As a pet owner, stroking your dog or cat is probably something you do often and quite happily. Most likely, you know your pet pretty well and would notice anything unusual, like a lump that wasn’t there before.
If that happens, you’ll probably react with concern and fear. That’s probably a good reaction to have because that will spur you on to take your pet to the vet’s for a check-up.
Sometimes, lumps or bumps will turn out to be minor and require just a little treatment, or none at all. But the lump could also be a cancerous tumor that will require surgery to remove and possibly additional care like chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
I FOUND A LUMP! NOW WHAT?
The first step is to take your pet to the veterinarian. The doctor can examine your pet and take a look at the lump, and decide the next course of action based on knowledge and clinical experience.
WHAT IS THAT LUMP?
A lump can be a fat deposit (lipoma), an injury (like a bite or scratch) that has become infected, a plugged gland or hair follicle, a cyst, wart, or a benign or cancerous tumor. The vet will first visually examine the lump to help identify what it is. Some of the things
they will note is the size, shape, texture, whether it seems to cause your pet discomfort or pain, and if fluid or blood is coming out of it.
WHAT WILL THE VET DO NEXT?
In many instances, the vet will take a sample of tissue using a needle and syringe. Or, the vet might remove a piece of the lump or the whole thing. The sample will then be evaluated to determine what the lump is and what should be done about it.
Following diagnosis of the sample, the vet will recommend a course of action such as more tests, or complete removal of the lump. What you and your vet decide to do will take into account what the lump is, if it’s harmful or harmless, and your pet’s general health and age.
The best thing you can do for your pet and for your peace of mind is to take the time to examine your pet regularly, moving your hands gently over his/her head all the way down to his/her toes and back to the tail. Take a look into his/her mouth, as lumps can also appear on the lips or gums.
Our pets can’t talk to us, so it’s up to us to be observant and take quick action when something is amiss.