The first thing any pet owner should do when they see a lump on their pet is to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian.
Your doctor will likely examine the lump, perform a blood test, and run some diagnostic tests on the lump to find the root cause of the lump.
Since this lump is on your Labrador, he may need to undergo an X-ray or ultrasound to see if the lump is in his chest.
Monitor your dog Bump
Skin tumors are the most commonly seen tumor in dogs.
By regularly examining your dog's skin, you can take a lead role in caring for their health. Establish a weekly routine of inspecting your dog from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail.
Make sure to hone in on commonly overlooked spots, like between the toes, under the tail, and even in your dog's mouth — if they're cooperative. Chances are your pooch will enjoy these extra pets and rubs.
If you find a mass on your dog, make sure to note where it is, and not just mentally.
Grab your phone to snap a quick photo or two.
A dog's lumps and bumps can change over time, and keeping a log of their locations and sizes will help your vet more effectively manage your dog's health.
Diagnosing a Lump
"What should I do if I find a lump on my dog?"
It's a common question asked by pet parents. If you discover a bump on your dog, it is best to make an appointment with the veterinarian. Instead, go straight to the expert.
Do not wait, even if your dog needs an examination in a few months.
Even non-cancerous masses can worsen and become infected if you wait too long to bring your dog. Your veterinarian will need to run some tests to accurately diagnose your dog's lump.
He may recommend fine-needle aspiration and cytology, one of the least invasive procedures for assessing a lump or lump where a veterinarian uses a small needle to collect cells.
The cells are placed on slides and stained for microscopic examination. Depending on the type of mass, the vet can quickly diagnose it or your vet can send the slides to a laboratory for specialist review.
While a fine needle aspiration is often helpful, in some cases for certain types of masses, your veterinarian may need to perform a larger biopsy and remove tissue with a scalpel or perforated blade.
This is a more invasive procedure than fine-needle aspiration and may require sedation or anesthesia. However, biopsies are usually done in a veterinarian's office and your dog should be able to return home the same day.
2 Types of Dog Lumps
1. Skin Growths
Skin growth is a benign (non-cancerous) lump of tissue that projects out from the surrounding skin. Below are some of the more common skin growths on dogs:
- Abscesses: These are lumps that form as a result of an infection from a bite, wound or foreign object. They are often painful and can contain large amounts of blood and pus with the possibility of rupturing.
- Apocrine cysts: These cysts are caused by obstructed skin glands. Think of them much like a human pimple. They may also rupture, which often helps clear them up.
- Hematomas: These occur when blood accumulates beneath the skin following a trauma. These too can be painful for your dog.
- Injection-Site Reactions: Following an injection, your dog may develop a small knot beneath the skin. These can be tender but often fade within a couple of days or weeks.
- Hives and Other Allergic Reactions: Hives are itchy, swollen pockets of skin as the result of allergic reaction. Other types of bumps can form from different types of allergic reactions.
Tumors in Dogs - Benign and Malignants
The word tumor is one of the scariest words a pet parent can hear. Not all tumors are cancerous, however, and even those that are can still be treated. A tumor is simply a mass of tissue that is formed by the accumulation of abnormal cells. Read on to learn about some of the different types of tumors and where they can form on your dog's body:
Non-cancerous lumps and bumps (Benign )
Benign lumps and bumps lack the ability to invade other tissues and spread to sites beyond where they are present. The vast majority cause little concern, however, those that continue to grow can cause problems, like restricting movement or breathing because of the lump’s size, or your dog keeps scratching them because they’re irritating. If benign lumps are causing problems, removal should be considered.
Lipomas are the most common benign mass dogs can get; they’re often found under the skin of older dogs and are more common in obese dogs.
They tend to be round, soft tumors of fat cells that grow very slowly and rarely spread, so it can take up to six months before you see any change.
Lipomas can be easily diagnosed with FNA.
Abscesses are swollen lumps that contain an accumulation of pus under the skin caused by an infectious agent.
They will generally need to be drained under sedation and copiously flushed with a clean antibacterial solution.
In some cases, your vet will prescribe antibiotics if they deem it necessary.
Hives on dogs are similar to those on humans - a rash of round, red weals on the skin that itch and swell due to a reaction of the skin to allergens such as a bee sting or contact allergy.
They will often resolve on their own, however, sometimes they need steroids or antihistamines to provide relief.
Sebaceous cysts are hard, cystic material under the skin that can form due to a blocked sebaceous gland.
They appear like swellings with a creamy matter inside them. The swellings sometimes become red and sore. They’re usually found in older dogs in the middle of their back and can be diagnosed with FNA.
Most of them don’t cause problems, so they’re usually left alone unless they’re infected or irritate your dog.
Histiocytomas are ulcerated nodules (or red button-like lump) often found in young dogs, particularly on their limbs. They normally go away quite quickly but you should still have them checked by your vet as they can imitate some very nasty cancerous tumors.
Sebaceous adenomas are tumors of sebaceous glands that appear as multiple wart-like growths. They’re more common in woolly-haired older dogs like Poodles, Maltese, Bichons, and their crossbreeds.
