Should I Worry About My Dog’s Lump?

Should I worry about my dog’s lump? It’s a question we hear pretty often here at Leesville Animal Hospital in Raleigh. When it comes to our pets, most of us tend to worry whenever we find a lump or bump. It’s perfectly natural to worry and it’s even natural to jump to conclusions about what the lump might be. In actuality, however, dogs get plenty of lumps and bumps throughout their lifetime and most of them are absolutely nothing to worry about at all!

Old Dog

Here at Leesville Animal Hospital, we see a lot of lumps and bumps on dogs of all ages. We also almost always see worried owners who are panicked about their dog’s lumps and bumps, so today we want to share with you some of the different causes of these growths.

Should I Worry About My Dog’s Lump? A Few Common Lumps

Lipomas

Lipomas are a common occurrence in dogs, particularly as they age. These tumors are most often referred to as fatty tumors or “old dog lumps” because they most often appear on older dogs. These lumps are found underneath the skin and are composed of fat. Lipomas can vary in size from quite small to quite large and dogs that have one or two lipomas will often develop more as they age. It is important to get all new lumps checked out by your vet, however, to ensure that they are benign. Occasionally, lipomas will cause difficulty to your dog if they become involved with internal organs or if they become so large that they impede movement or make your pet uncomfortable. Most vets will choose not to remove these fatty tumors unless they fit one of the circumstances just described. The lumps should be aspirated, however – a needle is used to take fluid from the lump to check the cells that make it up. This type of testing will determine whether additional testing needs to be done, such as a biopsy.

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s a lipoma? Generally no unless it becomes bothersome or affects your dog’s quality of life.

 

Warts

Warts can vary in variety and be the result of many different things such as viral infections, response to vaccinations or simply just part of the aging process. Only your vet will be able to determine the type of wart or warts that your dog has and be able to develop a treatment plan for them IF one is needed. In

Warts can vary in variety and be the result of many different things such as viral infections, response to vaccinations or simply just part of the aging process. Only your vet will be able to determine the type of wart or warts that your dog has and be able to develop a treatment plan for them IF one is needed.

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s a wart? In general, warts are not something to be too worried about, but they do warrant a vet visit.

 

Sebaceous Cysts

These cysts are a result of blocked oil glands on your dog’s skin. Most often these cysts will come to a head and pop and the contents will be white and pasty in appearance. Do not try to pop these for your dog!

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s a sebaceous cyst? These cysts are nothing to be too worried about, but you may want to consider looking at your dog’s diet, supplements (if any) and grooming products which could be contributing to over oily skin.

 

Abscesses

Abscesses in dogs are just like abscesses in people, they are caused by infection and always require treatment by a veterinarian. Abscesses are painful for your dog and usually hot to the touch due to the buildup of pus in the abscess itself. Depending on the severity and location of your dog’s abscess, your vet will want to either lance the abscess or put your dog on oral antibiotics.

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s an abscess? Yes and no. Abscesses should ALWAYS be cared for by a veterinarian, however, if dealt with quickly, they tend to be nothing to worry about. If left untreated, however, abscesses can go on to cause systemic infection.

 

Hematomas

A term commonly used to refer to bruises, a hematoma is the result of trauma to a specific area of your dog’s body. A lump may form in this area that is filled with blood.

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s a hematoma? Hematomas generally are nothing to worry about themselves, however, the trauma that caused the hematoma should ALWAYS be examined by your vet to ensure that no worse damage occurred during your pet’s accident.

 

Papules

Papules are small bumps that may occur on your dog’s skin as the result of being exposed to irritants, allergens or are the result of a minor infection (generally of the hair follicle.)

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s a papule? Papules are really nothing to worry too much about, but you should try to find any allergen source so it can be eliminated and address any infection in the area.

 

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cell tumors are scary for dog owners because they are often talked about by other pet owners who have grim stories. Mast cell tumors are a type of skin cancer that is quite common in dogs, particularly certain breeds such as Labradors, boxers, beagles and Boston terriers. These tumors can affect internal structures such as the spleen. Like all cancerous growths, mast cell tumors are graded depending upon their structure, invasion of other structures in the body, depth in the skin and metastasis etc. The most common approach to this type of cancerous tumor is to surgically remove it. If the entire cancerous area can be removed, your dog will be monitored for future growths or changes. If the entire area cannot be removed, your vet may suggest chemotherapy or radiation as part of your dog’s treatment plan.

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s a mast cell tumor? Any cancer will cause concern for you as a pet parent. The prognosis for dogs with mast cell tumors varies greatly depending on the grade of the tumor, the location of the tumor, the age of your dog, and any other existing health conditions.

 

Hemangiosarcoma

Hemangiosarcoma is a type of malignant tumor and is the result of cancer of blood vessels. Hemangiosarcomas can be found internally or on the skin. This is a very aggressive and serious type of cancer, so it is crucial to get to your vet as soon as you notice any type of lump or bump. Hemangiosarcoma tumors are generally deep red in color due to the fact that they involve blood vessels. These types of tumors, when found dermally, may also rupture and bleed, if this happens, stem the bleeding as best you can and get your dog to the vet ASAP.

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s a hemangiosarcoma? Hemangiosarcoma is a particularly aggressive cancer and again, as cancer, it’s natural for you to worry. Just like mast cell tumors, however, the prognosis varies on the same number of factors.

 

Other Cancerous Tumors

Other types of cancer that can occur in dogs and cause lumps and bumps to appear include lymphoma, lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma, melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, mammary carcinoma, apocrine gland carcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma and soft tissue carcinoma. The tumors caused by these types of cancer are not always externally visible but may show up in other signs of poor health such as lethargy, blood loss, anorexia, and weakness. Prognosis and treatment of these types of cancers vary depending upon a wide range of factors so you should discuss your options with your vet.

Should I worry about my dog’s lump if it’s a cancerous tumor? Again, cancer is just a scary word in and of itself. When cancer affects our beloved pets we tend to feel even more helpless. Although it is natural to worry, try to worry as little as possible and focus on providing your dog with quality care instead. When you worry, your dog will sense your worry and that’s the last thing they need!

 

Final Notes

Remember, just because your dog has a lump or bump, it doesn’t mean that they have cancer! Try to limit your worry until you have had your vet take a look at your dog and run a few tests first!

If your dog has a new lump or bump, we always recommend coming by to get it tested just to check that it is nothing to worry about! If you want to make an appointment with one of our expertly trained vets to get your dog’s new lump or bump checked out, give us a call at 919-870-7000!

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Monday: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
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Sunday: Boarding pick up 5 - 6 p.m.

 

Call Us: (919) 870-7000

 

Visit Us: 9309 Leesville Rd,
                 Raleigh, N.C. 27613
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