We keep your pet healthy throughout your cat or dog’s life. Annual, and six-month checkups, parasite prevention, and lab work are all done at the right times to keep your pet healthy and happy. At the annual checkup, we will check your pet’s weight, diet, and teeth. We also check eyes, ears, heart, lungs, abdomen, neurological status, and urogenital and musculoskeletal systems. These moments are also a great time for us to look for anything unusual on your pet. Of course, you may find something in between visits.

If you do find a lump on your pet, it’s important not to panic. Just know that you can always call us and schedule an appointment. 

Here’s what you need to know about masses in pets:

Common masses found on pets

  • Lipomas — These fatty tumors are typically benign. Once identified, we’ll monitor the growth over time. If they grow quickly, we may recommend surgical removal.
  • Skin tags or cysts — Small skin tags and cysts are usually benign, but if they grow large or cause discomfort or pain, surgical removal may be recommended.
  • Histiocytomas — These are abnormal, benign growths of immune cells in the skin. They can appear overnight and can be bright red with a bubbled surface. Histiocytomas will sometimes disappear on their own, but sometimes require surgical removal.
  • Malignant tumors —  Any number of tumors can be cancerous, including squamous cell carcinomas, osteosarcomas, mast cell tumors, mammary tumors, lymphoma, and more.

To identify the mass on your pet, we’ll perform diagnostic testing, which may include a fine-needle aspirate (using a small needle to gather a sample of cells from the mass so they can be examined under a microscope), a biopsy, X-rays, an ultrasound, or blood work. Once the mass has been identified, we’ll develop a treatment plan.

What to do if you find a lump on your pet

If you feel a lump on your pet, don’t panic. While it can be frightening, you need to stay calm and follow these steps:

  1. Pinpoint the location of the mass. If your pet’s fur is thick or long, it may be difficult to find the lump again, so be sure to note exactly where the lump is and take a photo.
  2. Make an appointment with our hospital. If the mass is cancerous, identifying it as early as possible is important.
  3. Measure the mass and monitor its growth. If the lump grows quickly, even if it’s benign, we may recommend removing it surgically.
  4. Monitor your pet’s behavior. Is he eating and drinking normally? Does the lump seem to cause pain or discomfort? Is he scratching it? Is it bleeding or oozing? If you notice changes in your pet’s behavior or if the mass seems to be causing discomfort, call our office.