Lumps and Bumps in your Vail Valley Pets!
Lumps and bumps and all those things on your Vail Valley Pets!
While Covid-19 has left may pet owners home taking care of their pets, we have seen a rise in the number of lumps! Pet Owners are spending more time with their pets and are becoming more aware of lumps and bumps growing on their pet’s skin. While not all lumps are dangerous for pets, worrying pet parents fear the worst, ..Cancer!
But, not all lumps are Cancer! There are many lumps pets, both young and old, will develop on their skin, and having them examined by your veterinarian is the first step in the diagnosis.
Typical skin lumps are diagnosed with a “Fine needle aspirate.” This involves sterile preparation over the lump, and a small needle insertion, during which your veterinarian can extract cells which will be looked at under a microscope.
The “cells” seen under the microscope will quickly provide the veterinarian a start in the process of diagnosing a lump as “benign” (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Should your veterinarian believe this lump is hazardous to the health of your pet, a surgical excision with a biopsy may be recommended, or referral to a veterinary cancer specialist (oncologist) for options for chemotherapy.
The most common “benign” lumps we see in pets are lipomas.
Now there is an “assumption” that a “lipoma” can be diagnosed simply by how if feels, if it moves, and is soft or hard. No veterinarian will make a diagnosis on a lump without that initial fine needle aspirate. That being said, “lipomas” are typically squishy, soft, moveable masses filled with fat cells and unless they impede the movement of your pet, are of no concern. Lipomas are typical in older pets.
Other typical lumps of older pets which are not of a big concern of the health of the pet include “skin tags,” “sebaceous adenomas”, and cysts.
Younger pets are prone to small skin tumors referred to as “histiocytomas.” It certainly is scary to have your 8 month old pet develop this raised, red, round lump which can get infected and be bothersome to your pet, but these tumors are not dangerous to your pet and will often go away on their own.
More concerning lumps of all ages of dogs include “mast cell tumors” which can be of all sizes, shapes and consistencies but can present a potential for malignancy. “Soft tissue sarcomas” are also concerning and can look just like a lipoma! In addition, melanomas can be found, both in the mouth and on the skin. All of these tumors will require fine needle aspirates to diagnose, and biospies for full prediction of malignancy .
Regardless of the age of your pet, lumps can be scary, but don’t jump to assumptions. Keep up with your annual preventative check ups for your pets and document the lumps you found so you can be proactive for your pet’s future health!