My dog has a lump on his leg, should I be concerned?

cocker_spaniel2Any physical changes or new findings on your pet should be evaluated by your veterinarian to best know if there should be any worry or cause for concern.  Performing a daily body massage and pet inspection can be bonding and revealing for all – this is suggested morning and evening.  Consistency in this evaluation with inspection from nose to tail and head to toes twice daily if possible by one or two members of the family is best.

Questions to be asked when a lump is discovered should better classify the nature of the lump and include:

Is the lump a new finding?  Does it bother your friend?  Is there excessive licking or chewing of the area?  Is it on the skin, in the skin or beneath the skin; is it readily moved with your gentle palpation or does it seem attached to the tissues beneath it and non-mobile; is it raised or flat; red, hot or painful to the touch.

A lump could be something as simple as a benign cyst or lipoma (fatty-like mass), a tick bite (potential of infection of Lyme disease), an abscess (pocket of infection), or a cancerous or malignant type growth i.e. soft tissue sarcoma, Mast Cell Tumor, or melanoma.

Treatment required depends upon the definitive cellular diagnosis of the “lump” – a “look see” cannot tell one for certain.  There may be no treatment required, topical medication or minor lumpectomy to more aggressive excision (surgical removal) with possible chemotherapy or radiation therapy, (in some cases of malignancy or cancer).

A lump which causes no lameness or irritation does not rule out the possibility of a malignancy or cancer and should not be dismissed.

If a lump is discovered on your friend and it is not causing lameness or discomfort, please schedule an appointment with your family veterinarian sooner than later for evaluation, consult, and formulation of a plan to further define the lump so that the most accurate treatment can be provided.  Should the lump seem uncomfortable to your pet, begins to bleed or seems to be “ballooning” before your eyes, please pursue exam, immediate care and a plan on an emergency basis for your friend as soon as possible.

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