What to Do About Lumps and Bumps on Your Pet

Written By Dr. Gary Holfinger

There is a wide variety of reasons for the various lumps/bumps we find on our pets. The mass may be as simple as a wart, or may be an invasive cancer that has already spread to other organs.

The language can be confusing. Abnormal masses may be benign, which means no spread beyond the bump found. Cancerous masses may appear benign, but are either invasive into nearby tissue (much like cancerous moles on people) or are malignant, in which they have spread to other body parts. So the question is simple – how do we know what to do with that surprise bump?

Veterinary cancer specialists (Oncologists) now recommend an awareness program called “See Something; Do Something”. Lumps should be evaluated if the mass is the size of a pea or larger and has been there for one month. At this point we can either biopsy or perform a technique known as a “fine needle aspirate”, which can get a small sample of tissue.

Ignoring a lump can allow it to either grow too large to be removed easily, or can give the tumor time to spread to internal organs such as the lung, liver, or spleen. Early removal is the safest option for such masses, and provide the best chance for a good outcome.