Lumps and bumps on your pet

By: DogTrekker Staff
White bulldog at the vet

By Dr. Angela Gaeto, DVM, of the Helen Woodward Animal Center community in San Diego County.

There are all kinds of lumps and bumps we can find on our pets. The likely cause of these bumps varies based on breed, age, size, location, and consistency. Veterinarians use all of these factors to help determine what’s going on with your pet. Common lumps include papillomas (warts), cysts, callous, and fat cell accumulations called lipomas. There are many other lumps and bumps you can find on your pet. Some of the ones you can see outwardly are in the skin, bone, muscles, connective tissue under the skin, or possibly in the abdomen.

What to do when you find a bump

When you find a lump on your pet, see if you can investigate further. Sometimes what pet owners think are lumps are actually scabs, foreign material stuck in the fur, or parasites like ticks. All of those situations should be properly addressed as well but can be addressed differently than lumps. Due to the wide variety of lumps, there are certainly lumps that should be addressed sooner than others. Lumps that are oozing, draining foreign material, or are rapidly growing or changing should be addressed immediately. Lumps that cause changes in your pet’s behavior such as inappetence or lethargy should also be addressed quickly. It can be hard to determine if the lump is the cause for changes so it always better to be safe and have lumps evaluated.

When to worry

There is no exact recipe for when something going on with your pet is a problem, or even when something is more of a problem than another time. In general, changes with your pet that can’t be explained by common occurrences are more of a cause for concern. A good example of something that’s easy to explain is a puppy that runs into a piece of furniture. They might get a little swelling where they collided and they might be a little sore from the trauma but in general, they bounce right back. Overall, you should be more inclined to seek veterinary services when things change, or multiple things are wrong. A good example of this scenario is when you notice a lump on your pet’s foot and they are also limping. Another example might be you notice your pet has a lump on their side that has doubled in size in a short period. Both examples illustrate more concerning things: that multiple things are wrong, or things have changed. This is not a hard and fast rule but a good thing to consider when you notice bumps on your pet.

Last updated on April 23, 2024.


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