05JUNE 2017 |

Lumps and Bumps on Pets 

A very common concern of dog and cat owners is lumps and bumps on their pet. These can come on gradually or suddenly depending on what is causing the situation.

The various causes are, firstly, abscesses from some sort of penetrating wound. The most common of these is a bite from a fight with another animal as is often seen in cats that go outside. Any puncture can develop into an infection or foreign material reaction (such as a piece of a stick still in the wound) and cause an abscess. These usually come on fairly quickly over 2 or 3 days and often will eventually break open releasing pus.

A second cause is a cyst which is a sack like structure that forms in or under the skin. It has a lining that produces liquid or thick material. These may or may not burst open depending on how fast they grow and how much pressure gets exerted on the skin from the growth. As hinted above, this type of lump can vary in speed of growth.

A third major type is a tumor-which is just a growth of tissue and can be non-cancerous or cancerous. In dogs, most are not cancer, but in cats it is more often so.

The only real way to tell what type of lump a pet has is to see a veterinarian and have either a needle aspirate (some cells are pulled out of the area with a needle and syringe) or a biopsy done. Unless, it is obviously pus that is removed, usually a microscopic test will have to be done to determine what type of cells are causing the lump.

Absesses are usually treated by removing all the infection and infected tissue and making sure any further build-up of fluid and infection is handled with drains and antibiotics. Cysts and non-cancerous masses can be removed surgically and should be curative. Cancer usually will require surgical removal and some secondary treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation, if one decides to pursue such. Also before any of that, in a cancer patient, the rest of the pet’s body should be evaluated for trouble (such as lung x-rays, blood work and maybe testing the lymph glands, which are glands that drain the area, for cancer cells.)

It is best to take your pet for such a diagnosis of a lump or bump immediately. IF cancer is found, then surgery may prevent it from spreading. And if it isn’t cancer, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that.