6 yr old sheepie seems older?

I'm asking for some advice and thoughts on a friends sheepdog.
I searched the forum and can't find anything relating to what I'm asking, so I'm hoping some of you will know more.
This sheepdog is a 6 year old female, spayed, slightly overweight, has what seems to be a fat cyst on her side that the vet has examined and said do nothing. She also seems to be experiencing some pain or lameness. The vet has said arthritis. My friend has taken the dog to a canine chiropractor several times and it seemed to help temporarily, but not for long, and she was worried it was doing more damage than good so she stopped.
She feels the vet should attempt to drain the cyst bcause it is getting large. It is about 2" wide and about 3" long and sticks out about an inch or so.
Should a dog be experiencing arthritic symptoms so young? Or do you think it may be because of the cyst (which is located behind the ribs and quite close to the groin area)? Or because she is a little overweight?
She has taken the dog to a couple vets and all say do nothing, but I don't agree. I think that the dog would be healthier and more comfortable if she lost a little weight, and had that cyst drained and examined more closely.
She doesn't appear to be displastic. When she limps it is hard to tell if it a front leg or back leg limp. Any thoughts?
Respond to this topic here on forum.oes.org  
Take to another vet, have cyst removed and tested.
Have x-rays and bloodwork done, including Thyroid T4 panel.
Feed high quality dog food like Canidae, Innova, etc, and spread out the feeding 2 or 3 meals a day. Eliminate treats and people food.
Have teeth cleaned and then brush them every few days.
Supplement Glucosamine/Chondroiton/MSM.
Consider a few Acupuncture treatments.
Provide clean/fresh water always.

They need to find another Vet! A cyst that large should be dealt with. They can't determine what it is interfering with - and/or what the type of tumor/cyst it is without investigating - and at least draining it! The cyst needs to be taken care of immediately. Even fatty tumors need to be removed if they are causing problems (location, etc.). My sister's dog, Zoe, had what the Vet said was a "fatty tumor" - and when it started to grow - my sister demanded it be removed and it turned out to be cancerous! They can't always tell what they are dealing with - until they operate (or do a needle biopsy at least).

I would recommend xrays as well. 6 is young to start having symptoms of arthritis! I would also recommend lab work - Thyroid (through Dr. Jean Dodds) as well as testing for some of the illnesses that may cause lameness (lymes disease for one).

This is serious - it should not be "let go" and passed off as "aging"! Even if it is found to be arthritis related - then they need to do something about it - (pain relief, supplements such as chondroitin/glucosamine, weight loss, exercise, etc.) and the Vet should be advising them.

Good Luck!
Thanks guys, that is what I thought and said too.... but I think it helps to hear it from different people. Thank you!
Another thought is a ruptured or torn ligament in the "knee". The symptoms are lameness that resembles either a sticker in the foot or hip problems. We thought that with Sam and let it go for awhile. Even the vet said, "Let's rest it." Turned out to be a ruptured ligament and the time we delayed caused enought damage to the joint that arthritis set in....we are talking months. The vet didn't "feel" it in the exam for awhile, not until the damage was further along. Now the joint is stabilized from surgery, but the arthritis remains.

So while many vets avoid giving a complete workover since most people don't have pet insurance and the "full meal deal" is expensive, in the long run it could save a dog years of pain and suffereing.
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