Let’s look at lumps!

One of the common reasons people book their furry friends in to see the vet are to check out their ears, their teeth, and for vaccinations. Another common reason is for lumps! Because we shower our pets in love and are giving them pats and cuddles every day, we tend to be able to pick up anything odd that starts to show up. They can start growing anywhere – from their bodies, to their legs, tails, in their mouths and even on their eyelids!

Have you ever noticed a new lump and weren’t sure what to do? If you have, it’s best not to hit the panic button and just assume the worst! It’s definitely worth booking an appointment to get your pet checked to see if this new lump requires further treatment.

What could the lump be? That’s the textbook question owners ask when they notice a new lump. These new growths could be a couple of things:
• Inflammation – like an insect bite
• Infection – like a tooth-root abscess in their mouth or an abscess from a cat fight wound
• A foreign body – like a grass seed migrating between toes
• A cyst (a fluid filled lump)
• A tumour – these can either be benign (non-cancerous – like a ‘fatty lump’), or malignant (cancerous; can spread around the body)

As we said earlier, it’s best not to always assume the worst, but to be attentive and get your pets checked by a veterinarian when you can.
How do we find out what type of lump it is then? – That’s usually the next question asked by owners. Our veterinarians are very good at diagnosing lumps when they examine them. However, in most cases they will recommend to test the lump to confirm what is causing it. This is done by either
• An in-house slide examination – the vet will take a sample using a fine needle (known as an FNA; Fine Needle Aspirate), and will smearing it onto a slide to be examined under the microscope.
• Surgical biopsy – some lumps requiring more extensive testing, meaning we can only get an answer by removing part or all of the lump and sending it to the laboratory in Adelaide.

So now I know what the lump is – what treatment do we do? The final question to the lump-puzzle! Once the veterinary knows what the lump is, we can proceed with treatment. Some lumps that are benign (like a cyst or a ‘fatty lump’), and only require to be monitored to make sure they don’t grow and begin to annoy our pets.
Abscesses may require to be surgically drained, and will require a course of antibiotics and pain relief to help clear the infection.
Malignant tumours can require various treatments, depending on the type they are. Treatments include surgical removal, cryosurgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or palliative care to keep them comfortable if they lump has progressed too far for treatment.
So, keep an eye out when you next shower your pooch or kitty in love, and when you’re giving them their well-deserved pats, feel for any new lumps or bumps!