Have you noticed some lumps, bumps, or growths on your dog or cat? Have they become bothersome, itchy, inflamed, or ulcerated? Should you be concerned? Should you schedule an appointment to be seen?

Many questions come to mind after you discover a growth, lump, or bump on your pet. How can you decipher if it is a concerning situation? When should you contact your veterinarian and what tests can be performed?


Similar, but Different

As all animals are different in their own skin, so are all growths! Here are a few of the more common.

Footnote 1
  • Lipomas, or fatty-like growths, are very common. We tend to see them growing at a slow pace, usually soft to the touch, and found just about anywhere. Most can grow to be very large in size. Although most are harmless, some can grow in areas compromising mobility. Some situations will warrant removal.
  • Skin Adenomas or “skin tags” usually grow on the top of the skin. They are “cauliflower-like” in appearance. These are superficial growths that can bleed when caught by combs, clippers, or by scratching. Tags can also grow on the eyelids; monitor these closely. If they are able to touch the eye’s cornea, it can result in serious corneal ulcerations.
  • Fluid-filled growths can also occur and should be assessed by your pet’s doctor.
  • Lumps that have grown dramatically in shape or size over a short period of time, are actively bleeding, exuding discharge, itchy and/or bothersome should be checked by your veterinarian.

Felines (cats), Ferrets, and Pocket Pets

Any growth should be checked by your veterinarian on these animals. Different assessments can be made by your pet’s doctor regarding growths.

A simple non-invasive approach is basic palpation and visualization of the growth. The doctor can get a sense of the growth type by touch and feel. He/she can also take measurements of size and shape and document for future reference.


Fine Needle Aspirate

Footnote 2

A small needle is placed into the growth and cells are extracted, specially stained, and reviewed under the microscope. Although considered non-diagnostic, it is a great first step in determining the cellular make-up.


Surgical removal and pathology

Footnote 3



After assessment, some growths are recommended for surgical removal. It is then sent off for review by board certified pathologists. Most results return in a short period of time and help influence further steps.





If you have any concerns regarding a growth on your pet, it is encouraged to schedule an appointment with your referring DVM. A majority of lumps/bumps/growths are discovered by YOU! So keep on petting, I’m sure they won’t mind!



1  Image taken from Pixabay.com.  No changes made.

2  Original image.

3  Image taken from Wikimedia Commons. Published under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. No changes made.

Article written by: LaRhea