Written by Michael W. Miller, DVM
Finding a new bump on your pet can be alarming. Instead of jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst, it's important to remain calm and take the necessary steps to determine what this growth could be. Here are some important tips for pet owners to follow when they find a new lump on their dog or cat.
- Schedule an appointment for Fine Needle Aspirate testing
One option when you find a new bump on your pet is to schedule an appointment for a doctor exam and fine needle aspirate (FNA) testing. An FNA is a simple and non-invasive procedure where a small needle - the same kind used to administer a vaccine - is inserted into the growth to collect a sample of cells. The sample is then examined under a microscope to determine if the mass is dangerous or benign. This can give us valuable information on whether further treatment is necessary and what the prognosis may be. The general guideline from veterinary oncologists (pet cancer specialists) is that we should perform an FNA on any mass larger than the size of a pea.
- Schedule surgical removal of the bump
If the bump is growing or changing quickly, or if the FNA results indicate that the lump is suspicious, the veterinarian may recommend “mass removal surgery” as the next step. “Mass” is the medical term for an unknown growth or bump. Surgery can help to remove the mass completely and prevent it from spreading to other areas of the body. The mass can then be sent to a pathologist at the lab to determine whether it is cancerous and if any additional treatment is required.
- Continue to monitor the mass at home for concerning changes
If the mass is smaller than a pea or if the FNA results indicate that the mass is benign, it's important to continue to monitor your pet for any concerning changes. This includes monitoring the size and shape of the mass, as well as any changes in your pet's behavior or overall health. If you notice any new or concerning changes, it's important to get that bump checked out right away. If we have already examined the bump, you are always welcome to text or email us a photo when you see concerning changes so that we can see what you are seeing to determine if we need to intervene.
In conclusion, finding a new bump on your pet can be scary, but it's important to take the necessary steps to determine the nature of the mass and develop a plan for treatment. By scheduling an appointment for FNA testing, scheduling surgical removal if necessary, or continuing to monitor the mass at home, you can help ensure the health and wellbeing of your pet. Always remember that we are here to help to develop the best plan of action for your pet's unique needs.
If your pet has a new bump that you would like to get checked out, please contact us for an appointment.