This gentle chap, Shadow, had an ulcerating and bleeding growth on his head – a benign tumour derived from the glands in the skin. It was irritating him and a little unsightly.

We decided to treat the growth with cryosurgery. A metal probe is cooled to -90 centigrade and connected to the tumour with gel. Sometimes we go through a number of freeze-thaw cycles. The growth becomes frozen solid and as it defrosts re-perfusion injury occurs rupturing blood vessels and disrupting the blood supply in the tumour ( a bit like frost bite). This was all done using local anaesthetic and a few days of pain relief in case it became sore.

Over the next week the tumour died, sloughing away, leaving a crater. This filled in with healthy granulation tissue and, over the next two weeks, new skin grew across the surface leaving a small, white, fibrous and hairless scar.

We know that once all the hair has grown back around the scar it will be barely noticeable. But we don’t think Shadow is worried about cosmetic appearance, just glad that it isn’t there to bother him anymore.

We use CRYOSURGERY for small skin or oral tumours, treating a condition called anal furcunculosis, tumours on eyelids and places not easily amenable to surgery. We sometimes use it to treat internal tumours.

If you want to know more about cryosurgery or if you think your dog has a skin tumour, come and see us, there is probably a lot we can do to help.

Freezing the growth with liquid nitrogen