Bumps, Lumps, Growths and Cysts on Your Dog

Bumps, Lumps, Growths and Cysts on Your Dog


Spotting a lump or bump on your dog's head is one of the worst ways to ruin the affectionate mood you were in when petting your pooch. You're immediately concerned if it's a cancerous tumor and try to consult your vet at the earliest. To calm yourself down a little, think about this – less than half the bumps found on dogs are malignant or cancerous. Let's take a closer look at these lumps, bumps and more to better deal with the situation.

Different types of lumps

There are various kinds of bumps and lumps on dogs with different causes and consequences. Some of them are:

  • Warts – These are caused by an infection and are present around the mouth. Younger dogs are more prone to them but they sometimes occur in older dogs as well. While they go away naturally in younger dogs, older ones might need surgery.

  • Sebaceous cyst – Cysts look like pimples are a result of blocked oil glands. When they burst, a thick, pasty substance is released.

  • Fatty tumors – These are the most common types of bumps and lumps you see. They are considered to be a normal part of aging and are present in older dogs. Overweight dogs from larger breeds are more prone to them. There is nothing to worry about unless the lumps are painful for your pet.

  • Mast Cell tumors – The most common type of skin cancer in dogs. Certain breeds like boxers, labradors and terriers are more prone to them.

The difference between a malignant or cancerous lump and other types of lumps is that malignant lumps spread rapidly and metastasize. Other lumps and bumps usually stay in one place and do not metastasize.


If you believe that your dog is sick, take him/her to the vet to get checked out. Vets will usually ask you questions about the lump and then perform a variety of tests to determine the cause of the lumps. Needle biopsies are the most common methods where the vet injects a tiny needle and extracts a tiny sample for examination. The sample consists of cells from within the lump and is placed on a glass slide for further examination. CT scans are also performed in the case of malignant tumors. CT scans and X-rays are often performed when there is a suspicion of internal masses and organ damage. If the tumor is deemed to be harmful or cancerous, surgery is performed to remove it. Alternately, for cancerous masses chemotherapy and radiation are suggested. Owners can also look into experimental procedures after doing adequate research.

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