Although our canine companions are covered in fur, their skin is still liable to develop lumps and bumps like humans. While not always, these lumps and bumps may be signs of illness or disease like cancer. Here, our Avon vets explain the kinds of lumps and bumps you might find on your dog, including cancerous and non-cancerous skin growths.
Lumps & Bumps on Your Dog's Skin
If you've discovered a lump or bump on your dog's skin, it's likely that the worry of cancer may have crossed your mind—especially if the patch of skin is discolored too. It's important to remember, however, that not all lumps or bumps are cancerous.
In either case, careful monitoring a veterinary intervention are the keys early detection and treatment of illness, cancerous or not, that may be causing your pup's lumps.
There are two varieties of lumps and bumps in dogs, cancerous and non-cancerous—or, skin growths. Here are some examples of both cancerous and non-cancerous lumps and bumps you may find on your dog:
Cancerous Lumps in Dogs
While not all tumors are cancerous, it can be difficult to tell as a pet parent what you should and shouldn't worry about. Your vet will be able to diagnose the specific kind of cancerous lump or bump on your dog.
After assessment and examination they may diagnose your dog with one of the following forms of cancer:
Squamous Cell CarcinomaSkin squamous cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed form of skin cancer in dogs. These tumors appear as raised wart-like patches or lumps that are firm to the touch and are most often found on the dog's head, lower legs, rear, and abdomen.
Malignant MelanomaMelanomas are raised bumps that can be dark-pigmented (but not always) and are frequently found around the dog's lips, mouth and nail bed. Most melanomas are benign however they can be malignant. Malignant melanomas are a very serious health threat.
Mast Cell Tumors
Mast cell tumors occur in the mast cells of the immune system and are very common in dogs. These tumors can grow anywhere on the skin, and even on the dog's internal organs. That said, some of the most common sites for mast cell tumors to appear are on the limbs, lower abdomen, and chest.
While there is a risk that lumps and bumps, especially those that seem to shift and change on your pet's skin, are cancerous, there are also a number of other possible causes for lumps on your dog's skin.
Regardless though, if you detect a strange lump, even if there is not a noticeable change in it, you should bring it up at your next vet checkup for prompt diagnosis. A non-cancerous lump, called a skin growth, can include any of the following:
Pimples (Apocrine Cysts)
Just like people, our dogs can develop surface-level cysts, or pimples, on their skin. These cysts may rupture, either on their own or through veterinary intervention, whihc often can help to clear them up.
Abscesses are lumps that are formed from an infection at the site of a wound, an insect bite or other break or abrasion of your pet's skin.
These pus and blood-filled pockets can be quite painful and may even rupture, spreading the infection throughout your dog's body, if not promptly treated.
These skin growths occur below your dog's skin when a collection of blood builds up in a pocket. These can be painful for your pet and require professional veterinary care to eliminate.
Reactions to Injection Sites or Bites
The lump you feel on your dog's skin may very well be a reaction to an injection, or an allergic reaction to a bite from a bug or other irritants.
After an injection, a small knot of tissue may form beneath your dog's skin, or they may feel some tenderness in the area around the site. These are both normal and should dissipate in a few days.
Bug bites, allergens and other irritants may cause swelling or hives on your dog's skin. These areas are often itchy and unless your dog is continuing to be exposed to the irritant, should also be alleviated in no time.
If either of these kinds of lumps remain for longer than a few days, contact your veterinarians for diagnosis as soon as possible.
Treating Your Dog's Lumps and Bumps
The best way to prevent your pup from developing diseases or infections as a result of lumps or bumps on their skin is by closely monitoring their skin to find and alert your vet to new or odd lumps and bumps.
You can do so during regular grooming, paying attention to your dog's normal lumps and bumps so you will be able to familiarize yourself with the normal appearance of their skin.
If you notice strange lumps or bumps, contact your vet right away or bring it up at your pet's next routine checkup. Our Animal General vets are able to provide mass removal surgeries for any and all kinds of lumps and bumps in dogs.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.