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When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For A Lump? 3 Telltale Signs

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Lumps are common in dogs, more common in older dogs than in your dogs. So, when should I take my dog to the vet for a lump, you ask? The good news is that most of these lumps are benign, but there is no way to tell if the lump you see in or on your dog’s skin is cancerous. 

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Types of bumps and lumps on dogs 

The most common lumps and bumps on dogs are;

  1. Fat tumors – these are more common in older dogs but can also happen in middle-aged dogs. These are mostly part of the aging process. Fat tumors are also common in larger and overweight dogs than in small dogs. While you can find them on any part of the body, they mostly appear around the ribs.

  2. Warts – mostly caused by a virus and appear on the mouth. Wars are common in young dogs, but can also appear in older dogs. Older dogs usually require surgery to treat warts. Warts will mostly disappear as dogs develop immunity.

  3. Sebaceous cyst – is a hard lump on a dog that is a result of a blocked oil gland. It mostly resembles a pimple. Cysts usually burst to produce a white and pasty substance.

  4. Abscess – usually under the skin as a result of pus building-up around that area. Abscesses ofter occur from bites by insects or other animals or from an infection.

  5. Mast cell tumors – the most common cancer of the skin in dogs. It is most common in beagles, Boston terriers boxers, schnauzers, and Labradors. 

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For A Lump?

If you wake up and find a lump appeared overnight on dog, you can seek immediate medical attention. It is hard for you to tell whether the lump is dangerous or not, but your vet can run tests to determine whether it is cancerous. 

It is also possible to wait a day or two to see what happens, but talk to the vet first and explain how the lump looks like. If you realize after a few days that it is a fast growing lump on dog, take your dog to the vet for immediate diagnosis. 

How will your vet do this? The below are the common procedures of determining what type of lump your dog has;

  1. FNA (Fine needle aspiration) – The vet inserts a needle through the lump, suck out the liquid, and examines the cells on a slide through a microscope. Your dog might be under sedatives when the vet is inserting the needle. In some cases, the sample is sent to the lab for examination by a pathologist.

  2. Impression smear – is the lump discharging liquids. In that case, the vet will use the slide to get some of the discharge by rubbing on it. Then, the liquid will be observed through the microscope or by a pathologist.

  3. Biopsy – will happen when the FNA is not conclusive, or only has blood or fluid. A biopsy is when the vet cuts a part of the lump or the whole lump for further examination. Your dog will be under anesthesia or sedative for the biopsy.

Dogs are prone to get lumps, especially when they hit middle and old age. No one has the answer to when should I take my dog to the vet for a lump. But, if the lump is fast-growing, or has a discharge or seem painful, seek immediate medical attention.

Check out this video from a professional veterinarian that can tell the difference between a lump that is natural and one that is cancerous!

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