As an animal gets older, you may notice a lump or two that you could have sworn wasn’t there a week, or even a day ago, and you may be right. Lumps can grow fast and it is important to get each lump checked as it arises, would you leave a lump unattended and unassessed if you found it on yourself? Some lumps can turn out to be what is referred to as a fat lump, or scientifically known as Lipomas. Lipomas form underneath the skin (usually the outer skin is not affected) and are considered subcutaneous. Commonly developed in dogs, and more commonly in overweight dogs, these lumps can feel soft with a small amount of mobility noted when palpated. They are considered a tumour as they are an abnormal growth of cells that form a mass/lump on or inside the body. Before panic ensues, it is necessary to remember tumours can be classified as benign or malignant. Fatty lumps come under the classification of benign, meaning they do not have any cancerous cells present. The main issue with lipomas is that with time the size can increase, and in certain areas such as the chest or armpits, the lumps can eventually impede movement. It is also common that once one lipoma has arisen another will eventually follow and so on. Liposarcomas are the scientific name for lumps that contain cancerous cells and can spread throughout the body, in other words malignant. Malignant tumours are cancerous and when these lumps are present, they generally need to be surgically removed.
Therefore, each lump that arises must be tested. One test to help discover the type of lump is called a fine needle aspirate (FNA). By taking a small sample of the lump and preparing it on a slide allows us to analyse some of the cells inside and determine whether the lump is a threat or not. These microscope slides can also be sent away for further and more in-depth analysis of the sample. While liposarcomas are much rarer than lipomas, each lump should be checked individually to rule out this possibility.
Another reason for a sudden lump arising on your pets’ body is from a foreign object piercing the skin and entering the animal, referred to as a foreign body. The most common foreign body that is seen in vet clinics is the grass seed. The way these seeds are shaped helps them to bury themselves into the ground to grow, but this has the same effect to our pets’ skin. By burrowing through the various tissues, a grass seed once imbedded can cause serious damage to the area and even move around the body affecting numerous parts of your pet’s system. When a grass seed is suspected, surgical intervention is required. By opening the swollen area, we can locate the foreign body inside, remove and then clean the wound to help natural healing. These lumps are most commonly found in between the toes, under the armpits or on the abdomen. Grass seeds can also lodge themselves inside the nasal cavity, or down the ear canal. Once again these will require surgery to remove the grass seed safely. If you are concerned about any lumps or bumps on your pet, give the clinic a call on 9581 7766 to chat to our nurses about booking a consultation.