5 Top Reasons for Lumps on Your Dog

September 08, 2022 in Dog

Dog parents know the joy, excitement, and love that comes along with having a pup in their life. They also understand the anxiety that comes when an injury, illness, or potential problem forms. Unlike most children, dogs can't verbally tell us what's wrong and why, so even the smallest incident, growth, or condition can be nerve-wracking.

If a small lump forms on your dog's neck, a quick online search might bring up some pretty terrifying results, which is why it's always important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the true cause and develop a treatment plan. A vet will test these lumps in one of three ways:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) - A sample of the fluid, tissues, or cells will be taken with a thin needle and examined under a microscope to determine the diagnosis. Otherwise, this sample might be sent to a lab for testing.
  • Impression Smear - Similar to an FNA, but the sample is obtained more easily from a lump that is already discharging liquid or fluids.
  • Biopsy - A sample from the lump will be taken, usually while a dog is under a sedative, to be sent to a lab for testing.

Whether these lumps are lipomas, cysts, cancerous lumps on dogs, or something else, there are methods to remove, treat, or mitigate them, no matter their cause.

Here's a list of possible causes to keep in mind:

1. Lipoma

Lipoma is simply a fancy term for "fatty lumps," and while humans can get them as well, lipoma on dogs is very common and is tested using FNA. These lumps of fat are benign, which means that they don't typically cause much concern. A lipoma might form as a lump on a dog's neck, back, legs, or anywhere else on the body. In some cases, they might hinder your dog's ability to walk, eat, or freely move - depending on their location. In these situations, a vet will likely recommend removal, but other times these fat cell formations can remain untouched.

2. Sebaceous cyst

Cysts can form anywhere on a dog's body since they are a result of blocked oil glands. Depending on the severity of the swelling, many of these bumps might look like zits or pimples, with a visible, pus-like substance just below the surface. To rule out other types of masses, a vet might test using an FNA or lab test. Similar to blemishes on human skin, these cysts don't tend to pose any issues for dogs, but if there's any discomfort, irritation, or infection as a result of a burst cyst, then treatment is necessary.

3. Melanomas

When a human is diagnosed with melanoma, it's less than ideal. Melanoma lumps in dogs are usually much less grim and are often benign. These tumors are related to pigment, rather than the sun like they are in humans, and tend to be a darker, alternative color than the surrounding skin. This visible difference means a vet can often achieve a diagnosis via an oral examination. Even if these lumps start out as harmless, they need to be removed to prevent them from spreading or becoming malignant.

4. Cancer

Cancerous lumps on dogs are the most concerning of all since they can spread and impact many organs at once. Even if just one organ or system is affected, these lumps should still be tested and removed. A vet can make a diagnosis usually via a biopsy or lab test, and from there, you'll discuss scheduling a mass removal for your dog. These malignant lumps are why it's crucial to bring your dog to the vet as soon as any bumps form. If there are only a few of them, swift removal can prevent them from spreading, and if any masses turn out to be benign, then you get peace of mind.

If you notice a suspicious lump on your dog, it's paramount that they get seen as soon as possible. It's likely that the growth is nothing to be worried about, but there's no need to give yourself unnecessary anxiety or prolong necessary treatment. To schedule an appointment, contact Forever Vets today.