You just got home from work and your furry best friend is leaping up at your feet looking for love. You reach down to give them a pat and scratch in their favorite little spot and there it is: a lump. Your mind races “What is this?! How long ago did I pet here, how long as this been growing? Why are there sudden lumps on doggo?” Take a breath! We know the worry but you’re not doing anyone any favors by panicking!
Note: If you see fast growth, redness, swelling, pus, an opening, if the dog is in pain, or if the lumps are in the face or paws, make an appointment with your vet right away!
Sudden Lumps on Dog? It’s Likely Fine
We all know the joke about checking webMD when you’re feeling sick and inevitably self diagnosing with cancer or some other horrible disease. The same process happens with your dog and lumps, after all “ It is a lump!” you think to yourself. Well without a vet or some test results you can’t know for sure, and it is likely your mind is just running away from you.
Most lumps are totally benign (meaning not cancerous) fatty tumors. Less than half of lumps on dogs are malignant or cancerous. But they look the same from the outside and you can’t be certain without getting tests. That doesn’t mean you should ignore them however!
Fatty tumors specifically most often happen in middle age or older dogs, especially along their ribs, though they can show up elsewhere. Fatty tumors are considered a natural part of aging, and any breed can have them though overweight and larger breeds are more common.
If a lump or bump has appeared suddenly chances are you’re not sure about the cause of it. And if you’re not sure about the cause, you need to see your vet to see what’s going on and they’ll want to know to ensure proper ongoing care for your pet!
Your vet will want to know a few things right off the bat so do your best to gather this info:
- If the shape, color, or size of the lump has changed
- If your dog’s behavior, appetite or energy level are different
With that in mind the vet will perform a simple procedure to remove some of the lump cells to view under a microscope. In some occasions a vet can tell right away whether or not the lump is simply a fat tumor.
If that test doesn’t reveal immediate answers, your vet will take a small tissue sample to send out for labwork and results will usually come back within a couple days.
Cancerous lumps can often be removed with a simple surgery. The only worry is if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, which would necessitate radiation, chemotherapy, or both.
The bigger concern is if the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. If so, your pet may need radiation or chemotherapy, or both.
What Other Types of Lumps and Bumps Are There
In addition to fatty tumors and cancerous lumps there are a few other possible causes of sudden lumps on dogs.
Sebaceous cysts – Blocked oil glands that look almost like a pimple. When they burst or pop a white, pasty substance will come out.
Warts – Caused by viruses, and most often found around the mouth of younger dogs, warts will usually go away by themselves. If they occur in older dogs surgery may be required to remove them
Abscess – These are buildups of pus under the skin.These are typically caused by an infection from an insect bite.
We hope that’s helped you calm your worries and understand the next steps for what to do should you have some sudden lumps on your dog. So pay attention to your pet, make note of any changes and schedule an appointment with your pet’s vet as soon as you’re able!