We often hear owners complain, ‘My dog has bumps under her fur’ or ‘What are the bumps on my dog?’ Perhaps, a noticeable lump appeared overnight on the dog though not as conspicuous as a swollen area from bee stings in dogs, yet something that can easily be perceived as life-threatening. Alleviate your worries by knowing when it is serious and what to do with it.
Kinds of Lumps and Bumps on Dogs
What kind of lump or bump are dangerous? Why do older dogs get bumps? As the dog grows older, the higher the chances of having a malignant lump. Similar to humans, lumps and bumps in dogs manifest as part of growing up.
‘The basic rule is if it is growing rapidly or bleeding it should be checked by a vet,’ said Doctor Peter Green from Heathmont Animal Hospital.
- Any discharge from the lump This can sometimes be described as discolouration of the skin. This type of lump needs immediate attention from the vet in case there is an infection.
- Fast-growing bumps Observe the bumps. If it gets even bigger in a month or is growing much quicker, consider removing the said growth.
- Fluctuation in bumps These are growing bumps that shrink and grow again. This condition can be caused by a type of tumour called ‘mast ll tumour.’ This type of tumour contains particles of histamine, which causes swelling when released and soon subsides after the release.
- Lumps or bumps increasing in size in just a few minutes These are usually caused by an allergic reaction. Take time to observe for other signs and seek veterinary advice.
- Painful lumps If your pooch winces or if there are any other signs that he is in pain when you touch the lump, it requires immediate veterinary care.
Another way to deal with skin growth on dogs is to categorise whether the condition is benign or malignant.
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Benign Lumps and Bumps (Non-Cancerous)
Benign lumps and bumps are not life-threatening unless it creates problems with your dog’s movement and breathing, and causes excessive scratching due to skin irritation. If this is the case, it is best to consider having it removed surgically.
- Abscesses Abscesses can be seen as swollen lumps with a build-up of pus under the skin caused by infection. Treatment may involve particular sedation with the help of a vet to drain the swollen area. Antibiotics may be prescribed when deemed necessary.
- Lipomas (fatty lumps) Lipomas are common to older and obese canines. It usually grows at a slow rate and rarely spread that it takes a longer time for significant changes to be visible. As soon as it hinders your pet’s mobility such as skin growth in the armpits or behind a leg, removal operation is best recommended.
- Sebaceous cysts Sebaceous cysts take form under the skin as solid and cystic material caused by sebaceous gland blockage. The affected area may appear red and sore. This is usually left untreated as long as it does not lead to any other problems or irritations on a canine.
- Warts Warts are common to all ages of canines especially to those that are immunocompromised. They usually appear as small skin tags on the head and face. It can also be acquired from constant social exposure to other dogs in a doggy day-care and/or dog parks. There is no particular treatment necessary as it usually goes away on its own in a few months’ time. However, if it causes any irritation to your pooch, removal should be considered.
- Haemangiomas Haemangiomas are vascular lesions found in the underlying tissues or blood vessels of the skin. These lesions may appear closely like a blood blister with colours that vary from red to black. Consultation should be done as this condition may develop to something malignant over time.
Malignant Lumps and Bumps (Cancerous)
Malignant lumps and bumps can spread to organs such as lungs, liver, brain, and bones. As such, it is crucial to remove through surgical operations as soon as it is diagnosed. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also help. The following are some of the common malignant lumps and bumps on dogs:
- Mast cell tumours These tumours affect the immune cells that are most common in dogs eight years older. It is best to diagnose as early as possible for early preventive measures and to check if the damage has spread to other organs.
- Mammary carcinomas (breast cancer) A cancerous growth in the mammary glands is called the mammary carcinomas and is more common to unspayed female canines. It is always best to have mammary lumps surgically removed and can be optionally followed by chemotherapy. This is to prevent from spreading to other organs.
- Osteosarcomas One of the common bone tumours is the osteosarcomas. This condition is caused by many factors including fracture from the previous area, abnormal bone cell growth, unusual hormone stimulation, or genetic factors. Surgical removal is the best treatment and should be done as soon as it is diagnosed.
The best treatment for all malignant tumours involves surgical excision and chemotherapy. Read more on pet health advice here.