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Not ALL Lumps and Bumps You Find on Your Dog are Cancerous! Types of Non-Cancerous Tumors!

Updated on January 21, 2010
Take care of your old dog!
Take care of your old dog!

As dog's age they often begin to develop an assortment of health problems. Whether it be arthritis, canine incontinence or even cancer, it is important that you be pro-active when it comes to your senior canine's health care (regular veterinary check-ups are a must!). Having adopted two elderly Beagles in the past, I am no stranger to the world of elderly canine problems. Being aware of your dog's daily routine (including eating and bathroom habits) is very important as changes in these behaviors can be an indication that something is wrong. It is also a good idea to know other signs and symptoms of canine illness.

Unfortunately, like humans, many dogs develop tumors. The bright side is…NOT ALL TUMORS ARE CANCEROUS! If you have an old dog, then you know that they often develop lumps and bumps. If you discover a lump on your dog take him or her to the veterinarian so that it can be properly diagnosed. Though some lumps may be cancerous, more often than not…they are simply fatty tumors. My old Beagle has several fatty tumors and though I was alarmed when I first discovered them…I remained calm and made a vet appointment. Along with fatty tumors, there are several other types of NON-CANCEROUS tumors. Though most of these tumors are not life threatening…it is still very important that your dog receive treatment should he be diagnosed with one.

Regular vet appointments are a must for older canines!
Regular vet appointments are a must for older canines!

Types of Non-Cancerous Tumors, Lumps and Bumps

Lipomas – This is the medical term for the fatty tumor mentioned in the previous paragraph. These tumors are soft, spongy and can become quite large. In a nutshell, they are nothing more than an accumulation of fat cells (hence the name "fatty tumor"). These tumors usually don't appear until a dog is middle-aged or older.

Warts – Many dogs develop warts as they age. Yes, my Beagle has warts and though not pretty to look at…they are relatively harmless. The only time my Beagle's warts cause a problem is when she accidentally scratches them. When she does, they bleed. Yuck! When this happens I simply clean them with a warm, soapy solution, glob on some Neosporin and then top it off with a Snoopy band-aid. If I'm lucky, the band-aid stays on for at least an hour. It should be noted that many warts look like tumors…so next time you are at the vet, point them out to the doctor so she can confirm that they are warts and nothing more serious.

Hematomas – My dog Kylie often develops ear infections. One day I noticed that Kylie's ear was extremely puffy. Of course, I thought the worst (cancer) and took her to the vet (I really need to learn to be a more positive thinker!). Later that afternoon, I received my education in canine hematomas. Basically, Kylie developed a blood-filled lump in her ear due to the fact that she was suffering from an ear infection. The ear infection caused extreme discomfort which caused Kylie to continuously shake and scratch. The constant shaking caused the already fragile blood vessels in her ear to break which then caused the hematoma to form. The veterinarian simply drained Kylie's ear, treated her ear infection (with antibiotics) and she is now as good as new. It should be noted that it is possible for the hematoma to return. If this happens, it will need to be drained again. In some cases, surgery is required so that the pocket in the ear (where the blood forms) can be sewn shut so that the process does not keep repeating.

Sebaceous Cysts – These tiny red bumps are not a serious condition, however, it would be a good idea to have your veterinarian check them out…just to play it safe. Sebaceous cysts are small bumps (they kind of look like human pimples or zits) that are filled with something called keratin. So…what is keratin? Well, it is basically a protein that looks like cheese (I know, yuck!). Though not serious, these cysts can be uncomfortable…so be sure to have your vet examine them! Your vet may choose to drain them, remove them or simply leave them alone!


If you feel any type of lump or bump on your dog that you have never felt before it is very important that you have a medical professional examine and diagnose your pet. Remember, NOT ALL lumps and bumps are cancerous or life threatening…so remain calm! The sooner you get your dog to the vet, the better as early diagnosis (no matter what the condition) is crucial so that the proper treatment can begin. I know I have said it before…but it is very important that you are PRO-ACTIVE when it comes to your dog's health care…especially as your furry friend grows older! Good luck….WOOF!

If you are interested in reading about Dog Training collars, check out the Dog Training Collars Guide…it is very informative!



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      Robert 7 years ago

      my dog has a rather hard lump on her neck it been there for a while and it hasn't grown just tonight i found one on her ribs what could t be because none of them described it?