You may notice a new mass or tumor while petting your dog or cat, or it could be something that your vet discovers during a routine checkup.
In some cases, these masses are nothing to worry about. However, your pet developing a mass or tumor can be the sign of a serious medical condition that requires a veterinarian’s attention.
Types of Tumors Found in Pets
Some common types of tumors found in pets include:
- Mast cell tumors: This is the most common type of skin tumor. It can be red and itchy, and may grow quickly.
- Lipomas: A common benign fatty tumor that can be soft and movable under the skin.
- Osteosarcoma: This is a type of bone cancer that often affects larger breeds of dogs on the legs and, sometimes, the spine.
- Histiocytoma: This tumor is usually benign and appears small, red, raised, and hairless. Histiocytomas are common in very young dogs.
- Hemangiosarcoma: This cancer of the blood cells is commonly found on the spleen, or it can develop in a pet’s skin or heart.
- Melanoma: This skin cancer is typically black or brown pigmented. Melanoma can range from benign to aggressive, depending on the area where it’s located and whether it has metastasized to other areas of your pet’s body.
- Lymphoma: Cancer of the lymph nodes. Signs of lymphoma include a loss of appetite, lethargy, coughing, and swollen lymph nodes. Your pet may have swelling behind the shoulders, knees, or under the jaw.
- Papilloma: These benign cauliflower-like warts can be uncomfortable or problematic for your pet. A virus causes the warts to transmit from one pet to another from direct contact, bedding, or other objects.
Diagnosing a Tumor on Your Pet
The first step to understanding a new mass you’ve found on your pet is a vet exam and any diagnostic testing that may be required.
In most cases, a mass you’ve found on your pet is not an emergency, but it is important to call and schedule an appointment with your vet at your earliest convenience.
Your vet will give your pet a thorough physical exam, including examining the area where you noticed the mass. If necessary, other testing may be ordered, including blood tests or ultrasounds.
A biopsy of the tumor may also be required in order to make a complete diagnosis. Your veterinarian will be able to let you know if this step is required for your pet.
What to Expect During Mass Removal
Depending on the type and location of the mass, as well as your pet’s overall health, your veterinarian may recommend surgical removal of the tumor.
During the procedure, your pet will be anesthetized and your veterinarian will monitor oxygen saturation with pulse oximetry, blood pressure, breathing rate, respiratory rate, heart rate, and body temperature.
Your pet’s incision will be closed with sutures, often in multiple layers. The sutures may be absorbable, meaning they will break down on their own and be absorbed by your pet’s body, or non-absorbable, requiring a return visit to get the sutures removed.
After your pet’s mass is removed, your veterinarian likely will send it to a diagnostic laboratory for evaluation and further treatment recommendations.
Following the surgery, it’s normal for your pet to be groggy and slow for a day or two as they come down from the anesthesia. If you suspect your pet is in pain or seems unusually lethargic, call your veterinarian for recommendations.
You will receive specific guidelines for post-operative care for your pet, including recommended rest, how to change any dressings, and other instructions. It’s important that you follow these guidelines so your pet heals thoroughly and doesn’t have any further complications.
Tumor Diagnosis & Removal for Pets in Frederick, MD
Your pet’s health is our top priority! If you notice that your pet has new lumps or bumps, or you feel something may be off with their health, contact us for an appointment. Our team of skilled veterinary professionals will examine your pet and get them the treatment they deserve. Call today!