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I Found a “Lump” on My Dog, Now What?

By Species, By Topic, Cancer, Cats, Dogs, Exotic

If you find a lump on your pet, please don’t wait to schedule an examination by your veterinarian. Lumps on or in the skin will rarely create a medical emergency, but should be assessed as soon as possible, so that proper diagnostic testing can be done and appropriate treatment can begin. Our veterinarians at CEDARCREST can advise you on the best course of action.

Some lumps are fluid-filled cysts, which can be drained, but these cysts tend to recur, and if so, your veterinarian may suggest surgical removal, so that the tissue can be evaluated for any possible underlying disease. Lumps can also be caused from swelling from injury, an allergic reaction, or an infection, all of which must be treated appropriately. A suspicious lump might also be a tumor, which is obviously a serious concern for owners. Your veterinarian can make some assumptions about the type of tumor based on the location, size, shape, and consistency of the tumor.  An accurate determination of whether a tumor is benign (not cancerous) or malignant (made of invasive and potentially dangerous cancer cells) can ONLY be concluded through a biopsy and histopathology. A biopsy is the removal of the suspicious tissue and histopathology is the microscopic exam, which evaluates for changes in the cells and tissue.

It is not uncommon for tumors to go unnoticed by owners early on, because a lump could be hiding under your pet’s fur or is in an unusual location. Finding tumors early is important, so regular check-ups by your veterinarian is vital in determining the length of time a suspicious lump has been present or if it has changed in any way over time! If you find a suspicious lump, please do not “wait and see” what will happen because even lumps that “feel” like harmless fatty tissue or local swelling, might actually be hiding a “bad” tumor underneath.

The veterinarians at CEDARCREST typically recommend biopsy and testing on any abnormal “lump.” Waiting to see if a lump is going to change over time could allow a malignant tumor to invade other tissues and cause internal damage. Once a biopsy and histopathology is completed, recommendations for further treatment can be determined.

The best way to check for lumps is by petting your pet often and all over their body. Pay particular attention to areas underside, where it is easy to miss a lump or bump. If you find a suspicious lump, please call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577 and make an appointment immediately.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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