Lumps and Bumps – Unscheduled Visits to the Vet

Dog being examined for lumps by vet

Lumps and bumps are probably the most frequent cause of unscheduled visits to the vet. We are all aware of the risks of cancer to ourselves, and so we are rightly concerned if we suspect it on our furry friends. If you find an unusual lump on your pet, it is best to see a veterinarian right away. The sooner a problem is discovered, the greater the chance it can be effectively dealt with.

A lump doesn’t always mean cancer, much less death – but still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here is a quick overview of what lumps and bumps could mean.


What Might Lumps and Bumps Mean?


This is a soft, round, non-painful mass that can be found most often right beneath the surface of the skin. Most lipomas are benign and will only grow to a certain size before stopping. They mostly won’t need to be removed unless they cause a physical impediment to your animal which necessitates removal for the sake of comfort.


A lump might simply be a cyst, resulting from plugged-up oil glands (sebaceous cysts). Cysts may have negative consequences if they continue to grow untreated. However, once removed there is unlikely to be further complications.


Sore-looking, swollen lumps can be caused by inflammation of the skin and hair follicles. This may be the result of parasites, fungal agents or bacteria. Once the cause of the folliculitis is established, treatments such as ointments or antibiotics may be recommended.

Cancerous Growths

Sadly, sometimes the lump you find on your pet might be cancerous. The seriousness of cancer will need to be investigated thoroughly by your veterinarian and other animal-health specialists. Veterinarians are often conservative and prudent, removing a lump or part of a lump for analysis, just to be safe. Analysis of cancerous lumps may be done by total or partial excision, taking a smear sample or by needle biopsy.

If your vet suspects that the lump is evidence of deeper cancerous growths, she may recommend a computed tomography scan (CAT scan) or x-ray so that the extent of any problem can be evaluated.

What Can Be Done to Treat Cancer?

The best treatment will depend on the individual circumstances, including the overall health and age of the pet in question. If cancerous growths are able to be excised then they will be, provided they are not too numerous or this would simply be a wasteful, temporary measure.

Either radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be necessary to deal with aggressively growing cancers. These therapies can take a harsh toll on your pet’s overall health and the worth will need to be discussed between owner and veterinarian to account for the quality of life and age. If a pet is already quite old and suffering from cancer, these therapies might be impractical or reduce their remaining quality of life. The right course of action depends on the pet and the owner.

Speak to Your Floreat Vet about Your Options

It always pays to be vigilant with your pet and that means checking for lumps in addition to monitoring their general behaviour and health. If you find a lump, this doesn’t automatically mean cancer; however, it’s important that you see a veterinarian immediately to ascertain the meaning of the lump and what can be done about it. Our friendly team will be more than happy to help you and your pet, whatever the problem!