There are many different kinds of lumps that dogs can develop. Some can occur in places that aren’t obvious like inside the chest or abdomen, and others can cause visual changes. Bony tumors may start out as having slight swelling in places, and skin tumors are probably the most obvious.
Lipomas are tumors that form fromadipose or fatty tissue. These are one of the most common tumors that can form in dogs. Middle-aged and older dogs are more likely to develop them, and lipomas are a benign type of growth. These typically appear as soft, movable, and well-demarcated subcutaneous tumors. Surgery is only necessary if the growth is in a problematic area or if it becomes too big for your pup to move or rest comfortably. A small subset of these can be malignant (liposarcomas) and so testing is necessary for confirmation.
Dogs can develop warts as well. These are typically caused by a papilloma virus which is not transmissible to humans, and they can occur in dogs of all ages. Warts are especially common in young dogs because of their weakened immune systems. Papillomatous warts may occur around the eyes, mouth, genitals, or other parts of the body. Many will regress after one to two months but some may require surgery to remove them, especially if there are too many or if any become ulcerated and infected.
Sebaceous cysts originate from your dog’s hair follicles. Because they affect the oil-secreting glands in your dog’s skin, many of them secrete a white liquid or waxy debris that almost has a “whitehead” appearance. They can rupture and become infected. Like many other types of skin cysts, these are benign and surgical removal is highly curative.
If you’ve heard of the term hemangiosarcoma, you might think of how this kind of tumor affects internal organs like the liver, heart, and spleen in dogs. When dealing withcutaneoushemangiosarcomas, they are less aggressive. It is true that they have the possibility to metastasize, but the risk is much lower compared to its internally-located cousin. Cutaneous hemangiosarcomas look like purple-colored blood blisters that can open and bleed. Surgical removal is also curative.
Mast cell tumors are one of the worst types of bumps that your pup can develop. They usually have around, reddened, smooth appearance and occur on top of the skin (dermally) instead of below the skin (subcutaneously). However, mast cell tumors are also referred to as “great pretenders” because they can look like many of the benign growths mentioned above. Mast cell tumors have a very high risk of metastasis, which is why early testing is critical. Deep and wide surgical margins are necessary for treatment, but if these margins are not achievable (e.g. around tight areas like the limbs or around the head), then additional therapies like chemotherapy and radiation will be necessary for treatment.