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Q&A: What Is This Sudden Lump Under My Dog's Skin?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Lumps under the skin can be due to several factors.

Lumps under the skin can be due to several factors.

Does My Dog Need an Exam for an Odd Mass Under the Skin?

"My female Fox Hound Rescue and I are traveling on a boat about to enter Canada. This morning I noticed a hard, irregular-shaped mass under the skin. It is on her chest behind her front leg. It is not touch-sensitive. The size is about 2 x 1.5 x 0.5 centimeters thick. Is this something to keep an eye on or get checked ASAP?" —Matthew

Reasons for Lumps Under a Dog's Skin

Without palpating (touching and squeezing) the mass, it is difficult to tell what is going on. It could be just an abscess—something that will respond well to being drained and treated with antibiotics—or maybe just swollen skin secondary to inflammation, like a bee sting.

It could also be a tumor, perhaps fatty tissue or something as serious as squamous cell carcinoma.

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Consider Using Sunscreen

Foxhounds are generally a very healthy breed, but based on the fact that you are into sailing, I would imagine that your dog gets more than the normal amount of sun exposure. Do you use sunscreen on her?

There are several brands recommended by the AKC since dogs that are white and those with short coats are more prone to develop skin cancer. (Here are a few telltale signs of canine skin cancer.)

Visit Your Vet

I would definitely recommend you take your dog to a veterinarian and have her seen soon. If it is just an abscess secondary to an injury, it can be treated quickly and will recover without any secondary problems. If the examining veterinarian suspects cancer, they will aspirate it and give you an idea when the lab returns the results. You can decide how to treat it at that time.

In any case, you should get it looked at it sooner rather than later. Hopefully it will be nothing to worry about.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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