As pets age, they can develop a range of different types of lumps on and under the skin.
These lumps can sometimes be benign (non-aggressive) age-related growths, but unfortunately these can sometimes be cancerous lumps (tumours), and it can sometimes be difficult to tell a benign lump from a potentially “nasty” lump. For this reason, we always recommend getting any new lumps checked by your vet, who will often recommend taking a very small needle sample (fine needle aspirate for cytology) to examine cells from the lump under the microscope. This can often give us clues as to what type of lump it may be. If these results suggest a cancerous lump or are inconclusive, biopsy or removal of the lump may be recommended, and it can then be sent to the lab to determine exactly what type of lump it is.
Particular signs of concerns with any new lumps include:
firm or painful to touch, fixed to underlying tissues (not mobile)
located on an extremity such as the paw or around the face
changes in colour or consistency
bleeding or discharging fluid
if your pet appears very bothered by it (licking and chewing it, etc.)
Ongoing monitoring is always advised, even for lumps that we suspect to be benign, as these can sometimes become quite large and cause physical problems, or occasionally become infected.
If your pet has any new lumps or bumps, arrange a check-up with your vet today!
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