Benign Tumors in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Benign Tumors in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Benign Tumors in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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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Worried about the cost of Benign Tumors treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

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

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Taffy

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Toy or Miniature Poodle

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15 Years

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Has Symptoms

Lump On Dogs Paw

My 15 yr old toy poodle has a flesh colored lump under her paw in the middle if her paw pad. It has been there for months with no growth. It gets a little red & swollen when she is in the heat/summer days outside for short walks. Her whole paw stays slightly swollen but does not bother her. The vet said because of where it's located there is nothing really that can be done. The other day she suddenly started limping & it swelled & inflamed tremendously. The vet said it probably was a sting. Most all the swelling & inflammation is gone. She's no longer limping. Wondering if I should be worried without having a needle aspirate done. The lump is very soft circle & she has about 10 - 15 other warts all over her body.

Aug. 19, 2018

Taffy's Owner

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0 Recommendations

At an age of 15 years, we don’t want to be poking and prodding Taffy too much as surgery and other treatments may not be suitable; if the lump isn’t really causing any issues you should keep an eye on it and visit your Veterinarian again if there are any flair ups. A fine needle aspirate may tell us something or nothing, plus if it gives us an indication of a diagnosis surgery isn’t an option. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 20, 2018

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Benny

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Pointer

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11 Years

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0 found helpful

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Has Symptoms

Lump

I have a 11 year old male dog named Benny, mixed breed and noticed that for the last three months he has had swelling right above and at 2 o' clock near his anus. I had our local vet have a look at it and he feels that it might be a tumor and will be performing a needle biopsy (FNA) to get a better picture. However we fear that this tumor might be malignant in nature and if so are ready to do a full removal if possible through surgery. My question is what are the chances of the tumor reappearing if shown to be malignant and is there a good chance that this tumor can be benign as the general outlook in tumors near the anus is that they are pretty much always malignant. Feeling very worried and somewhat hopeless as the research does not seem to point towards any positive outlook.

Aug. 13, 2018

Benny's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Recurrence may occur in cases of poor surgical margins or incomplete excision; however issues may arise if there has been spread to regional lymph nodes which may result in further surgeries. For adenocarcinoma the prognosis is around a year (depending on the literature cited) with surgical excision alone; specific recurrence numbers are vague. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 14, 2018

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Benign Tumors Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$800

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