Should I take my dog to the vet for a lump? Essential Tips

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.

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

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:

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

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.

How your vet can tell what type of lump or bump your dog has

Your vet will conduct one or more of the following tests to determine the type of lump or bump your dog has and the treatment required:

  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA) – Firstly, your vet will determine if this procedure can be performed during the consultation without the use of sedatives. If the vet determines they can use this technique for a diagnosis, a small needle is inserted into the lump to suck out cells which are then deposited onto a slide. Next, the slide is stained and the slide is viewed under a microscope to examine the cells. Your vet may send the slide to a specialist (pathologist) in a laboratory for examination. About 95% of lumps and bumps can be diagnosed via FNA.
  • Impression smear – If the lump discharges fluid, your vet may rub a slide onto the lump, and then stain it and examine the fluid as with an FNA.
  • Biopsy – If the FNA isn’t diagnostic or only contains blood/fluid, your vet might take a biopsy of the lump. Generally, your dog will receive a sedative or anaesthetic and a small part of the lump or the entire lump will be removed. Then the lump is placed in formalin and sent to a lab, where thin sections of the lump are examined under a microscope.
  • Lab test – If the lump contains fluid, the fluid could be sent to a lab to culture and check for infectious agents like fungi or bacteria.
  • Mast Cell Tumor

    These tumors can resemble many of the benign lumps and bumps previously discussed, making it even more critical to have your vet check out any pet bumps. Mast cell tumors are a common form of skin cancer.

    Is this Lump Serious? 5 Steps to Know

    For most owners, a new lump on your dog can be a source of panic and worry. Most people associate lumps on dogs with one of the most common causes of lumps in people: cancer. But its important to keep in mind that many different types of lumps can develop on dogs for all kinds of reasons, including some which are hereditary, and many which pose no serious health risk to your dog.

    Even so, lumps shouldnt be ignored. Whether your dog has developed a new lump suddenly, or you have noticed several lumps that have developed across your dogs body, its always better to be safe than sorry and to have the areas inspected and prescribed the appropriate treatment. Heres an overview of the different types of lumps you might find on your dog, and how to make sure these lumps are appropriately addressed.