Lumps and Bumps. When Is It Time To Get Them Checked Out.100_1925

By: Ben Davidson, DVM

We all know, have known, or will soon know a dog or cat that has had a lump or bump that we can feel on or just beneath its skin.  The unfortunate truth is that these growth and lesions are incredibly common in small animal medicine.  Fortunately, however, many of these lumps are benign and non-cancerous, but getting it looked at and checked out is the only way to know for sure.  These lumps can be cysts, abscesses, scar tissue, benign growths, or yes, cancerous tumors.  There is not a great algorithm or set of criteria for when a growth is safe of when it could be dangerous.  Fast growing, very inflamed looking lesions tend to be worse, but we always worry about that sleeping giant that may not fit those generalizations.  At your visit, your veterinarian will look at it, feel it for consistency, location, and attachment, and will likely recommend pulling some cells Doctor Looking Through a Microscopeout of it to evaluate under the microscope by us or by a board certified pathologist.

The question bigger than when to get it checked out, is when or if to get it removed?  In our opinion there are four reasons to have a growth removed: 1) It is known to be aggressive and thus will cause problems either locally or systemically without intervention.  Better to get these off early, when they are small.  2) If its size and location will make surgery down the road more difficult on your pet.  Even benign growths do continue to grow and if they get too big they can cause problems or pain and surgery will only be harder on everybody later on.  3) If it is open and/or bleeding.  A growth like this is painful and prone to infection.  Ruptured growths are unlikely to heal without removal and surgery.  4) If the growth is upsetting or troublesome to either your pet, or to you.  If your pet is licking, chewing, or scratching at the lesion, or it is causing trouble with certain movements, it is upsetting to them.  If you don’t like the look of the lesion, or you don’t like feeling it when you are petting your furry friend, then get it out of there.

Together, we can determine the best course of action for your pets specific problem.  It may be surgery, medication, or cat with cone perhaps even no treatment at all, but we need to know what the exact problem is before we know how to make it go away.  If your pet has any of these lumps and bumps that have not been checked out, we strongly recommend contacting us for an evaluation so we can make sure to not let that little bump become a bigger mountain.