A common question clients ask at vet visits: “Should I be concerned about this lump?” Dogs and cats can get lumps and bumps on their bodies for a variety of reasons. Here’s what to know about pet lumps and skin growths–including when to get them checked out.
Lumps in Dogs
Many older dogs will get lumps as they age. More often than not, these are benign growths, such as skin tags, skin warts, and lipomas, which are soft, fatty lumps. In general, these benign growths are not concerning. However, there are some instances where you might consider getting a benign growth removed to avoid further discomfort or infection:
- If the growth is in an uncomfortable spot–on the eyelid, for instance, or under the collar
- Your dog is licking, biting, or scratching at the lump
Other causes of bumps in dogs include:
- Bug bites
- Splinter or other foreign object caught under the skin
If you notice a new lump on your dog for the first time, take a mental note of its size. A bump that stays the same size is less concerning than one that’s growing. You’ll want to get fast-growing pet lumps checked right away, as it could be a form of skin cancer.
Growths on some parts of the body tend to be more concerning than growths on other parts. We’re generally more suspicious of growths that form on the lip, gum, penis, or vulva, or on or around the nipple in female pets, than on other skin growths.
Even benign skin growths can become infected, so any lump or bump that is bleeding oozing puss should get looked at right away.
As always, if you’re at all concerned about a lump, bump, or growth, or if something just doesn’t look right to you, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your vet to get it checked out.
Lumps in Cats
Cats are far less prone to benign skin growths than dogs. Lumps and bumps, in general, tend to be more concerning in cats. I always advise owners to get any new growth on a cat checked out.