Lumps and Bumps in Dogs and Cats: What They Mean and What to Do

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You find a strange lump on your beloved fur baby during a cuddle session. Yikes – what do you do?! First: DO NOT PANIC! Second: Read on for some of the kinds of lumps and bumps in companion animals, when to worry (spoiler alert: you don’t – let your vet do the worrying for you), and what to do about them.

Lumps and bumps in dogs and cats are not uncommon, and there are multiple kinds of them – many of which are benign. So:

  • Understanding the common kinds of lumps and bumps,
  • knowing when to seek veterinary care, and
  • helping prevent lumps by supporting overall health with proper supplementation,

can help ensure your pet remains healthy and happy – and you remain calm.

10 Most Common Lumps and Bumps in Dogs and Cats

1. Lipomas

Lipomas – benign fatty lumps or tumors – are quite common in older dogs and cats. They are usually soft, you can feel them move under the skin, and they aren’t causing any pain. Given that most lipomas are harmless, removing them surgically is only necessary when they are big enough to cause your furry love discomfort, impede normal movement, or disrupt their bodily functions. Check with your vet.

2. Abscesses

Commonly caused by an infection from a bite or a scratch, an abscess is basically a lumpy pocket of pus that can swell and become painful. An abscess does require veterinary attention, so go.

3. Sebaceous cysts

A sebaceous cyst is a blocked oil gland that looks like a pimple. When it bursts, a white, pasty substance will come out. A sebaceous cyst can become infected, so if you see one, then it is worth a visit to your vet.

4. Warts

Warts – also called papillomas – are more common in a younger animal and in an animal with a weakened immune system. Often found in the mouth or on the skin of young dogs, warts are usually harmless and often resolve on their own.

5. Mast cell tumors

A mast cell tumor is one of the most common skin cancers in dogs – it can be benign, or it can be malignant and aggressive. Some mast cell tumors present as a raised bump either on or just beneath the skin’s surface – others can appear red, ulcerated, bleeding, or swollen. It might stay the same size for months or even years, or it could grow rapidly over the course of a few weeks or even days. But: however this particular type of lump presents, it is important to seek veterinary help.

6. Histiocytomas

A histiocytoma is a benign skin tumor commonly found in young dogs. Although unsightly, a histiocytoma usually resolves without treatment. Unless it is very large, painful, or interfering with your fur baby’s daily activities, your vet might recommend leaving it to heal up on its own without the need for surgical intervention.

7. Basal cell tumors

A basal cell tumor can sometimes be benign, but it can sometimes be malignant – basal cell tumors are most common in older cats. These tumors generally present as firm, solitary, often hairless lumps almost anywhere on the body. Check with your vet for advice if you find one of these.

8. Melanomas

More common in dogs than cats, melanomas can be benign or malignant. Most malignant melanomas appear as raised lumps and/or open sores that are often dark in color. They are also quite common on the lips or in the mouth – in which case they appear as dark to light gray or as raised pink lumps. Get to your vet ASAP.

9. Squamous cell carcinomas

These are typically malignant and are more common in cats and short-haired dogs who spend lots of time outdoors. They are usually found in areas that have minimal hair. They are firm, raised, and sometimes ulcerated, and they tend to grow outward into large lumps with a cauliflower-like growth. Once again, if you see one of these, then it’s time to visit the vet.

10. Fibrosarcomas

These are malignant tumors that arise from the animal’s fibrous connective tissues. Fibrosarcomas typically manifest as a single, firm lump or bump on or beneath the skin of a dog or cat. These tumors can develop on the head, neck, trunk, limbs, and even between the toes. It’s also possible to find multiple lumps in the same area. Whether solitary or multiple, the affected region can swell and become painful. A vet will need to take a look.

Importance of Veterinary Assessment

Regardless of your own assessment, your first port of call when finding a new lump or bump in your cat or dog should always be your vet. They have the right tools, procedures, and techniques to correctly determine whether or not your fur kid’s lump or bump is benign or malignant, and, importantly, what to do from there.

How You Can Help

Prevention is, of course, always better than cure. But where to start? Having robust immune health is your pet’s first line of natural defense against the development of cancerous cells.

Adding the right nutritional supplements to your dog or cat’s diet can make a huge difference in naturally supporting healthy immune system function and promoting healthy aging – and a future free of lumps and bumps:

  • ThorneVet’s Immune Support Formula provides vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals, a glandular, and Coenzyme Q10 – all of which optimize a companion animal’s immune health.
  • ThorneVet’s Longevity Complex is a powerhouse of ingredients that balance the animal’s inflammatory processes, reduce oxidative stress, and promote a longer, healthier, and happier life for both dogs and cats.
  • ThorneVet’s Hemp Tincture is a certified organic hemp oil that supports overall healthy immune function by moderating your dog’s or cat’s response to stress and tension, pain and discomfort, GI distress, and uncomfortable skin conditions.

Although not all bumps and lumps are cause for alarm, it is essential to stay vigilant. So, prioritize immune support with ThorneVet, and if you do find a suspicious bumpy bit, then remember this: get it looked at sooner rather than later! Early detection and treatment of a malignant tumor significantly improves your fur baby’s prognosis.

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