Hello everyone, CEO Olivia reporting. Recently my huMom noticed a small lump on my shoulder. It’s like a small, firm yet squishy bump. At first huMom thought I had bruised myself but it didn’t go away. I did some sniffing about & uncovered what this lump might be.
First thing I sniffed out is that finding a lump on or under your good dog’s skin is not that uncommon. A veterinarian would refer to the lump as a skin mass or skin tumor. These lumps can go unnoticed for weeks or months on a good dog with thick fur. Often they are discovered during a bath. In my case, I have short, light colored fur & I’m kinda muscular so it stood out on my shoulder.
These masses can either be benign, in which case there is no concern for spread, or they can be malignant, meaning there is a risk of it spreading within the body, it is therefore important to know a few simple things to look out for.
If you notice any unusual lumps on your good dog, it’s a good idea to have your veterinarian take a look. Your vet will likely do a test called a ‘fine needle aspirate.’ The veterinarian will use a syringe & needle to collect cells from the lump, which are then sent to a veterinary pathology lab where technicians will determine what type of cells are present.
Your veterinarian may also suggest a ‘biopsy’ of the mass. This is where a small sample of the mass is removed using a scalpel or a round punch biopsy tool. Biopsies generally give more information than fine needle aspirates since a large cross section of tissue can be collected. They are not necessary in every case & heavy sedation or general anesthetic is required.
The most common lumps on good dogs are:
Lipoma: These are usually moderately soft, round masses made up of fat cells located under normal looking skin. They are usually movable & slow growing. Lipomas are benign fat cells, and can be left alone if they are not bothering your good dog.
Sebaceous cysts: These small hairless masses grow out from the skin & appear wart like. Cysts are usually benign but can be irritating or become infected.
Mast Cell Tumors: These tumors can take on a variety of appearances both on & below the skin—from looking like a small ulcerated bump on the skin, to a larger mass that changes in size or color. Mast cell tumors are malignant & can spread to other parts of the body. If a mast cell tumor is diagnosed in your dog, your vet will likely discuss options, usually surgical removal including surrounding tissue. A pathologist at a veterinary lab will then examine the tissue to determine how likely it is to spread or reoccur.
My Vet is aware of my lump. It seems to just be a Lipoma but huMom will be keeping an eye on it & should it change, I’ll be off to have it examined closer.
CEO Olivia ❤