When to Worry About Lumps and Bumps on Your Pet’s Skin
Lumps and bumps come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but their appearance doesn’t always give us the full picture. Undoubtedly, it’s unsettling for many pet owners to consider the possibility of cancer; however, lumps and bumps on your pet’s skin can be related to other things besides malignant tumors.
The good news is that we have the ability to test skin growths. Once we understand what’s going on beneath the surface, we can discuss the possible pathways forward.
We know well the panic that sets in after a recent close look at a pet’s skin. Usually it happens after grooming or a sustained petting/snuggling session. Skin growths seemingly come out of nowhere, are naturally perceived as unattractive, and may restrict movement and/or cause pain.
It’s at this junction you may decide to get the lumps and bumps on your pet’s skin checked out. That’s where Heart of Texas Veterinary Specialty Center comes in.
A Closer Look at the Skin
If a growth has been there for a month or more, has grown in size since first observation, and is currently larger than an inch in diameter, it’s imperative that it receive a thorough investigation.
Lumps and bumps on your pet’s skin can be separated into two categories: papules (small skin bumps) and nodules (larger skin lumps). Growths can result from infection, inflammation, or cancer.
Lipomas, or benign fatty tissue tumors, are skin nodules commonly found on cats and dogs. They can be found in between muscle layers or in the fat just below the skin.
A fine needle aspirate is the most common way to diagnose lumps and bumps on your pet’s skin. This involves:
- Sticking a small needle directly into the mass.
- Pulling out cells inside it.
- Looking through a microscope.
- Determining if the cells are cancerous.
Benign masses, while preferable, can still cause pain or mobility issues if located near a joint. These can be surgically removed, but they don’t necessarily require immediate action.
Malignant tumors should be removed promptly to reduce the risk of spreading throughout the body. It’s important for us to check the margins on the tumor to ensure it’s completely removed. Chemotherapy or radiation can be prescribed to destroy cancer cells.
Lumps and Bumps on Your Pet’s Skin
While many lumps and bumps on your pet’s skin can end up being 100% harmless, it’s critical to get them checked out. Your pet may need antibiotics or other supportive treatments to resolve the underlying issue that led to the skin growths. The bottom line is that it’s vital to catch issues early on to prevent significant complications from developing.
If you have any questions or concerns about lumps and bumps on your pet’s skin, we encourage you to contact us. In the meantime, be sure to check your pet’s skin every day for new skin growths. Spend extra time inspecting the skin while grooming or petting your pet at the end of each day.