Finding a hard lump on your dog makes for a pretty terrifying experience. Even more so than stumbling upon one on your own body. We don’t check the skin of our dogs as thoroughly and as often as we do our own. It’s much more difficult to notice a harmful growth in its early stages.
So what exactly does it mean when your dog has a lump somewhere? First of all, don’t panic. Certain kinds of lumps and bumps are harmless and can occur naturally, just as they would in the case of humans. Don’t jump to conclusions at first sight of any unusual growth. It might be more common than you think. On the other hand, it could be a sign of something more dangerous. This is why you should voice your doubts and observations the very next time you take your pet to the vet. A qualified professional may recommend more effective treatment options than any article you may find online. Still, it couldn’t hurt to inform yourself on the subject ahead of the visit, could it?
Are Cancer Lumps on Dogs Hard or Soft?
This question is much more loaded than it might seem at first. There are various types of cancerous growths on dogs and they differ in texture. Some of these lumps and bumps may even be benign and go away on its own. Canine viral papillomas, for example, are harmless tumors that develop as a result of a viral infection. They are extremely common and can occur in dogs of all ages, though they tend to affect younger ones more often. In most cases, it doesn’t even require a medical intervention — warts often go into remission on their own, as long as the dog gets enough nutrition and stays in a safe, stress-free environment.
They can be soft or hard in texture. One type of a soft, more concerning lump or bump is a lipoma — although benign, lipomas need to be constantly monitored for changes. As they start to grow larger, they will have to be removed, as they have the potential to become life-threatening.
When Should I Worry about a Lump on My Dog?
There is no wrong time to bring up a lump you’re concerned about whenever you get the chance to take your dog to the veterinarian. Although most growth, even cancerous ones are highly treatable and slow in progression, you don’t want to run the risk of omitting something much more serious.
Mast cell tumors are some of the more concerning ones and more difficult to pin down. They’re rather hard and also quite common in dogs. They arise from the uncontrolled growth of allergy cells. When left untreated for a long time, they may contribute to causing deadly allergic reactions. A mast cell tumor (MCT) can be very elusive — they tend to take up different shapes, colors, and textures. Another misleading factor is their rate of growth, as it progresses rapidly in some cases, and very slowly in others. When discovered early, MCTs can be removed by surgery. Tumors in more advanced stages might require chemotherapy, as well.
Malignant melanoma tumors belong to some of the scariest lumps and bumps often found on older dogs. As opposed to some of the other types of cancerous growths on dogs, melanomas often turn out to be malignant. Early detection is crucial, but even then aggressive surgery may be required. This condition may be a long-term struggle due to melanoma’s tendency to recur.
Get It Checked!
Remember — you’re not qualified to diagnose pets. No matter how much research you do and how many pictures you compare your dog’s skin lumps with, you’re not going to figure it all out on your own. What’s more, you could hurt your dog even more by trying! Whenever you feel like you found a lump or bump on your dog that you deem worthy of concern, grab your pup and head on over to your veterinary clinic. Benign or malignant, soft or hard, all of the lumps mentioned above share one common characteristic — they’re manageable if detected early. A proper diagnosis requires a biopsy, bloodwork, and sometimes even more information.
As your pet gets older, make frequent check-ups at the vet a habit. Dogs are most susceptible to skin tumors in their autumn years. When you consider the weakened immune systems of older dogs, a timely diagnosis may mean the difference between life and death.
It’s kind of a bummer, but unfortunately, your dog won’t tell you about the lumps it has on the skin. Even if they are itchy or painful. The first step to making sure your dog stays alive and healthy for a long time is taking up an interest in their health outside of the annual visit to the veterinarian. Let checking your dog’s skin for unusual changes become part of your routine. You don’t want to overlook a threat that might have been easily taken care of if uncovered in time.