Finding a new lump or bump on your furry friend can be a little worrisome. While many bumps on pets are perfectly harmless, our minds often to jump to a worst case scenario.

So how are you to know when it’s time to worry and when a new blemish is no big deal? Let the team at Dickinson Animal Hospital & Pet Wellness Center help! 

What Bumps on Pets Can Be

Almost none of us get through life unscathed by a blemish or growth of some kind. Many of these don’t amount to anything except a little extra character, but some are signs of a more serious problem.

When we see a pet for a new lump or bump, there are a few common diagnoses. These can include:

Infection — The body often reacts to infection by swelling. Things like abscesses (pus-filled swellings) and pustules (small, pimple-like infections) can occur in pets when an injury or other insult allows infection to ensue. A swelling resulting from infection could be the result of a bite wound, an infected tooth root, or a skin infection secondary to allergies

Reaction — If a foreign object (like a piece of plant material or even something the body deems foreign that isn’t), enters the body it can form something called a granuloma. This walled-off tumorous lesion is simply the body’s way of rejecting something that doesn’t belong.

Neoplasia — A neoplasm is an abnormal tissue that grows out of normal controls. A neoplasm can be benign and harmless like a cyst. Malignant neoplasms tend to be aggressive and invasive. Prognosis can vary greatly depending on the specific characteristics of a neoplastic lesion.

Manifestation of systemic disease — Sometimes bumps on the skin can be a product of other things going in the body. Cushing’s syndrome, liver disease, and other conditions can result in skin changes. 

When a pet with a lump or bump comes in, further diagnostics are often necessary to determine what it may be. Many different types of bumps on pets can appear the same.

Blood testing, imaging like radiographs, or cytology (evaluation of cells under the microscope) are often recommended. Sometimes a surgical biopsy is also necessary to tell us what the lesion might be and what the best way to treat it is.

When to Worry About Bumps on Pets

So, should you rush your pet in any time you find an irregularity? While not all bumps on pets are emergencies, in general you should give us a call if you find something new or abnormal on your pet. 

While many lumps and bumps can wait until your next preventative care visit, there are some that require immediate attention. In general, we want to see your pet as soon as possible if:

  • The lump or bump is painful
  • The area is red, irritated, or itchy
  • Your pet is acting abnormally (not eating, lethargic, etc.)
  • It is a previous lump or bump that is growing or changing 
  • It is draining, bleeding, or oozing
  • Your pet is a short-haired breed (Boxers, Pit Bulls, Bulldogs, etc.)
  • Your pet has a history of cancer

If it turns out that the bump on your pet is something serious, the sooner that we diagnose the problem, the better the outcome. While no one wants to learn that their pet has cancer, you can be assured that in that situation we are able to provide the best and most personal care available. 

Lumps and bumps are a frequent occurrence in pets. A little knowledge can go a long way towards helping you to be the best pet owner possible. When in doubt, it is never wrong to make an appointment to have your pet checked out.