While there are certainly many health issues that we can prevent our pet from encountering, there are also some physical changes that are difficult to avoid, but are not cause for alarm. One such physical change is the emergence of growths on your pet’s body.
As your beloved pet grows and ages, they are bound to develop a skin tag, sebaceous cyst, wart, tumor or fatty mass–or some combination of the above. The simple explanation for this is that our pet’s skin ages just as our skin ages, with disruptions of what once may have been described as beautiful flawlessness. So before you become alarmed about any new growths on your pet’s body and rush to have them removed, take a moment to learn about the different kinds of lumps and bumps that can develop on your pet, including which ones are actually cause for concern.
The Different Lumps and Bumps on Your Pet
Part of your responsibility as a pet owner is to frequently check your pet’s body for abnormalities by performing a thorough “head-to-tail” check with your hands moving over every area of their body. Not only will your pet enjoy this contact, care and attention, but you may very well detect things that can be more rapidly and easily resolved if caught early on–such as ticks hiding in the ear or under the legs, sores or other wounds, areas of discomfort and lumps or bumps on the body. It’s very true that whenever you notice changes to your pet’s body, you should contact your veterinarian to have these changes examined and evaluated. But before you frantically pack your pet into the car for a late-night trip to the emergency vet’s office, take a moment to consider the following points:
- Sometimes what feels like a lump or bump is just an insect bite or scab. If you feel something odd, part your pet’s hair and look more closely as needed to determine whether it truly is a new and unidentified lump or bump.
- Sebaceous cysts or pimples can form very rapidly, even during the night or over the course of the day while you’re at work. These types of lumps or bumps are rarely so serious that they require emergency action. Simply place a call to your veterinarian’s office the next day to schedule an appointment and have your pet checked out.
- Abcesses and boils do occasionally require emergency action, but even then taking your pet to the veterinary clinic within twenty-four hours should be sufficient in many cases. If your pet seems uncomfortable, is not acting like their normal self or the lump or bump seems to be growing or changing rapidly, do contact your veterinarian immediately. If they are out of the office it may be best to contact your emergency veterinary clinic, even if only to get advice or reassurance over the phone.
If your veterinarian is uncertain about the origin or nature of the lump or bump, they may perform a fine needle aspirate. They will insert a needle into the growth to extract cells which can be sent to a pathologist for evaluation. If the result indicates the cells are benign and the growth does not seem to bother your pet, the best advice is to simply leave it alone. However, if the result indicates the cells are benign but the growth is clearly irritating your pet, and certainly if the cells are malignant, the best advice is to remove it as soon as possible.
The removal of abnormal growths or masses on a pet’s skin is called a lumpectomy. During this procedure, the veterinarian will administer anesthesia to your pet to ensure their comfort and safety. Then, using surgical techniques, they will remove the lump and some surrounding tissue. This is to help ensure that any affected tissue has been eradicated and the lump will not simply reform after surgery.
Following the lumpectomy, your pet will require careful observance and aftercare in order to achieve a smooth and full recovery. Your veterinarian will provide you with full post-operative instructions and advise you to contact them immediately should you have any questions or concerns.
For more information about growth removal, contact La Crosse today.