All Skin Lumps and Bumps Need Veterinary Attention

October 24, 2012

There are many different kinds of skin tumours, some serious and most benign. Most skin growths are likely to be either skin papillomas (i.e. warts) or sebaceous gland adenomas. Skin papillomas are common in dogs but rare in cats.  Their cause is unknown, although a virus infection appears to be involved in some cases. These growths can appear as solitary or multiple lumps and characteristically have a cauliflower-like surface to them. There is no way to prevent them from occurring.

Warts can appear anywhere on the body, especially as pets get older, but they cause few problems and are benign. In those cases where a wart causes a problem (e.g .the pet licks it excessively or it becomes infected), it can be removed surgically without difficulty. Usually, warts are left alone.

Sebaceous gland tumours derive from the sebaceous glands in the skin, which secrete an oily substance called sebum. Sebum keeps the skin soft, pliable, and moisturized. These tumours are considered to be the most common kind of skin tumour in dogs, and are often confused with warts since they are similar in appearance. Like papillomas, sebaceous gland tumours are common in dogs but rare in cats. They usually appear after nine-to-10years of age, and there appears to be a predisposition in cocker spaniels as well as poodles, Boston terriers, Kerry blue terriers, beagles, dachshunds, Norwegian elkhounds and basset hounds. Sebaceous gland tumours are usually not surgically excised unless they too cause problems.

As a rule of thumb, all growths should be checked out by your veterinarian to ensure that they are not malignant.