Are there lumps and bumps on your dog?  Is it cancer?  It is very common to feel lumps and bumps on your dog and it is important that you are aware of how your dog’s body feels.  Most of the time the lumps and bumps aren’t cancerous, but like most things concerning your dog’s health, they should be looked at by your veterinarian.  It isn’t out of the ordinary for your veterinarian to keep a map of the lumps and bumps so you can keep track of any new lumps.  If a lump or bump is on your dog for more than three to five days it should be evaluated.

Early detection of cancer is important in order to provide a better outcome.  You shouldn’t wait around thinking the lumps or bumps will go away.  It is important to test the lump or bump to find out if it is benign or malignant.  To test the lumps and bumps a procedure called fine needle aspiration is  performed.  This is where cells are sucked out of the lump or bump into a small needle and then looked at under a microscope.  This method is accurate about 80% of the time in determining whether the lump or bump is benign or malignant.

If your veterinarian feels that a fine needle aspiration won’t provide adequate information about the lump or bump, then  a biopsy can be performed to get more information.  A biopsy consists of taking  a core of tissue out of the lump or bump.  By performing the biopsy, the pathologist now has the architecture of the cells from one to the next, versus the fine needle aspiration, where the cells are squirted on a slide and sometimes the architecture can be lost.  This can be an important factor in determining if the lump or bump is cancerous.

Lumps and bumps can be benign or malignant.  A benign tumor can be removed successfully and it will not come back and it will not spread.  If it can’t be cut out it can continue to grow and cause a deterioration in your dog’s life.  Radiation can be performed if surgery is not an option.

Malignant cancers are much more aggressive.  Even if the lumps or bumps are cut out they will often come back in the same or in a similar location or they could have the ability to metastasize or spread to vital organs.  This is when you would see a deterioration in your dog’s quality of life.

Significant advances in the treatment of cancer patients has been made.  By using chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and a variety of other oral medications, your dog can have an outstanding quality of life for an extended period of time, regardless of the diagnosis.

Filed under: Cancer in Dogs

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