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Vet Talk: Lumps and Bumps on Dogs and Cats

Posted March 24, 2017


It’s not uncommon to notice or feel small lumps and bumps on our beloved animals. I understand that it is scary to find these, and although not all lumps and bumps are necessarily bad, I strongly feel that a veterinarian should check them out, in order to catch any potential problems as early as possible.

Your veterinarian may ask you how long you’ve noticed the lump or bump on your pet, if the lump or bump has changed, and if your pet is exhibiting any unusual behaviour. Keep a log when you first notice the lump or bump and take this information with you to the veterinarian as reference. Your veterinarian will also likely want to preform a cytology (using a needle to aspirate the lump), or a biopsy (which is when a piece of the lump is sent to a pathologist to examine and determine what it is).

Benign lumps are generally fatty lumps (often referred to as a lipoma), warts and cysts. Generally, lipomas do not need to be removed. However even a benign lipoma may cause your dog or cat discomfort, and you may want to discuss removing it with your veterinarian. Benign lumps and bumps should still be monitored, as things can change.

As I mentioned, a veterinarian should examine all lumps and bumps. The following, however, should be checked out as quickly as possible as these are abnormal and may be a particular cause for concern:

  • Ulcerated bumps
  • Bumps that are getting larger fast
  • Lumps that are hard (lumps that are soft and fluid filled can also be a problem)
  • A wound that doesn’t heal
  • A lump in the lymph nodes

Your cat or dog’s lump may be granulomas, abscesses, tumors, or cysts. If a tumor, it could be benign or malignant—there is just no way to know until a cytology or a biopsy is done.

Unfortunately, more than half of dogs over the age of 10 are likely to develop cancer in their lifetime. Cancerous tumors are masses of tissue that result when cells divide more rapidly than normal, or do not die when they should.

Young dogs can also have malignant tumors. I’ve had my own pet cancer scare with my dog Louie when he was just 1 year of age. He had a fibrosarcoma (a cancerous tumor) between his shoulder blades in the skin. Most treatment plans for canine tumors involve surgical removal of the tumor. Depending on the tumor type and location, your veterinarian may recommend adding other treatments such as chemotherapy. You may also want to discuss using natural supplements like NHV ES Clear, Milk ThistlePetOmega 3, BK Detox, and Turmeric  in conjunction with other cancer treatments to help support the body and immune system.

An update on my dog Louie: His tumor was removed with wide margins (which is the area around the tumor) and it has not returned since. He is 9 now!

If you have any questions about a lump or bump on your dog or cat and would like a secondary opinion, or a comprehensive holistic plan for your pet, please book an on-line consultation with me via NHV.


Yours in wellness,

Dr. H. Cook

Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for fifteen years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!

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