A biopsy is required for diagnosis but vets can often diagnose these lumps by just looking at them due to their classic appearance and slow growth. Most of them don’t cause problems, but those that are ulcerated, irritate your dog, or are being licked or chewed at by your dog should be removed.
Perianal adenomas are tumors that grow around the anus, mostly in non-desexed older dogs.
Any lump or bump around the anal region requires proper assessment and investigation due to malignant tumors in this area being common.
Warts are more common in puppies, older dogs, and dogs that are immunocompromised, and look like small skin tags or several small lumps.
They’re usually found on the head and face and are caused by a papillomavirus. Dogs that go to doggy daycare or dog parks can get warts due to close social contact with other dogs.
A biopsy is required for diagnosis but vets can tell due to their classic feathery appearance.
No treatment is necessary, as they’ll usually go away by themselves after a few months.
However, they can irritate your dog, and if this occurs removal should be considered.
Granulomas can be raised red lumps that may have a surface crust, or they can be found under the skin and have a firm consistency. They’re often not adhered to muscle.
They can look similar to a highly aggressive tumor so vets will usually recommend a biopsy/surgical removal or FNA.
Surgical excision is often required for treatment.
Haemangiomas are tumors of blood vessels or underlying tissues of the skin. Sun exposure can lead to their development, however, this isn’t always the case.
Diagnosis is done by a biopsy or surgical excision with the sample being tested by a pathologist. This is always recommended as these tumors can change over time to become malignant.
Surgical excision is curative if the tumor is benign.
Malignant lumps and bumps ( Cancerous )
Malignant lumps and bumps grow and can spread through the body and affect organs like the liver and lungs, along with the brain and bones.
They can spread by local growth or by metastasis. It’s important that malignant lumps and bumps on your dog are surgically removed as soon as they’re diagnosed to keep them from spreading and causing devastating consequences.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also often used to prevent further spread.
Mast cell tumors
Mast cell tumors are a tumor of the immune system blood cells and comprise of up to 25% of all tumors. They’re most common in dogs older than 8 years of age.
Mast cell tumors can look like many other tumors, so it’s vital to have them diagnosed accurately by a vet. Usually, vets will start with an FNA.
When diagnosed, it’s important to check if the tumors have spread to other organ systems.
Fibrosarcomas are locally invasive tumors of the skin’s connective tissue that grow fast.
They’re common in large breeds.
A biopsy is required for diagnosis, as they feel like lipomas and can be mistaken for them if FNA isn’t done.
They usually spread by local invasion and can be difficult to remove, as prompt, careful resection with a wide surgical margin is required.
Melanomas in dogs are not caused by sunlight and are a lot less malignant than human melanomas. Canine melanomas are tumors involving cells that give pigment to the skin.
They can be benign or malignant and appear as dark lumps on the skin that grow slowly. More aggressive tumors grow on the mouth and legs.
They have to be removed but they can recur.
Squamous cell carcinomas
Squamous cell carcinomas are skin cell tumors found on unpigmented or hairless areas such as the eyelids, vulva, lips, and nose, and present as raised, crusty sores. It’s another tumor caused by too much sun exposure.
They usually grow by local invasion and should be removed.
If they’re left for too long, they can cause great deformities and pain, as well as spread to lymph nodes and other organs, ultimately resulting in death.
Mammary carcinomas are cancerous growths of the mammary glands. They’re more common in non-desexed female dogs.
Lumps in the mammary glands can be benign, however, it’s worth noting that mammary tumors in male dogs are often always malignant.
They spread by metastasis to the lymph nodes, other mammary glands, and organs.
In most cases, it’s recommended that you get mammary lumps surgically removed, and chemotherapy is an option after removal.
Osteosarcomas are the most common bone tumor, especially in large male dogs.
They’re caused by abnormal bone cell growth, unusual hormone stimulation, a previous fracture in the area, or genetic factors.
They can cause bumps or lumps to form in the bone, usually in the limbs, and often spread to the lungs by metastasis. They’re diagnosed with biopsy and lab tests of bone and skin tissue. They need surgical removal, which may include amputation of the affected limb.
Chondrosarcomas are the second most common bone tumor and usually occur inside of the nose. They’re also caused by abnormal bone cell growth, unusual hormone stimulation, or genetic factors. A biopsy and lab tests of bone and skin tissue are also required for diagnosis.
Treatment of nearly all malignant tumors requires surgical excision and chemotherapy and/or radiation. When a lump or bump is diagnosed as malignant, your vet will want to x-ray other areas and/or ultrasound the abdomen to determine if the tumor has metastasized.
In some circumstances, the vet will recommend a CT examination to determine exactly where in the body the malignant cells are. This is called staging.
Maintaining the health of your dog's skin and fur is important in preventing certain skin conditions such as bumps and bumps. However, if your dog has a lump or bump, get it checked immediately by your local veterinarian who can tell you whether it is dangerous or not and the best way to treat it.
If your dog doesn't have lumps or bumps, they should be checked regularly to see if there has been any change.
Run your fingers through his fur and if you feel a lump or lump, take him to your veterinarian for an immediate examination. The earlier a lump or lump is diagnosed, the more successful the treatment will be.