Lumps and bumps on pets are a common cause of veterinary checkups. You may be petting your fur friend and suddenly find a small lump under the skin. Or, you may notice that an old bump on the skin is now bleeding, or has changed in color. Masses, cysts, skin tags, and other issues that appear on or underneath your pet’s skin is a frequent concern among pet owners.

If you are asking yourself, “What’s this lump on my pet,” we can help answer the question. Many of these are benign, but there is cause to be concerned with certain skin growths. The team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital takes a closer look at these anomalies. 

What Is This Lump?

There are many causes of skin abnormalities in pets; and some pets have more lumps than others, especially as they age. Depending on the type of growth, these unusual bumps can appear as:

  • Fast growing bumps – These are growths on your pet that change quickly and grow within the span of a month or so. If it is a growth that develops rapidly, it should be removed by your veterinarian and then examined. 
  • The growth is causing pain – If your pet winces or avoids the growth being touched, or is licking at it incessantly, then it is a definite cause for examination. Painful growths in areas that cause rubbing when a pet moves, such as in the armpit, can create discomfort in your pet
  • The lump is discolored or has discharge – This can be a serious signal that the growth is infected. Follow up with your veterinarian, or take your pet to an after-hours facility for closer examination and treatment if the bump is oozing or bleeding in significant amounts. 
  • Bumps that shrink and reappear – These growth can indicate a mast cell tumor that contains histamine that causes the swelling. Do not poke or squeeze these tumors because they can release histamine and cause more problems. These bumps can be surgically removed by your veterinarian. 
  • Multiple bumps along the skin – If there are several bumps, your pet may be dealing with an allergic reaction, rash, or parasitic infection. Again, this needs to be examined to determine the right diagnosis and treatment. 

What Causes Growths on a Pet?

There are several factors that can cause a growth to develop. Growths can be benign or malignant, and only diagnostic testing can determine the pathology of these bumps.

Bumps are oftentimes fatty deposits under the skin, but not always. Other reasons for growth include cancer, allergic reactions, and insect bite, injury, or infection.

To get to the bottom of these growths, your veterinarian may choose different paths to deal with the problem:

  1. Cytology This procedure entails taking a small needle and aspirating the lump. We can then take cells from the growth or lump and examine them as needed.
  2. Mapping Mapping is a process that measures size and growth of the lump. If the lump grows quickly, then a biopsy is usually recommended. 
  3. Surgical removal Bumps that are abnormal or grow rapidly are typically removed surgically, which is done under sedation. The growth will then be examined for any indicators of infection or cancer.

There’s a Lump on My Pet… What Do I do?

If you find a lump on your pet, or if an existing growth has changed, please schedule an appointment with us. In most cases, they are benign and nothing needs to be done, but by following up you gain peace of mind. This early follow-up can also help with detecting problems early, before they get worse. 

If you have any questions about pet lumps and bumps, please give us a call.