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How I Treat Canine Lumps and Bumps

Lumps and bumps fall into the top 10 list of reasons pet parents take their dogs to the veterinarian. When do skin growths warrant a closer look by your vet, and is there any way to prevent them? Here's how I diagnose and treat canine lumps and bumps, including my top two rules.

dog lumps and bumps


  • Lumps and bumps are very common in dogs, especially seniors; these growths typically fall into one of four broad categories
  • Most growths are benign, however, if you notice a lump or bump on your pet that is changing in size or appearance, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian; lumps and bumps are diagnosed via fine needle aspiration, biopsy, fluid cytology, and blood tests
  • A fine needle aspirate is almost always my choice, because we can’t know what's going on inside a mass unless we extract cells from it for analysis; my approach is to perform fine need aspiration on all suspicious growths to determine what types of cells are involved and whether surgery is warranted
  • My policy is to remove only cancerous growths and those that are compromising a pet’s mobility or quality of life
  • There are steps you can take as a pet parent to help your dog avoid skin growths throughout life

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