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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 are best 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. 

Benign Tumors Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Benign Tumors in Dogs

  • Usually detected by 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

  • Animals that are overweight seem more disposed to tumor growths
  • Diet is an important consideration, although hard to prove, a diet rich in carbohydrates seems to encourage these growths to develop so keep the diet as close to your dog’s natural diet and limit sugary treats 
  • 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 by this type of 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 most likely will prefer to leave it alone. This is because of the slight risks with anesthesia; some surgical complications are not worth risking the health of your dog for a common 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 leave it alone
  • 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 with the area given a painkiller injection, and the lump removed; although a benign spot, if licked and bitten by your dog it could cause infection and ulceration

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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Cocker Spaniel

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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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

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 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

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Cocker Spaniel

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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1 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

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 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

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West Highland White Terrier

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blood When Sneezing

My dog is a mix of a West Highland Terrier and a Bischon Frise. It is female. We notice small amounts of blood about 6 or 7 weeks ago and noticed she passed it when sneezing. On inspection, the vet did a biopsy when concluded it wasn't cancerous but the tumours were up the dogs nose. The vet stuffed the particular nose hole but when the cotton becomes loose, she bleeds again. We noticed a growth near her eye now which the vet said was a tumour but he didn't carry out a biopsy. Can a benign tumor kill a dog?

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry that your dog is having these problems. A benign tumor may not kill a dog directly, but it can certainly grow to the point where life is not particularly comfortable anymore. Depending on the type of tumor, or where it is, your veterinarian may be able to do what we call a debulking surgery, where some of the growth is removed so that is not putting pressure on anything. There may be other ways to provide relief, and it would be best to follow up with your veterinarian she did not think that things are going well. I hope that she is able to be comfortable for quite a while longer.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Sprocker Spaniel

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131/2

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool Runny Poos Lump On Left Side Of Tail

Titch has a fleshy lump on his left side near his top of tail hes miserable doesnt eat much sleeps most of the time could it be cancer

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. This mass may be cancerous. If your dog is having tarry stool we worry about GI bleed. It would be best for your dog to see your vet. THey can look at this mass and tell you if it is cancerous and start your dog on medication to help the stool. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon

July 13, 2020

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Ethel

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Dachshund

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood
Pus

Hi! We have a ten-year old Dachshund who's had a benign tumor on her back leg since we adopted her two years ago. Our vet has tested it and kept an eye on it and like all of the advice above agreed she didn't need surgery unless it was bothering her in her daily life. However, it seems to have ruptured and is leaking blood and pus. We already have a set surgery for 3 weeks from now, and the soonest our vet could see us is in two days. Is this something we should take her to the emergency animal hospital? (The cost is the one thing holding us back, though we will obviously make it work if we need to). Or do you think it's okay if we wait 48 hours? Her disposition is the same and she's still eating and drinking water regularly. I'm worried about infections or if it needs to removed sooner than three weeks from now.

Aug. 20, 2018

Ethel's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

If Ethel is eating and drinking and bright and happy, you may be able to wait until you can have her seen in two days. If it is bleeding and you see pus coming from it, if you call your veterinarian and let them know what is going on, they may be able to get you in earlier to get her started on medications.

Aug. 20, 2018

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Salty

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Maltese Shih Tzu

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14 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lump Under Skin
Benign Tumour

My 14 year old dog had benign tumours removed a few months ago as he always scratched them, he has since grown more on his head and neck area with one of them having a lump under it in the skin. Does this mean it’s likely infection? He’s scratched it again and has bled Which is usual for him but he’s never had a lump before. I’ve noticed no other symptoms but he does have a tumour likely on his brain causing his cushings disease which he’s medicated for

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Rosie

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Goldendoodle

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Twelve Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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None

Hello! We have a golden doodle that has had a lump on her neck for several years. Recently we went in and had them check the lump because it all the sudden grew quickly and to a HUGE size. They biopsied it and it was mostly filled with blood, sent in the biopsy to a lab and it was found to be benign. They put her on a antibiotic and anti inflammatory for two weeks because they were hoping to shrink it. It did nothing. Two weeks to the day that we had her in, the tumor burst and it was filled with a smelly, blood like fluid. We took her back in to make sure she wasn’t at the risk of infection and they put her on carprophen and a antibiotic. They then scheduled a surgery to remove the center of the tumor because they said it will most likely refill. Now that she’s been on these meds for two weeks the tumor has healed nicely and it’s shrunk SIGNIFICANTLY. I called to cancel her surgery and they are still encouraging us to have it removed because of the risk it will come back. She is going to be 13 years old in a few weeks and we are concerned that the risk of surgery will outweigh the benefit of removing it. It doesn’t appear to be bothering her at all. It’s just some extra skin hanging on her neck and a small lump remaining. They did say they given her age and heart condition, they could do just a local anesthetic vs putting her under to reduce the risk. Any advice would be helpful in our decision! Thanks. She also was said to have a heart murmur that was 4.5/5. Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/condition/benign-tumors

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Brie

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Rottweiler

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

hello, my 10.5 year old female rottweiler has had a fairly large lump in her shoulder area below the neck, right where the tan markings are at her shoulders...I am calling this the shoulder area?. We noticed it at least 2 years ago maybe more. We did not get it checked because she had previously had 3 surgeries. her surgeries in order from first to last was hystarectomy due to opyometria.(excuse spelling). 2nd was large odd shaped chest tumor that was benign but removed, and 3rd was a small eyelid lump that was removed,also benign. Shortly after the last surgery we felt the shoulder lump age of dog was approx.8 years old. We figured another benign lump. She is 10.5 years old now. She has had no obvious issues that has concerned us and she has no complaints when grabbing or trying to move it around...it does move but is fairly firm and is possibly attached to muscle...i can't move it all over the place just kind of back and forth. Lump was not noticably growing over the past 2.5 years after it was discovered if so it has been very slight. Debating to get it checked but i know the answer i will get from the vet...we can not tell without a biopsy. My dog is in an older range for a rottweiler and has slowed down the past half a year but all in all still good shape for her breed. I don't really want to put her through another surgery but am curious about this lump. If it was something serious would i not have seen a problem by now. I'm tired of every bump being a scare. To be honest I wasn't sure at the time that it wasn't a part of her anatomy and just protruded due to age...I'm a little more sure now this is a lump. Approx. size 2-3 inch diameter and not perfectly round feels almost like cartilage texture. Any comments?

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Skylla

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bull mastif

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Moderate severity

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Tumor, Weight Loss

Howdy y'all! We have a six year old female bull mastiff. About two years ago, she developed an abdominal growth. A veterinary consult determined that the growth was inoperable due to size, vascular involvement, and attachment to abdominal wall. It was a fast growing tumor. We did not biopsy the growth but given that she is still alive after two years, suggests that it is benign. In the past month, she has begun losing a lot of weight. It is also causing her difficulty walking and causing her pain after walking. My question is is there a diet or food that we can use to improve her weight? Is there an Ensure for dogs? I've read that carbohydrates can "feed" the tumor, but I know that a dog should have a similar diet to people with less protein and more carbohydrates.

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Hailey

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Dachshund

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lump

Hello, I really need a second opinion for my amazing 10 year old dachshund/poodle mix Hailey. She has a lump near her nipple that is somewhat hard and bumpy with some discharge. She is not spayed at this time. The vet I saw today believes she needs surgery to get it removed and get spayed. I fear the anesthesia since she is older. She means the world to me. Are there any other options to resolve this, antibiotics? Thank you so much for your help! -Brittany

Benign Tumors Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$800

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