Finding a lump on your dog can be a scary thing so we are going to look at which ones should you worry about and which ones can you ignore!

Lumps and Bumps: Part One

Benign Tumours of the skin.

There are many different types of tumours that occur in the dog. So we are going start this month by looking at the most common benign tumours that occur in the skin.


As in humans, a virus (papilloma virus) is responsible for the formation of warts in the dog. They are generally single growths on the skin, in young dogs specifically around the mouth, genitals and eyes.

They generally are not a problem unless they cause irritation or the dog interferes with them causing bleeding. Surgical removal is the usual treatment.

Sebaceous cysts

A Sebaceous cyst occurs when a pore or hair follicle in your dog’s skin gets clogged. Each pore and hair follicle has oil glands which produce ‘sebu’, the oil that gives your dog a healthy, glossy coat. When the pore clogs up this material becomes trapped and causes a cyst to develop. 

Pores and hair follicles can get clogged for many different reasons including infection, scar tissue being present or the consistency of the ‘sebu ‘being too thick. Sebaceous cysts do not normally cause any problems but if they increase in size rapidly or seem to be irritating your dog, it would be wise to visit your Vet
Do not be tempted to squeeze your dog’s sebaceous cyst!


These are fatty lumps, which are often seen, in obese dogs. They are usually well-defined tumours and do not spread to other tissues. 
However, a lipoma should be monitored as they can grow very big, making surgical removal extremely difficult.


Cutaneous histiocytoma

This is a very common tumour that is seen mostly in young dogs of any breed although Boxers and Bull Terriers seem to be more susceptible. The tumour involves the Langerhans cells which form part of the bodies immune system, identifying foreign materials that may cause a threat to the body such as pollens, viruses, bacteria etc. It is then dispatched to other immune system cells, which react to protect the body.

Although theses tumours can be fast growing they often disappear by themselves after a few months or can be successfully removed surgically.

What should you do if you find a lump on your dog?

If you find a lump on your dog you should get your Vet to check it out. Your vet can perform a needle aspirate, which will allow him/her to look at the cells of the tumour under the microscope and determine what type of tumour it is. Your vet will then be able to advise what the best course of action should be. If your vet is concerned that the lump may be cancerous he/she may suggest that a biopsy be taken, this sample of the tumour can then be examined by an expert histopathologist.

Most of the tumours described above can be successfully removed surgically. But even if your vet decides no treatment is necessary it is advisable to keep a close eye on your pet’s lump, as things can change over time. Harmless lumps can become ulcerated or begin to cause discomfort.

Next month we are going to look at the baddies, the malignant tumours that can occur in your dog.

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