Hanford Veterinary Hospital Blog
Pet Lumps and Bumps: What’s Normal, What’s Not
Even though pet lumps and bumps are common enough, they are notorious for sending shock waves through a pet owner’s heart.
Typically noticed during grooming, petting or snuggling, lumps and bumps can grow slowly over time or develop suddenly. Either way, these growths cause significant concern.
The Cart Before the Horse
Pet owners are typically alarmed as soon as they notice or feel pet lumps and bumps. It’s normal to question how it happened, or how an animal’s health and comfort may be impacted.
All the Details
We encourage pet owners to take note of the exact date that pet lumps and bumps were initially discovered. The general rule is that if the growth is larger than a pea and doesn’t disappear after 30 days, it’s time for veterinary intervention.
Pet lumps and bumps can certainly be harmless, but if they last longer than a month we’d like to help you measure the size and quality of the growth. Knowing the precise size and location of the growth will give us a basis for comparison at future exams.
When examining pet lumps and bumps, we take into consideration the following questions:
- What does the growth feel like?
- Is it flat, raised up, or bumpy?
- Does it squish from side to side, or is it firmly attached?
- Is the growth on top of or beneath the skin?
- Is it bleeding?
- Does it hurt your pet to put pressure on the growth?
We will carefully note the qualities of each growth (if more than one) and create a plan for action, if necessary.
Pet lumps and bumps can be 100% benign, but that doesn’t mean they’ll disappear over time. In fact, growths can continue to grow, especially as pets age.
Warts, cysts, sebaceous gland tumors, moles, and skin tags are all common age-related pet lumps and bumps that aren’t usually causes for concern.
When It Gets Real
Lipomas are fatty tumors that can cause discomfort, depending on their location. They don’t always become malignant, but when fine needle aspiration confirms this diagnosis, they’re known as liposarcomas. Additionally, digital radiographs or tissue biopsy can confirm the presence of cancer cells.
Pet cancer is a possibility after the discovery of pet lumps and bumps. Mast cell tumors, squamous cell tumors, cutaneous hemangiosarcoma, and malignant melanoma are common types of growths that can spread throughout the body. Difficult to surgically remove, these growths should be examined and dealt with promptly.
Pet Lumps and Bumps
The bottom line is that, while common enough, these growths can be dangerous. It’s always in your pet’s best interest to act quickly and rule out medical problems. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns about pet lumps and bumps. Our staff at Hanford Veterinary Hospital is always here for you.