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What are Benign Tumors?

Tumors can be benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous) and it requires a veterinary expert to identify them. There are many varieties of tumor in canines, ranging from smaller bumps on the skin to large growths on the body. Benign growths might be able to be left without interference unless the growth is large and affecting your dog’s normal behavior, for example, how he walks or sits. These growths often occur in overweight or older dogs, but they can appear as small lumps or bumps on the skin on any animal, appearing as hairless discoloured patches, or a growth the body.

There are many types of tumors, which are caused by abnormal growth of the cells and affect the skin or the tissue in your dog. 

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Benign Tumors Average Cost

From 589 quotes ranging from $100 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Benign Tumors in Dogs

  • Usually detected as unusual lumps or bumps on your dog’s skin or in the underlying tissue
  • Benign tumors do not usually affect your pet unless they are large or are growing in an area that affects everyday actions of the animal, for example on a paw, or between the legs and it affects the walking motion
  • Some tumors look button shaped and appear hairless 
  • If the growth becomes larger, your dog may exhibit signs of being uncomfortable due to the growth
  • You may notice your dog worrying an area, which will draw your attention to any growth

Types 

Tumor types are diverse and many, but here are a few of the common types:

  • Basal cell tumors develop within the top layer of your dog’s skin (the epidermis) 
  • Lipomas are often referred to as fatty tumors or growths; they are located in the subcutaneous tissue, and are firm, movable and painless 
  • Melanoma is diagnosed much more frequently as being benign, and is a dark pigmented skin growth on your dog’s head or forelimbs 
  • Sweat gland tumors develop on the head and neck with one or more cysts developing in the upper layer of the skin around the hair follicles
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Causes of Benign Tumors in Dogs

  • Exposure to the sun, working dogs and others with fine or pale fur are prone to melanoma and it is very common
  • Some breeds that are affected more by tumor growth are the Miniature and Standard Schnauzers, Doberman Pinschers, and Golden Retrievers
  • Viruses have been named as a cause for the development of growths although science is not sure of the exact process of how that happens yet
  • Hormonal abnormalities and genetic factors are also said to be a factor with some dogs being more prone to tumors
  • Hormonal activity can be a result of pregnancy or may be caused by certain drugs which cause an imbalance and intense hormonal activity
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Diagnosis of Benign Tumors in Dogs

On finding a growth or lump on your dog, it is vital that you take your pet to have it checked out by a qualified veterinarian. Because of the numerous types of tumor growths, it is hard to tell just by looking and feeling the site what type of tumor growth it is. Your veterinary caregiver will consider your dog’s age and breed, and will do a careful inspection of the growth site. The best way to be absolutely sure of the type of growth is to have a biopsy of the area done (a very small sample of the tumor is taken for analysis), and from that he  can then analyse the cells that make up the lump or growth, just to make sure it is not cancerous. 

This is a quick process for your pet requiring your presence and support, and will not hurt him. From the analysis of the cells, the veterinarian will be able to see what type of growth it is and prescribe a treatment for it. If it is benign and not distressing your dog, the veterinarian might prefer to monitor the lump. This is because of the slight risks with anesthesia; some surgical complications are not worth risking the health of your dog for a benign growth. Your veterinary caregiver will advise you to monitor the tumor and report any changes.

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Treatment of Benign Tumors in Dogs

For benign tumor growths that are small and not distressing to your dog, the veterinary caregiver may decide no treatment is necessary. This is because of several factors. 

  • Small benign growths are not affecting your dog’s daily life 
  • It is not in your dog’s best interest to have anesthesia to remove a common growth. The anesthesia has risks associated with the procedure so unless it is harming the dog, most veterinarians prefer to monitor.  
  • The veterinary team  will enlist your help to monitor the growth and ensure that there is no increase in size, colour or effect on your pets’ behavior 
  • If it is annoying your dog, a simple day surgery removal may be advised

For larger benign growths that are inhibiting the dog’s movements and causing distress, the treatment is as follows.

  • Surgical removal is usually the most effective option for unsightly or motion inhibiting growths 
  • Your dog will be anesthetised and the removal procedure will be carried out
  • Careful closing and cleansing of the wound site will be carried out and a dressing applied
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Recovery of Benign Tumors in Dogs

Simply keeping an eye on your dog to monitor any further growth may be all that is needed. This also includes making sure that it is not annoying your dog and that he is not licking and biting the lump which could cause complications with infection. If your dog does need surgery to remove the lump, he will need your help with recovery. You will be required to keep your pet calm and resting after the operation, inside in a restricted area so he cannot jump or run; lying quietly is preferred. At first your dog may refuse food but just offer little bits and plenty of water, and his appetite will return. It is vital to make sure the wound area is kept dry and clean, and to prevent your dog from licking and worrying the area. Make sure you take your dog for a follow up visit to the veterinary clinic to check the healing process.

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Benign Tumors Average Cost

From 589 quotes ranging from $100 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Benign Tumors Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Cocker Spaniel

dog-age-icon

Eleven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

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12 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My dog has a big tumor on her stomach and we took her to the vet a couple weeks ago and we decided not to do the Surgery because it’s not guaranteed that she’ll survive. The vets also said that it wasn’t necessary to put her down yet and to wait it out but her tumor has grown since then. She acts completely fine but she also acts tired sometimes. We have an appointment to euthanize her tomorrow but I don’t know if it’s the right decision I can’t tell if she’s in pain or not. What do you think I should do?

Sept. 13, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

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12 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry that you're having to make this decision, this is very difficult. Unfortunately, without being able to see her, there is no way that I can say whether it is the right decision. If she still has some quality of life, and is generally happy, you may have more time with her. What you can do is call or keep the appointment with your veterinarian, but have a serious discussion with them about it. They will be able to give you an honest opinion on whether she is comfortable, or whether it is time. I genuinely am sorry for you having to go through this with her, and hope that things work out.

Sept. 13, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Cocker Spaniel

dog-age-icon

Eleven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My dog has a big tumor on her stomach and we took her to the vet a couple weeks ago and we decided not to do the Surgery because it’s not guaranteed that she’ll survive. She acts completely fine but she also acts tired sometimes. We have an appointment to euthanize her tomorrow but I don’t know if it’s the right decision I can’t tell if she’s in pain or not.

Sept. 13, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry that you're having to make this decision, this is very difficult. Unfortunately, without being able to see her, there is no way that I can say whether it is the right decision. If she still has some quality of life, and is generally happy, you may have more time with her. What you can do is call or keep the appointment with your veterinarian, but have a serious discussion with them about it. They will be able to give you an honest opinion on whether she is comfortable, or whether it is time. I genuinely am sorry for you having to go through this with her, and hope that things work out.

Sept. 13, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

Benign Tumors Average Cost

From 589 quotes ranging from $100 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Compare plans
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