Lumps Increase As Dogs Age

Junior has graced the pages of before. Fortunately, today he has a far less serious problem.

The big black and white dog had a bath two days ago and his owner is reasonably sure that the huge (33 mm) lump on his right side wasn’t present then. At age ten it is not surprising that he has some lumps. In fact, it may be more surprising that he has only five.

The lump that wasn’t and now is. What are we to make of it?

Lumpy Junior has such a sweet face.
Lumpy Junior has such a sweet face.

If we assume that, indeed, the mass was not there 48 hours ago, then the list of possibilities is led by trauma and infection. Trauma, in the form of bumping into something while he was running or playing, could lead to a hematoma. “Hema” is the Latin prefix referring to blood and “toma” is a Latin word meaning swelling. It’s the same root from which we obtain the word tumor. Therefore, a hematoma is a swelling consisting of blood. As this mass is right over a rib it can reasonably be conjectured that a blow to that rib burst a blood vessel and made a swollen area. If this is the case, the mass will probably be absorbed by the body, though fibrous material in the blood could leave a smaller firm lump behind.

Junior shares his home with a number of cats, including Turbo, whom we’ve also met before. If a tussle had occurred with one of the cats and he was bitten, a cat bite abscess would be the result. However, Junior has no fever and the area is neither hot nor tender, so it’s unlikely that the spot is infected.

More likely is the scenario that the bump has been sitting there hiding under the skin and hair for quite some time and that when it was covered with suds it simply wasn’t visible.

At this point we are unworried about a mass that is soft and movable. In fact, four of Junior’s five lumps are soft and movable. The fifth is a firm one we have been watching for three years with no change.

In general, and do not use this as a broad standard to keep you seeing your veterinarian for a troublesome lump, soft and movable lumps are less threatening than growths that are firm and attached, especially if the growth is pigmented.

So, we have noted all of Junior’s tuberosities in his medical record, and we will check them every time he comes to see us for a visit.

"Dad," doing what he does best, loving Junior.
"Dad," doing what he does best, loving Junior.

Best of all, we have set a pet owner’s mind to rest so that he can do what he does best: love Junior.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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  1. This is Steve – Junior’s owner. The large lump seems to have shrunk a little over the last few days. We are breathing a sigh of relief that it wasn’t something more serious. Thank you so much for everything you do to help keep the animals in our community healthy, Dr. Randolph.

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