Lumps, Bumps, Cysts & Growths on Dogs

6 min read




Since every type of cell in the body potentially could become cancerous, the varieties of tumors that can develop in dogs are numerous. Each case needs to be evaluated based on its own circumstances, but treatment recommendations for lumps and bumps typically include one or more of the following. 



An important basic tool for eliminating a nuisance or dangerous lump is to surgically excise it.



Medications that are highly toxic to rapidly dividing cells are an important mode of treatment for cancers that are present in multiple locations within the body. Chemotherapy is often employed as an additional procedure after a mass has been removed via surgery but has a high likelihood of having metastasized.



For invasive tumors that do not have well-defined borders or are in a location that makes surgery difficult, radiation therapy can be an excellent option. Radiation therapy is available at most veterinary medical schools and some veterinary specialists in radiology. Radiation therapy may be employed in combination with other treatments.



Emerging techniques such as gene therapy and immunotherapy hold promise for offering new ways to combat some types of tumors in dogs. Your veterinarian may be able to put you in touch with veterinary scientists who are looking for patients to enroll in clinical trials.


According to Dr. Dubielzig, the best approach to treating lumps or bumps in dogs is to be observant and treat each situation individually. "In cases where vigilance for tumors is part of the animal’s care, such as in animals where a malignant tumor has been removed and the veterinarian wishes to keep abreast of the stage of disease, then every lump should be submitted for histopathology," Dubielzig said. "In other cases where the clinician is sure of a benign diagnosis such as lipoma or a wart-like skin mass, then it might be understandable to use discretion."


Take a good surface inventory of your dog today, and at least once a month from now on. If you find any lumps or bumps, take heart in knowing that modern veterinary medicine has some very effective remedies for many of the masses that are commonly diagnosed in dogs.