AskTheVet: What Are Those Lumps on My Dog?

Here’s another installment by my employer, Dr. DognCat.



Your pet, especially as it ages, may develop lumps, bumps, and/or skin tags on various parts of their body. In general, most lumps or masses that we find on dogs are the result of some type of cancer. The word CANCER strikes fear in the concerned pet owner. Cancer is a class of disease in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth. Cancer, also referred to as neoplasia, may be benign or malignant. In simple terms, benign cancer refers to a type of disease in which the growth doesn’t spread and can typically be cured by surgical removal. On the other hand, malignant cancer displays the ability to spread and possibly invade organs, and typically requires aggressive surgical removal with or with out concurrent chemotherapy. It is important to point out and understand that benign and malignant cancers collectively represent an extremely wide spectrum of disease. It would be beyond the scope of this article to further classify various types of cancer. In the veterinary medical profession, just like the human health profession, we study and learn about different types of cancer everyday. It is impossible to describe and diagnosis any lump over the phone. If your pet has a lump or growth, it is important to see your veterinarian for an examination. Your veterinarian can observe the growth and find out a thorough history of the pet, taking into consideration the age and breed, when the lump developed, the growth rate, and any distinguishing features it may have. In some cases, the lump may only require close monitoring. Other cases may require the collection of tissue, better known as a biopsy, for a pathologist to examine. Your veterinarian can discuss your options after this assessment.

Disclaimer: This section is provided for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for regular veterinary care though a licensed veterinarian, including regular office visits.


I’ll just say this.  If you find a lumpy area on your dog, get your happy little self and your dog to the vet pronto.  And if you don’t handle your dog regularly, start now.  You need to develop a familiarity with your animals so that you have a standard on which to base future comparisons.  One client stopped by the office – without her dog – and demanded antibiotics for her dog.  She said that she knew her dog and that she knew that the dog had a urinary tract infection.  When she brought her dog in for an exam, the vet detected a mass in the abdomen, performed an x-ray, and discovered that the abdomen was full of a cancerous tumor which was interfering with the function of the internal organs, including the urinary tract. 

Lots of lumps are fatty tumors.  Your vet will know the difference.

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2 Responses to “AskTheVet: What Are Those Lumps on My Dog?”

  1. Simba Says:

    Lumps on your dog? Are you beating that poor animal with a rubber hose again?


  2. ruthrawls Says:

    My dogs don’t have lumps. Yet.


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