Few things in life are as scary as finding a lump on your dog. Immediately your mind will jump to worst case scenario and the “C” word will inevitably creep into your thoughts. So if you do find a lump, try to stay calm, and call your veterinarian to make an appointment to have it investigated.
Before you get to the office it is helpful to document the location and size of the lump. It may be helpful to draw a circle on the fur with a sharpie marker or shave off the hair where the lump is. It is amazing how many lumps cannot be found once the owner is in the office. Documenting the size with a ruler can be very helpful for your veterinarian when it comes time to decide whether or not the lump should be removed.
Once at the office the doctor will likely ask you how long the lump has been there and then examine your dog to look for other lumps on their body. A next step is to perform a needle aspirate of the lump that the doctor will look at under the microscope to try to determine what the lump is and how they should proceed with treatment. If the doctor cannot accurately determine what the lump is they will either make a recommendation to send the slide to a pathologist (a doctor that evaluates cells and tissues microscopically all the time) or they may recommend having the mass removed and sent in for testing.
There are so many different types of lumps that dogs can get – most of them are benign, but some of them are malignant. Approaching each lump with care and caution will help to keep your dog healthy and cancer free.