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Is a Large Growth on My Older Dog Miley a Sign of a Malignant Tumor?

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Dear VetBabble,

I recently noticed a large growth on my dog, Miley, and I’m not sure what it could be. Given Miley’s age, should I be concerned that this might be a malignant tumor? What should I do about it and are there any signs I should look for in case other pet owners are going through something similar?

Understanding and Addressing Your Dog’s Growth

As pet owners, discovering any abnormal swellings or growths on our furry friends can be distressing. While we cannot identify the growth without examining it, we can at least offer some guidance and reassurance.

First and foremost, it’s important to have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible to assess the growth. While large growths certainly raise concerns, many factors can contribute to their development, and their origins may not be malignant. Nevertheless, visiting your vet is the crucial first step to addressing the underlying issue and ensuring your pet’s well-being. In the meantime, let’s discuss some common causes of growths in dogs and what you should look for.

Common Causes of Growths On Dogs

There are several typical reasons for your dog to have a growth, and some of them may not signify a severe health risk. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Lipoma: A lipoma is a benign fatty tumor commonly found in older dogs. These growths are painless and generally not a cause for concern. However, if the lipoma is inhibiting your dog’s movement or causing discomfort, removal might be necessary.
  • Sebaceous cyst: Sebaceous cysts are benign lumps that form in the sebaceous glands of the skin. These cysts contain oily, white fluid and can occur in any breed, gender, or age group. Most of the time, they don’t require treatment, but it’s essential to monitor them for size changes or infections.
  • Mange: Mange is a skin condition caused by mites. It is characterized by hair loss and crusty skin, which can lead to lumps in more severe cases. You can learn more about mange here.
  • Cancerous growths: Unfortunately, cancer is a possibility, and any suspicious growth needs to be taken seriously. You can learn about canine cancer here, bone cancer here, and signs of concern regarding lumps and bumps here.

What You Can Do and What to Look for in Growth Cases

In the face of uncertain growths on your dog, taking these steps will support your pet’s well-being and assist your veterinarian in diagnosing the issue:

  1. Monitor the growth: Regularly observe the size, shape, color, and texture of the growth, and note any changes. This will help your vet determine the right course of action.
  2. Examine for discomfort or mobility issues: If your dog exhibits pain, discomfort, or difficulty moving around due to the lump, it’s crucial to address with your veterinarian.
  3. Have a biopsy conducted: If the growth is suspicious, your vet may perform a biopsy to determine its nature. A fine needle aspiration or excisional biopsy may be used, depending on the circumstances.
  4. Follow your vet’s advice: Your vet will recommend the appropriate treatment based on the growth’s nature, whether that be monitoring, surgical removal, or additional therapy. Follow their guidance to ensure your pet’s health and comfort.

Lastly, sharing your experiences with other pet owners can be invaluable. By addressing your concerns openly, you can help provide guidance for others who may be facing similar situations. As always, it’s crucial to remain proactive and reach out to your veterinarian when facing any health concerns with your pet.

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