Finding a lump on your favorite animal can be quite scary. However, more often than not, it's not going a cancerous growth. Most cases of lumps and bumps are minor malfunctions in one system or another. Still, you should find out what's going on with your pet as soon as possible.

What Causes Lumps and Bumps

The lump(s) you're feeling when you stroke your pet could be caused by several situations, from food or parasitic allergies to fat deposits or in-grown hairs. Most lumps, though, aren't an immediate cause for panic. As uncomfortable as you may be with any sort of growth on your beloved pet, the bump isn't likely to be something life-threatening.

Types of Lumps Your Pet May Be Dealing With

Even though the lump on your pet probably isn't a serious threat to their health, you will need to have a clinical evaluation conducted at an animal hospital to determine the source of the lump and the best course of action. Here is a list of lump types:

  • Follicular: Involving the hair and duct systems.
  • True cysts: Normally situated in sweat glands and more likely to require removal.
  • Dermoid: A rare cyst present before birth, which usually contains genetic matter.
  • Sebaceous: Also related to hair follicles, these bumps are close to the surface and more apt to be infected.
  • False cysts: As implied by their name, these cysts contain old tissue leftover after an injury, forming a lump, but not a cyst.

Even if your pet is older and displaying common symptoms of age, the possibility does exist that a lump could be more problematic than cosmetic. It's important to first rule out something more serious, even if it's not as likely as other outcomes.

How Your Vet Will Handle The Situation

Depending on the size and location of the lump or cyst, along with other characteristics, your vet may recommend a needle biopsy. This procedure draws matter from within the bump, which is then sent to a lab to accurately categorize it as benign or not. Also, if the lump is expected to interfere with your pet's ability to eat, drink and go about a normal daily routine, the vet would likely want to remove it. True, too, in the case of a lump that the animal is determined to scratch and bite at.

If you discover the lump and then observe additional symptoms, such as changes in appetite and attitude or excretions and weight, this is more cause for concern than the development of a lump alone. Fortunately, your vet will walk you through a thorough diagnostic process.

Ways You Can Help Your Pet At Home

Hopefully, you and your pet will be sent home with instructions to leave the lump be. In which case, you'll need to simply monitor the area, making sure no changes ensue, particularly enlargement or indications of infection. If the lump is surgically removed, you'll have the more complicated task of keeping a cone on your pet, to prevent them from accessing the surgical site, along with watching for signs of anything else abnormal, like swelling, redness or oozing of puss.

Depending on the type of bump discovered on your cat or dog, you might also need to watch for redevelopment in the same and other areas on the animal's body. Some bumps are more likely to return than others, but it's always good to know what's happening, and the where and why of it, as well.

Any anomaly on your pet should be investigated at an animal hospital, without an automatic assumption of the worst-case scenario. Contact services like Norwin Veterinary Hospital to learn more.