It’s is true to say that vets and pet owners alike worry – justifiably – about any lumps and bumps that appear on animals.
As vets, we will test each and every new lump that we see. Many can be proven to be a fatty lump with a simple test performed in the consulting room. Some, however, are more concerning and require further action. Lumps in the mammary region in female dogs are always more of a cause for concern and we strongly recommend early intervention. The sooner we see a lump, the sooner we can test it and treat it, and the better the chance of a complete recovery.
Female dogs that are neutered early have much less chance of developing mammary tumours than those that are not.
Around half of lumps in the mammary region are malignant; that is they are cancerous and can spread around the body causing masses to from other organs such as the lungs and the glands. There are other conditions that can cause thickenings in dog’s teats, such as false pregnancies, cysts, benign tumours and infections such as mastitis.
Once a vet identies a lump in any of your dog’s teats they will often recommend surgery. Once the mass has been removed we would send it off to have it looked at by a pathologist, who will be able to tell what kind of mass it is.
The at-risk patients for serious mammary lumps are not spayed, older female dogs. We always check these older girls for mammary lumps when we examine them during their annual booster appointment, but I would also suggest that owners also check their dog for lumps and bumps.
If you have a younger female dog and you don’t want to have puppies from her, then seriously consider having her neutered (spayed) to help prevent these problems. And finally, if you see any lumps or bumps on your pet, get them straight to see your vet.