Trey is such a sweet and smart dog. I had no idea that he was “a sickly and costly” dog in his younger years. But in the end our dogs are worth the expense. Sometimes it is almost like raising a child.

      On a side note. Dancer’s surgery has been completed and I can pick her up from the vet at 4pm. He biopsed a large mass on her chest and it is a “fatty lipoma”. He told me that he can diagnose a fatty tumor by doing a needle biopsy. “Those are easy for the fatty ones only look a certain way.” So I was glad to to get that info from my vet. Dogs that are overweight are more likely to get a fatty lipoma and Dancr was maybe 10-12 pounds too heavy when I found that tumor. I was hoping that is was a fatty one when I found it. I just did not have the money for radical surgery and I prayed and began giving her b comp shots as well. Sounds squirley but you do what you can afford. I put her on a diet back in July and she has lost about 8 pounds maybe? Needs to lose a few more. She now is running more since she is not so overweight.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I appreciate you very much.

  13. Muddy is lucky you found him–hope the tumor does disappear but if it doesn’t you are the pet owner to do the right thing–such a heart you have!

    • Thank you for commenting and the kind words, Lou Ann. Well, I don’t know about heart but I wll do whatever it takes if I can squeeze out the money. then my pets get what is needed. I wish that I could say that they are all pampered pets but alas they are well treated but are not treated to a Fifi or Pepe type of life. 🙂

  14. chatou11 says:

    Muddy looks such a good dog! and he is very lucky to find you on his way.
    I hope the treatment will work. My German shepherd Fanny had the same type of growth near her tail but as she was at the end of her life, the veterinarian has not wanted to remove it.
    all the best for Muddy Yvonne.

    • Chatou you have had a variety of dogs like me. I’ve never favored one breed over another. Mixed breed and throw-a-way dogs are great. I just happened to have several that are pure bred dogs but I was not actively looking for another dog when all my dogs weere found. I do havve two from different kill shelters. They are not older dogs but still doing ok thank God for that.

      Thanks so much for commenting. It is interesting that your shepeherd got the tumor in old age. My vet says and from what I have read, that the button tumor affects mostly dogs around 2 years of age. Muddy is pushing toward 5 years of age so he is not a young dog either. 🙂

      • chatou11 says:

        Muddy is a teenager lol.. Well you see it can happen to old dog too but it might be a different kind of tumor. A month before she died it became leaky.. and the vet gave me some antiseptic.
        Good luck for Muddy!

        • Thanks Chatou for the info. I can’t remember if I included in that post the fact that there is another kind of tumor that closely resembles the button tumor and that other one is malignant. It is always best to get a biopsy of any tumor that comes up. Some vets make snap judgemnts or think they know it all. The same thing with people. One must be there own advocate and certainly you must be an advocate for your pet. It also helps to look up what ever info you have been given. Then at least you have something to use as a general guide.

  15. Lottie Nevin says:

    What a shame, poor Muddy. I’m sorry to hear that he is not responding to the Benadryl. I hope it’s not a huge vets bill, I was so hoping that you might be out shopping today for your new lens 😦 On a lighter note, maybe HRH Queen Elizabeth II might be interested in giving the corgi a new home? 😉

    • Dear Lottie. I am sorry to make your comment the last one to which I reply. But yes I can’t purchase the toy for my camera just yet. However, my dog Dancer had a hematoma of her left ear and I had to have the vet open up the inside of her ear and fix it so that the blood will drain and not pool in the tissue of her ear. The bill was $349 and that price included heart worm test and tick borne diseases and also a mini blood test to make sure her liver and kidneys were in shape for the anesthesia. I jsut have to cut corners as best that I can to make up for the vet bills. That means no extra overtime work from my helper to do extra chores around the yard. There is so much to do and I can not take the heat plus my energy level is pretty bad but it is getting better. Yes the queen and a rescue Corgi. Pretty funny. :-)Maybe Rod could email her. 🙂 She has always had these little dogs. I think she has the 🙂 Pemboke? Can’t remember. 🙂 But all joking aside.These little dogs are actually in the herding group. Wonderful little fellas. His daughter will eventually find a forever home for the dog. Just needs to be patient and careful.

  16. Hi Yvonne, our cavalier, an old man of 10 has two of these, only our vets call them hernias and have said just to leave them. He’s lived with them now for about 6 years, but we were pretty worried when we first saw them. He’s also getting little knobbly warts and we have to let the groomer know about them because they get hidden under his fur.

    • Greetings Mike. I’m glad that you wrote about your little dog. The King Charles Chavalier, I think I have that right, are such pretty little dogs and I’ve read that they make great pets. I had no idea that dogs get more than one of this kind of tumor. At least he has thick fur to hide the warts but at the same time, yes, those could easily be nicked by the groomer if you had not known about them.

  17. Muddy looks happy enough. Milo is slowly getting the upper hand in this family and is now getting us out of our chairs whenever he feels like it. The mating by the possums seem to have calmed a bit so he now wants to go in and out just for the heck of it. In summer this is not a worry but in winter we like to keep the doors closed.
    Milo says hello to Muddy

    • Hello Gerard. Thanks for writing about Milo. I love reading about other people’s dogs. That little J. Russel is sure a “varmint dog.” I think that is his natural instinct to go after vermin, varmints, and such. I have already told Muddy that a friend in Australia sent greetings. Muddy said woof-woof and arrf-arrf. 🙂 PS: maybe you should try getting your hand back from Milo and rule the roost again. 🙂

  18. Just Rod says:

    I hope Muddy’s tumour shrinks before you finish the meds. He looks a happy guy, he sure lucked out the day he hung out in the hospital parking lot. My daughter is desperately trying to help find a home for a five year old Corgi that isn’t fitting in with the other dogs in the home of the family that took him in. She already had two dogs, three kids and not a large house! So she can’t take him in, but really would like to.
    Anyone in Winnipeg looking for a very nice Corgi companion please let me know.

    • Rod thanks for commenting. I hope as well. The cost of his surgeruy is already making me cringe. But I would rahter have it removed than to let if remain where maybe it might become cancerous. Dancer my Aussie Sheepdog is having surgery on an ear tomorrow. It looks like I will have to postpone a new toy for my camera. But that is ok by me. When I gave my dogs a home I told myself that I would take good care of them and so it is to “BE.” Pets are a responsibility and I will do all that I can afford without bankrupting. I just scrimp in all the places that I can.

      About the corgi. I think it would be a good idea to take some pics and post those on your blog with a “grab your heart” story. Also the dog could be posted on Face Book. That works as well. It does take some work to make sure that the dog goes to someone who has been veted to make sure it will have a forever home. IS there a no kill shelter in your daughter’s area? It might get accepted there if she is lucky.

  19. gita4elamats says:

    Poor Muddy, I hope the antihistamine works.

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