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  • Writer's pictureNAH Admin-Coordinator

Lumps & Bumps: When to be Concerned

We’ve all been there. Snuggled up on the couch with our furry friend, giving them lots of pets, until we feel it - a lump that definitely was not there before. While we know it’s easy to go into panic mode over a lump of any size on our pets, most lumps are actually not cancerous, and can be easily treated or - in some scenarios - completely left alone.

Lumps on pets can often go unnoticed until they reach a size that is hard to ignore, especially if they are growing in areas that we as pet owners don’t usually come in contact with, like under the leg or between toes on a paw. If you find a lump on your pet, we recommend taking a measurement and photo of it to help us track its progress over time. This measurement and photo can be sent to us for your pet’s medical record in conjunction with scheduling an appointment to get the lump checked out by a veterinarian. 

At this appointment, we often do a Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA) test to determine what kind of lump your pet has. This test involves using a small needle to obtain a sample of cells from the lump and examining them under a microscope. Depending on what type of cells are present in the sample, a diagnosis for the lump can usually be made. If a diagnosis cannot be made in-hospital, the sample slides may be sent to a pathologist for further testing or a biopsy may be recommended in order to obtain a larger sample. Once the cells have been identified by one of these tests, they usually fall into one of these most common diagnoses:


Lipomas, or fatty tumors, are harmless bumps of fat commonly found on aging cats and dogs. These lumps are typically slow-growing, soft, and movable. While lipomas can be removed, they are more often just monitored over time as your pet continues to age. 

Sebaceous Cysts

When an oil gland in your pet’s skin gets blocked, it can produce a cyst, or a pus-filled pocket (like a pimple). Cysts can vary in size and usually either go away or pop on their own, but may sometimes require a veterinarian to manually extract them if they persist for long periods of time. Note: If your pet’s cyst needs to be manually removed, it is best practice to have this done by a veterinary professional. At-home removal can result in infection or irritation at the site, which none of us want for our four-legged friends. 


Hematomas are raised bruises often caused by trauma to a portion of the body. Whether it be shaking their head too hard, resulting in an ear hematoma, or hitting their back end too hard on the wall while playing, a pet with a hematoma may feel some pressure or pain in the area. These lumps aren’t necessarily bad for your pet’s health, but can be very uncomfortable and indicative of potential damage under the skin. 


Papules often appear around a hair follicle as a reaction to allergies or minor infection. These usually go away when the allergen is no longer present, but may require treatment if they persist. 


Also called button tumors, these red, bulbous bumps are non-cancerous and usually appear on young cats and dogs due to an overproduction of white blood cells. Like most of the lumps & bumps listed above, these tend to go away on their own in time. However, if they start to bother your little one, surgical removal is an option. 

Mast Cell Tumors (Cancerous)

Mast Cell Tumors are the most common form of skin cancer in dogs and the second most common in cats. The size, shape, and even color of a mast cell tumor may vary based on what part of the animal they are growing on. While some MCTs can grow above the skin, others can develop below the skin as well - often developing as a solid, firm lump. While these tumors are cancerous, there are a few extremely effective treatment options including surgical removal and intra-tumor injection. 

While some of these lumps & bumps are easy to identify in our furry friends, it is always a safe bet to get them looked at by a veterinarian if they look concerning or do not seem to be going away. To schedule an appointment for your pet’s recently developed lump or if their lump appears to have grown, give us a call at any of our locations:

39th Ave & Holistic Center: (352) 332-2292

Main St: (352) 372-5391

Newberry: (352) 472-7035

Springhill: (352) 373-7208


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