What to Make of Lumps and Bumps on Your Pet’s Skin

When you find something abnormal on your beloved pet, it can be an anxiety-ridden moment. Is that a tick? A wart? Cancer? Or was it always there?

When it comes to lumps and bumps on your pet’s skin, Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care doesn’t expect you to have all the answers, that’s why we’re here!  

You can rely on us to help you know when to call us, when to relax, and what to do when it comes to pet lumps and bumps.

The Possibilities are Endless

There are many causes of lumps and bumps on the skin. We commonly see lesions caused by:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Parasites
  • Granuloma formation (reaction to foreign objects)
  • Abscesses
  • Benign tumors like warts and lipomas (fatty growths)
  • Cysts
  • Neoplasia

Even to the trained eye of our veterinary staff, it isn’t always possible to know which it might be just by looking.

When we see a pet with a new lump or bump, the affected area is assessed for location, size, shape, and physical characteristics. This helps to determine the most likely diagnosis and record the spot in the medical record.

Many times a test called a fine needle aspirate (FNA) will be recommended. In this procedure a small needle is introduced into the lump or bump to obtain a microscopic sample of cells in the area. This can help us to identify infection, inflammation, and may even reveal cancerous cells.

A FNA only yields a small, focal sample however, so it does not always give us an exact answer, nor can it rule out cancer entirely. A surgical biopsy (histopathology) is often recommended if a lump or bump is worrisome based on characteristics or FNA. Sometimes surgical excision and biopsy is warranted for seemingly benign growths as well due to excessive size or location in an irritating or cumbersome area.

Histopathology helps to give us more information about what the growth was, if it is likely to come back, if it was all successfully removed, and what other treatments might be needed. It can also help to give a more accurate prognosis.

Lumps and Bumps and When to Worry

It can be very hard to know which lumps and bumps are ominous and which are harmless, even to a trained eye. Of course, if you rushed your pet in for every tiny blemish, we would be seeing a lot of you. So when do you need to get your pet in and when can it wait?

We recommend examining your pet as soon as possible if:

  • The lesion is growing, changing, or spreading
  • The lump/bump is painful or firm
  • The skin is red or irritated
  • The bumps if bleeding or has discharge
  • Your pet has a history of cancer
  • Your pet is a high-risk breed (short coated breeds such as boxers, pugs, and pit bulls are prone to skin cancer)

It is never wrong for us to examine a new lump or bump. While they are not all an emergency, they all should be looked at in a timely fashion. Some seemingly innocuous growths can be serious, and when it comes to cancer time is essential.

Give us a call to make an appointment if you have any doubts at all about whether something should wait. No matter what the lump or bump turns out to be, acting quickly often helps us to deliver the best prognosis and get your pet back to normal as soon as possible.

An Invaluable Asset: Baseline Blood Work for Pets

When we suggest doing blood work on a healthy pet that has been brought to us for vaccinations and a wellness exam, we are often met with resistance from pet owners.

Animal Medical Hospital wants to assure you that our recommendations are always founded with your pet’s health and best interest at heart. We firmly believe that baseline blood work for pets, even healthy pets, is an important part of proactive pet care.

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What Could be Worse than Canine Flu? Not Much!

Canine influenza, or dog flu, is a highly contagious airborne condition that can affect all dogs regardless of breed, age, or health. Nearly all cases of canine flu result from indoor group, boarding facility, play centers, groomers, and dog parks.

However, with increased owner awareness, stricter policies at shared spaces, and the widespread availability of the canine influenza vaccine, dogs have a greater chance of avoiding this virus.

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What You Need to Know About Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus, also known simply as “parvo,” is a condition that strikes fear in the hearts of dog owners – and for good reason. This highly contagious virus can cause massive amounts of suffering in afflicted pets and is often fatal.

Because parvo is found throughout our environment, all dogs (especially unvaccinated dogs and puppies under 4 months of age) are at risk for contracting the disease. Pet owner education is critical when it comes to preventing this devastating illness.

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Time, Patience, and TLC: Caring for Your Pet After Surgery

Most pets will need at least one surgery during their lifetime, and their full recovery depends in large part upon the care they receive once they leave the operating table. Depending on their age, overall condition, and the type of surgery performed, there will be specific requirements for at-home and follow-up care.

At Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care, we do our part to make sure your pet receives the best care possible and that you have everything you need to support your pet during their recovery. How you care for your pet after surgery plays an enormous role in how quickly they bounce back after any procedure, big or small.  

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Understanding Food Allergies in Pets

Having a pet with itchy skin can be extremely frustrating, especially if your pet is scratching or licking to the point of developing sores, bald spots, or other injuries. Getting to the bottom of why your pet is so itchy and coming up with a treatment plan is extremely important for their continued health and well being.

Allergies to pollen, dust, mold, chemicals, and food are common among animals. Although food allergies in pets are less prevalent, your veterinarian can help you determine whether or not this could be an issue for your furry companion.

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Spotlight on Pet Dental Care: Do Pets Really Need Regular Teeth Cleaning?

Of the many things we check during your pet’s routine wellness exam, the health of their teeth and gums ranks pretty high. Even a brief peek inside gives us a basic understanding of their current oral health – and what the future might bring. Without regular teeth cleaning and at-home pet dental care, the animals we love may face serious health risks.

Committing to the Big Picture

Brushing your pet’s teeth might seem like just another chore you can push to the back burner. This is especially true if your pet is opposed to the activity. However, by introducing the act of brushing in a positive way – and rewarding your pet – they’re more likely to believe this is just another act of love on your part (and it is!).  

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Sittin’ Pretty: Pet Grooming at Animal Medical Hospital

Pet grooming supports pet health.

All pets need to be groomed from time to time, and although your pet may not enjoy the process, they probably love the aftermath. At Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care, we believe in the power of pet grooming to support the health and longevity of our animal companions. That’s why we’re proud to offer top-quality pet grooming services right here at our facility.

Keep reading to learn more about why this element of pet care is so important.

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In Case You Missed It: Animal Medical Hospital & 24-Hour Urgent Care’s Top 10 Pet Care Blogs of 2018

If you happened to blink, it might seem like this past year just flew by. Besides taking care of yourself, your career, your family, and your home, spending time with your sweet pets is one of your top priorities. As you head into 2019, follow the example of the Charlotte pet-parents in-the-know and get up to speed by reading Animal Medical Hospital & 24-Hour Urgent Care’s’ top 10 pet care blogs of the year.

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The Ins and Outs of Kennel Cough: Protecting Your Pet

Kennel cough is contagious and a threat to pet health

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… eight dogs a- coughing? If you board your pet with any frequency you probably are aware of kennel cough, a highly contagious disease that can spread rapidly in a kennel environment. If you are planning to board your pet over the holidays, or any time of year, this potentially serious illness should be on your radar.

In this modern era of vaccines and cleanliness, you might wonder why kennel cough is still so prevalent. As always, your team at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care will do our best to answer your questions, and to reassure you that you the power to keep your pet well lies with you!

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