Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lumps, Bumps & Growths: Are They Normal? Maybe. But, Always Have Them Checked.

Gibson and his gal Harley
After a couple recent scares, I wanted to discuss lumps, bumps, and growths on a dog's skin. Recently, both Gibson and Wolf have required attention for growths. 

Gibson  has had one on his right knee for almost two years. It started off as a simple skin tag. Normal color. Nothing alarming, other than I don't like bumps on my furbabies. 

*There are some photos in this post that are a bit unpleasant.*

Skin tag turned weird growth.
But knowing dogs, like humans, can get these "tags" as they get older. I constantly monitored it and had my vet team monitor it, and we covered it when he received laser treatments. (Laser treatments are amazing for healing wounds, arthritis, etc., but not for growths because while it works on a cellular level and is just amazing for healing, the flip side is it can stimulate growths, tumors, etc. to grow. It's always important to discuss and review your dog's case with your vet prior to starting or continuing laser treatments, and always mention any growths or tags you discover on your dog's body prior to laser sessions). 

Growth area post surgery
We were status quo for the better part of the past two years, only growing a tiny bit in size. Then a few months back, I noticed it had taken another jump in size and went from being the size of pin head to that of a pencil eraser. Then, as  you can see from the above photo, the shape changed. It started spreading out and had rough spots. And then this past month, it started changing color. Fearing a melanoma, Gibson's primary vet recommended we remove it. Naturally, with Gibson being an Epi-dog, any time surgery is required, options need to be reviewed and discussed as to the best course of action. In Gibson's case, he was administered a local anesthesia on an outpatient basis, and the growth and a portion of the area around it was removed. He received five staples and the growth was sent off for review. He also had a full blood panel drawn.

Gibson recuperating post-surgery.
I was present for the entire procedure, right next to one of his favorite vet techs, and I was able to pet my boy and keep him calm. Funny thing, he was amazing and actually the reversed happened...he actually kept me calm!

While I was petting him during the surgical procedure, I discovered another small bump. At first I thought it was possibly a tick, but since the vet team was literally right over him, it's another skin tag, but nothing to be concerned about. We will keep a watch on it, and hope it never grows or changes shape or color. 

I held off writing about this until after the results came back in so I could give the full story. I'll jump right to the great news that the growth - a "nevus" - and the surrounding area is clear and benign! Wooo-hooo!

Was it a long, nerve-wracking 10 days until the
Couples Laser Therapy Session!
biopsy results came back in? Hell, yes! Gibson's surgical area is healing nicely and he's already received a laser treatment to help heal the wound site. The really cool part is that now we no longer have to cover the spot for laser, and Gibson and Harley get "couples (laser) therapy" sessions together! As you can see, they are quite cozy sharing a bed and their fondness for one of their favorite vet techs, June! We no longer have to wonder and worry what the growth is or what it could be. What a relief! Honestly, knowing that growth is gone has removed a huge weight off my shoulders and mind. I'm so thankful it's clear, and truly thankful I have such a wonderful and caring vet team!

Wolf's new growth.
Just a month earlier, we had another little scare. I noticed a funky little spot on Wolf's lip. Upon close inspection, it appeared to be a simple little skin tag. Normally not something that's much of a worry, but any growths of any kind should always be pointed out to the vet and watched for any type of change. 

This one started to grow and form a slight "cauliflower" texture, as you can see in the photo here on the right. Now I became concerned. And here's a little history as to why (some of you may remember my post)...

Wolf's previous growths.
It was Wolf who a few years back had a 
papilloma that quickly turned into a small, then larger cluster or "cauliflower head" type of growth. No lump underneath could be felt. It was just very weird. I consulted with our vet, and we decided to have it removed. 

What was lurking under the skin.
When the vet opened up his leg (and imagine this - it was on the knee, so not much room to hide a growth), there was a shocking large growth that was the size and shape of a "baby's foot," as the vet had noted. The "toes" were that cluster of growths seen on the outside of his leg, while underneath harbored the mystery growth that could not be felt on the outside. (Click HERE for the full story). Talk about shocked and stunned - and even my vet said in all of his years he never saw anything like it. Thankfully, it too, turned out to be benign. So seeing another growth on him set off all kinds of bells and whistles. Thankfully, this was an easy one and it's now off!

Gibson: "Woo! Glad that's over!"
Wolf: "Woo! Me too, big brother."

My message here is this: If you see a lump, bump, or growth of any kind (yes, it's scary, but try not to assume the worst), please do have it checked out. As with anything, early detection is a good thing. We never know how it may turn out, but the sooner these types of things are looked, and followed up on with your vet, the better. Sometimes small little bumps are just normal skin tags, nothing different from what we get...but sometimes they could be the start of something else. Being proactive can make a difference. At the very least, being proactive can certainly prove to be a great piece of mind.

Talk about being so very thankful...oh, and there was a whole lot of hugging going on...and still is!


  1. I sure am glad to hear that all is okay. Dang, that is scary though and the waiting had to be awful. It scared me just reading about it.

    1. Thank so much, Brian! It really was scary. But we are so thankful!

  2. As you can understand, lumps, bumps, growths are not Mom's favorite things. We too have had our share of the problems they can cause. So glad these two had good endings.

    Woos - Ciara and Lightning

    1. Yes, and it scares me. I pray your Mom and you both never have to go through another lump, bump, or growth...ever. xo

  3. This was a great post. Lumps and bumps can be super scary, that's for sure. I know I have had a couple different ones on my huskies checked out by the vet. Luckily they were nothing. *phew*
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    1. Phew is right! I think we all hold our breath and it's the longest time doing "the wait."

  4. Mom is constantly playing touchy-feely with us
    Lily & Edward