Don't ignore the lumpy warnings

Published: Aug. 12, 2017 at 8:16 AM CDT
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Does your dog have lumps and bumps? You might want to take a closer look at those.

The Nebraska Humane Society’s Pam Wiese says she noticed a bump on her 10-year-old dog's back leg a couple of months ago. Bree is black and well-muscled and they didn't notice the bump until it was about the size of a quarter. It turned out to be a mast cell tumor.

Mast cell tumors are the most common form of skin tumors in dogs, forming from mast cells that normally are involved in the body's response to allergens and inflammation. Some MCTs are benign and some are cancerous.

Mast cell tumors have been nicknamed the "great pretenders." They can grow very quickly. They can also shrink and then grow larger, be outside or under the skin, appear as red or pink or gray.

They can have hairs growing on top of them or they might be hairless. They can be itchy or never seem to bother the dog at all. They may be isolated to one area or they can spore out and spread all over the body.

These tumors have deep roots. When they are removed about 3cm around the tumor must be taken out. In Bree's case, they took as much as they could and still leave the leg, then biopsied the edges to see if they were cancer-free. If not, a second surgery or radiation therapy can be used.

If you notice any type of lump on your dog it is important to get it tested. When caught early, some mast cell tumors can be treated successfully however they can also spread with fatal consequences.

Just because one mast cell tumor is benign, does not mean all of them on the dog will be. Each and every lump should be checked and tested as they appear.

Don’t ignore the lumps. Take your dog to the vet ASAP if you spot them. It's cancer, so early detection is key.

Nebraska Humane Society

  • 8929 Fort Street
  • Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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