I felt a lump on my dog – Should I worry?

  • Published
  • By Capt. Christina Elder, DVM

In November we take time to bring awareness to cancer in pets. Cancer is a scary and sad topic, but I’m going to give you easy to follow advice to stay on top of your pet’s health. With any cancer, early detection and removal could add years to your pet’s life.

My rules of thumb for any new lump to get checked on your pet are:

-The lump is bigger than the size of a pea

-The lump has doubled in size in a month

If either of these are true, bring your pet in to get the lump aspirated. What this means is I would take a needle to the mass to gain a small sample, spread it on a slide, and look under the microscope to see what cells the lump is made out of. We are lucky at our military clinic, because we have a lab that reads these slides or biopsies free of charge – you just pay the shipping. This is a small price to pay to have peace of mind for what is growing under your pet’s skin.

Most of the time, surgical removal is recommended for any mass. This is MUCH easier to do if the lump is smaller in size and has not progressed too far. We are more than happy to take a look at your pet to determine if surgery is a viable option if you are worried about any lump.

I also want to empower you to be a true cancer detective. If your pet has had a lump in the past, or is starting to develop them, do a ‘lumps and bumps’ check once a month to detect any new masses brewing. Feel every furry surface for any changes. If anything, your pet will like a nice rub down once a month!

So why wait? Aspirate!

Captain Christina Elder is the Army veterinarian working for the Offutt AFB Veterinary Treatment Facility. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for your pet, please call the clinic at 402-294-6141. The clinic is open Monday-Friday from 0800-1600 (closed from 1200-1300 for lunch). Appointments are available for any active duty or retired military personnel.

We hope to see you and your furry friend soon!