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What Could a Small Lump Above My Dog’s Leg and on Her Back Be?


Dear VetBabble,

Hello! My dog has a little lump right above her leg and on her back. Do you have any idea of what it might be? I’m worried whether it’s a fatty lump, growth, cyst, or local skin infection. Should I show these lumps to the vet during my next visit?

Understanding Lumps and Bumps in Dogs

Hi there, pet owner! It’s normal to be concerned about unusual lumps or bumps on your dog, but don’t panic yet! There are numerous potential causes for these abnormalities, and many of them are harmless. Lumps can be the result of fatty deposits (lipomas), cysts, local skin infections, or even harmless growths. That being said, it’s always best to have your veterinarian examine any new lumps or bumps to rule out more concerning issues, like cancer. Let’s discuss some of the more common causes and when you need to be more concerned about them.

Common Causes of Lumps in Dogs

As mentioned, lumps can have several causes, some of which are harmless and others that may indicate an underlying issue. Here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Lipomas: Fatty deposits, or lipomas, are one of the most common causes of lumps in dogs. They’re typically soft, movable, and painless, making them usually harmless. However, it’s still a good idea to have your vet examine them to be certain.
  • Cysts: Cysts are closed sacs filled with fluid or solid material that can form within your dog’s skin. While some might resolve on their own, others might require surgical intervention. Your vet can determine the nature of the cyst and guide you on the best course of action.
  • Local skin infections: Bacterial or fungal skin infections can cause inflammation and localized swelling. These infections usually require treatment with antibiotics or antifungal medications.
  • Harmless growths: Some dogs develop benign growths like warts or skin tags that may not require any treatment beyond monitoring for changes in size, shape, or color. However, always consult with your vet to be sure.

You may find helpful information in our article, Lumps and Bumps: When to Worry.

When to Be Concerned and Seek Professional Help

While several lumps are harmless, it’s essential to keep an eye out for signs that may indicate a more significant problem. Some worrying signs include rapid growth, changes in appearance, pain or discomfort, or associated symptoms like limping or hair loss. If you have concerns about your dog’s lumps, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian for a proper evaluation.

Your vet may perform a fine needle aspiration, a biopsy, or other tests to determine the cause of the lump and provide appropriate treatment. Sometimes, early detection and treatment of a malignant growth can significantly impact your dog’s prognosis.

If you’re concerned about cancer in dogs, you may refer to our article titled Cancer in Dogs: Facts, Symptoms and What to Expect to learn more about the early signs, common types, and treatments of cancer in dogs.

If your dog shows signs like limping or hair loss along with the lump, you might want to refer to our articles on Why Is My Dog Limping? When to Worry and What to Do and Why is My Dog’s Hair Falling Out? Alopecia, Allergies and Other Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs to better understand the potential underlying issues.

Ultimately, it’s essential to have your veterinarian examine any concerning lumps or bumps in your dog. While it’s possible that the abnormality is harmless, your vet will be best equipped to assess the situation and provide peace of mind or necessary treatment. Don’t hesitate to bring up your concerns during the next vet visit!

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