A red-ish lump on a dog's leg.

Whether it has arrived suddenly or has been growing slowly over time, it’s natural to be concerned about a lump or bump on your pet. There are going to be questions about what caused the growth, and how it might complicate a pet’s health and comfort. However, one of the best things owners can do about pet lumps and bumps is have them examined as soon as possible.

Incredibly Common

It is recommended that pet owners take note of pet lumps and bumps when first observed. If it is larger than a pea and sticks around for a month or more, it’s time to figure out what’s going on. While they can definitely be harmless, it’s a good idea to keep ahead of pet lumps and bumps.

When we first examine pet lumps and bumps, we take into account their precise size and location. Over time, we can compare our findings and develop strategies for treating them, if necessary. Things we look for include:

  • Is it on top of the skin, or beneath?
  • Is the mass flat, raised up, smooth or bumpy?
  • Does it feel firm or squishy to the touch?
  • Does it move under slight or extreme pressure?
  • Does it bleed?
  • Is your pet sensitive to it being touched?

We will conduct a full physical exam to check whether there are other growths in different areas of the body. 

Fatty Tumors

Lipomas are one of the most common skin conditions in pets, especially dogs. They are benign, but these fatty tumors can grow over time and cause animals discomfort. When they become malignant, we refer to them as liposarcoma. This is confirmed by fine needle aspiration, injected directly into the mass and analyzed under a microscope. 

Over the Hill

As pets age they are more likely to grow various lumps and bumps. Possible types of pet lumps and bumps that are harmless include:

  • Warts
  • Moles
  • Skin tags
  • Sebaceous gland tumors
  • Cysts
  • Histiocytoma

Lumps and bumps can also be explained by pet cancer. Mast cell tumors, squamous cell tumors, cutaneous hemangiosarcoma, and malignant melanoma are a few types of masses that can spread to other parts of the body and may be difficult to surgically remove. For this reason, it may be of the utmost importance to act quickly when pet lumps and bumps are initially noticed.

Secondary Steps

If the fine needle aspiration reveals cancer cells, we may order diagnostics, such as digital radiographs, to learn more about whether the mass originated in bone or cartilage. Occasionally, a biopsy of tissue is necessary to confirm diagnosis. 

Pet Lumps and Bumps

The bottom line is that, while pet lumps and bumps can definitely be harmless, there’s always a chance they could be caused by something more serious. As such, it’s in a pet’s best interest to be examined by our veterinarians. 

If you have further questions about pet lumps and bumps, please reach out to us at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital.