At the height of my most recent bouts of pancreatitis the Lady I rescued and I were hit with another scare. It happened at the emergency vet, while examining me she found a lump on my left thigh. Surprised at the size of it when feeling it for herself, a wave of panic washed over the Lady, followed by several sleepless nights. I’m known for some drama but nothing compares to her nightmares of me living the rest of my life as a dog with three legs, what we call a tripawd. A few weeks later our regular vet found it also, while the Lady explained that she only just found it herself and didn’t say anything yet because we were concentrating on me recuperating from the pancreatitis.
But, as soon as possible after that, I visited the vet again, to have the lump checked. By now the Lady found two more, and that dog daddy Brad knew about them but never mentioned it. Worried sick expecting bad news, the vet checked out the two lumps on my thigh, one large under the skin (Lump #1), and another round, hard one, on the inside of my thigh (Lump #2). There is also a wart-like bump on top of the skin behind my left ear like Rhette’s (Lump #3) so we aren’t real worried about that one.
Not happy at the vet again, at all, I succumbed to another examination of poking and prodding. After looking at all of my lumps and bumps the vet didn’t seemed too concerned but, she did recommend taking some cells with a needle to look at under the microscope. In addition to the two lumps we knew about on the left thigh she found another small mass in the thigh between the muscles. This mass gave her the most concern because as it grows it will affect the muscles.
After poking me with three needles we got good news that all cells appear fatty in nature. The vet recommended surgery, especially for the one in the muscle, and all biopsied for peace of mind. My surgery is January 12th to remove the three masses on my left thigh and the bump behind my ear.
While you and your dog are enjoying a cuddle on the couch is a good time to feel around for any lumps. Especially if your dog is middle-aged, like me, or older, especially around the ribs. Though not prone to any breed, larger dogs and ones that are overweight are more likely to have them.
Surgery isn’t always recommended but keep in mind that they’ll likely get bigger. And the bigger the lump, the more invasive the surgery. Which is why we opted for surgery, putting it off will just complicate things.
Panic, like the Lady’s, isn’t necessary when finding a lump on your dog, here are the common ones you may find:
Common Types of Lumps on Dogs
- Fatty tumors: Like my lumps, a needle drawing a small amount of tissue will tell if the tumor is just fatty, if not the vet can take a small tissue sample from the lump and send it out for biopsy. If it does come back cancerous surgery is definitely need to remove it
- Sebaceous cyst: is a blocked oil gland that looks like a pimple. When it bursts, a white, pasty substance comes out.
- Warts: caused by a virus and found around the mouths of young dogs. I had one before and it just went away on its own.
- Abcess: is a buildup of pus under the skin, caused by an infection or a bite from an insect or other creature. We’ve found these more common in cats from fighting or rough play between dogs.
- Mast cell tumor: Fewer than half of lumps and bumps you find on a dog are malignant, or cancerous, the most common skin cancer in dogs. They’re most often found in boxers, Boston Terriers, Labradors, Beagles, and Schnauzers.
Once your dog gets lumps there’s a good chance they’ll get others. Like Rhette, he still has one very small bump on his spine, which we just keep an eye on. If you do find more be sure and visit the vet to have them tested also.
Say your paw prayers for me and the Lady for my surgery on January 12th. We’ll followup afterwards with an update on how everything went.