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By Dr. Amy Lightstone
There are numerous causes for lumps and bumps on our pets. Some can be very minor, while others may be more concerning. Insect bites, trauma, plugged hair follicles, cysts, benign growths, and cancerous growths are all reasons you might find pet lumps. Here are a few important things to look out for.
Small, slow-growing and non-painful bumps are typically less concerning than fast-growing, large, or painful lumps. Soft, mobile masses are usually also less worrisome than hard, firmly attached masses. For example, if you notice a small wart-like growth on your pet’s skin that is not rapidly growing, monitor its size and progression before rushing to your veterinarian.
Sometimes, we don’t realize how much a lump has grown when we see our pets every day. It’s helpful to take a picture of the pet lumps or masses. Take a picture every couple of weeks to compare how much growth has occurred.
Rapid-growing swellings on the face can be from abscesses, allergic reactions, lymph nodes, salivary gland issues, cysts, and some cancers. The best way to determine what is causing your pet’s lump is a thorough physical exam and samples from the growth itself. Go to the vet straight away if your pet has swelling on their face, especially if it seems to have doubled in size overnight.
Veterinarians will commonly start by performing something called a fine needle aspirate. It’s when a few cells are sucked into a needle from the growth, then spread on a slide to be looked at under a microscope. This procedure is often able to determine if a mass is worrisome. In some cases, a larger tissue sample or biopsy is needed to determine the cause of a mass. Biopsies usually require sedation or anesthesia order to take a small surgical sample from the mass.
If you find a mass on your pet, jump on the Fuzzy app and chat with one of our team. At the end of the day, the only way to determine the cause of pet lumps is by taking samples from it and looking at them under a microscope. We can help guide you on whether your pet needs to be seen urgently and give you instructions to monitor the area.