Any pet parent who knows about skin cancer in pets would panic on discovering a lump or bump on their fur baby’s skin. But, it does not automatically mean your fur baby has cancer. Dogs can develop different types of skin growths. They are more common in older dogs than pups and are often harmless.
However, there is a chance that the lump could be a sign of a more complicated health issue. Therefore, one should regularly trim their dog’s fur with dog clippers and check for skin lumps and bumps. If you spot any, you should take it seriously and take action.
Read on and learn more about the most common dog skin lumps and bumps and what you should do about them.
The Most Common Dog Skin Lumps & Bumps You Should Know About
Types of lumps and bumps on dog skin
There are two broad categories of dog skin lumps and bumps:
- Benign or non-cancerous lumps and bumps.
- Malignant or cancerous growths.
Benign or non-cancerous lumps and bumps
As the name suggests, they are harmless and cannot invade other cells in the body. However, they can cause discomfort, obstruct breathing, or curtail movement if left to grow. The following are some types of benign dog skin lumps and bumps.
If you’ve noticed a lump or bump on your dog’s skin, there is a 25% chance that it is a lipoma. Lipomas are fatty growths that appear as soft lumps of flesh underneath the skin. They are the most prevalent benign dog skin tumors. Older dogs, obese dogs, and larger breeds like German Shepherds and Rottweilers are more prone to develop lipomas. However, smaller breeds can also develop lipomas.
Lipomas can be treated by removal.
Abscesses are lumps that appear like swellings containing pus. They develop due to an infection caused by insect bites, animal bites, or other skin breaches. Although they are not harmful, abscesses can be irritating and cause significant discomfort. Treatment often entails draining the contents of the lump and flushing the wound with an antibacterial solution. A vet could also prescribe antibiotics for your dog.
Histiocytomas or button tumors
Button tumors are common among puppies between 2 -36 months old. They develop due to an overproduction of immune system cells and often disappear. Button tumors look like red button-like lumps on the limbs. Although they are harmless and disappear quickly, button tumors look similar to some cancerous lumps. So, don’t take any chances. Reach out to a vet and get treatment for your fur baby.
Sebaceous glands are small, oil-producing glands found in the skin of mammals. If sebaceous glands are blocked, the dog could develop multiple wart-like swellings. They are common in wooly-haired older dogs like Poodles, Bichons, and others. Sebaceous adenomas are not harmful. However, if ulcerated, they can cause significant discomfort. Therefore, take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice the growths.
Warts are common on puppies that don’t have fully-developed immune systems and older dogs with compromised immunity. They appear like small cauliflowers on the head or face. Warts are caused by papillomavirus, and they are communicable. Your dog could develop warts due to close social contact with other dogs. A healthy diet and observing hygiene will help you to prevent them. But in case your dog develops warts, reach out to a vet.
Malignant or cancerous growths
Unlike in benign growths, cells in malignant dog skin lumps and bumps can spread via the lymphatic or circulatory system and invade other body sites. They can affect your dog’s organs, bones, and other physiological systems. The following are types of malignant dog skin lumps and bumps.
Mast cell tumors
Mast cell tumors are the most prevalent malignant dog skin lumps. They are common in canines older than eight years. They may develop on the skin surface or underneath it. If you notice a solid lump with an irregular shape on your dog, reach out to a vet and have the dog checked out immediately. The vet will conduct a biopsy to establish the nature of the lump. If positive, they will surgically remove it to prevent the growth from spreading to other parts of the body.
Like in humans, melanomas in dogs affect the cells that give pigment to the skin. They look like dark lumps on the skin and can be malignant or benign. They spread slowly. But some varieties of melanomas spread quickly and can cover unusual places like the mouth and legs. Although melanomas are treatable by removal, they can recur. Therefore, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are recommended.
Squamous cell carcinomas
Melanomas may not be due to exposure to sunshine, but squamous cell carcinomas are. These dog skin lumps appear on hairless areas like ears, lips, and nose. They could be mistaken for crusty sores. If untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can cause pain and spread to other parts of the body. They can cause significant discomfort and could be fatal.
Dog skin lumps and bumps, a final word
If your dog has a skin lump or bumps, urgently reach out to a vet and get help. It could be benign or malignant. Whatever the case, treatment is crucial and is more likely to succeed when started early. If your dog does not have lumps and bumps on the skin, keep checking, especially during grooming sessions and bath time. Just run your fingertips under the coat and if you notice any swelling, schedule an appointment at the vet.
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