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I’ve found a lump on my dog, what should I do next?

Most dogs develop a lump or two during their lifetime. There can be lots of different reasons for this. It is always worrying to find a lump on your pet. Lumps can be something simple, however, some are caused by serious diseases. Simple lumps should resolve within about 5 days, as long as your dog is not licking or scratching the area.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

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Common causes of lumps in dogs

  • Skin tag
  • Skin reaction to an insect bite
  • Lipoma (fatty lump)
  • Sebaceous cyst
  • Abscess
  • Hives
  • Histiocytoma
  • Wart (Papilloma)
  • Hygroma (a soft swelling filled with fluid usually over a joint)
  • Haematoma
  • Mast Cell Tumour
  • Melanoma
  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Perianal Adenoma (these occur around the rectum, usually in unneutered males)

What can you do to help your dog?

If you notice a lump on your dog, do not let them lick it. If needed, use an inflatable comfy collar, or one of the traditional plastic Elizabethan (lampshade) collars. These can be bought online, from pet shops, and from your vets. Alternatively, try using a pet t-shirt or bodysuit, pair of shorts, or a tube sock, to protect the skin from self trauma.

Diagnosis of lumps

The only way to accurately diagnose a lump is with microscopic examination of tissue. If the lump is not resolving on its own, your vet might recommend taking a tissue sample for diagnosis. The most common methods include needle aspiration (using a small needle and syringe in the consult room), a small punch biopsy (under sedation or anaesthetic), and full excision biopsy (under a general anaesthetic), and sending a sample to the lab for analysis.

When is it time to visit your vet?

If you notice any of the following signs, your dog should be seen by a vet:

  • A lump that is irritating your dog
  • A lump that looks ulcerated, red or sore
  • A lump that has not resolved within 7 to 10 days, or that has grown bigger during that time
  • If your dog has other clinical signs. For example, inappetence, lethargy, or a change in toileting habits.

Still worried?

Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our vets.

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