Here at Eagle Animal Hospital we always ask during wellness visits whether your pet has any lumps or bumps. So, when you are petting your cat or dog and find a little lump on their skin, don’t just forget about it. There are many different things this little lump could be, some completely safe, benign and only cosmetic, and some others can be worrisome and dangerous to your pet’s health.
There are many, more, but here a few examples of common lumps found:
Sebaceous Cysts are usually smooth and round created when a hair follicle is obstructed. These can go away on their own but can also rupture and release discharge which can easily become infected and require treatment.
Histiocytomas are benign skin cell growths that usually go away on their own within three months. These look like a small raised, red hairless mass.
Lipomas are benign (non cancerous) soft tumors made up of fat cells that grow slowly and are typically harmless except for the rare liposarcoma (malignant or cancerous growth).
Mast cell tumors are malignant and can look like bug bites. They can be small or large, change sizes and spread. These are dangerous to your pet and should be removed.
It is very difficult to diagnose the nature of a lump from just looking at it because many different kinds look exactly the same. Luckily there are diagnostic steps we are able to take to find out what makes up the lump or bump.
The first thing to do is schedule an appointment to have one of our veterinarians perform a physical exam. Along with the exam, the doctor may do a fine-needle aspiration of the lump. The aspirate takes a small sample of the lump, which is then examined under the microscope. What the doctor looks for is any abnormal cell structures which may be cancerous. If the cells look normal, the lump can be left alone and monitored, if it is no bother to the pet or owner.
If the lump is suspect, the next step would be blood work, then surgical removal and biopsy of the lump under general anesthesia. The histopathology or biopsy tells us definitively what the nature of the lump is. It describes if it is malignant, and if there are clean margins (meaning, the entire affected area was removed).
As you can see, it is important to get all those lumps and bumps examined by a veterinarian. If your pet has one, please give us a call at Eagle Animal Hospital (610) 458-8789. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding area.
Written by Kaelin Mast, receptionist