Diagnosing a Dog Skin Bump

Dog skin that's healthy is free from rash, infection, scaly skin or skin darkening. Some pets develop skin bumps or lumps without any accompanying symptoms. Others may suffer from dermatitis or skin conditions such as rash, skin lesions and excessive itching. Skin bumps may appear in pets of all age ranges and varying breeds. In order to treat the bump, it's necessary to determine the cause, severity and type of bump present. Few lumps are filled with fluids and it's important to determine if it's malignant or benign in nature.

Common Types of Dog Skin Bumps

  • Abscesses
  • Sweat gland cysts
  • Tumors
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Granuloma
  • Hematoma

Causes of Skin Bumps

Although few bumps develop due to abnormal cell division that leads to internal tumors, pets may suffer from cysts or nodules that develop due to reactions to certain corticosteroid drugs, vaccines and skin infections. Bumps may also appear raised and red alongside inflamed skin. In addition, skin bumps commonly develop due to lymphoma or swelling of the lymph nodes in certain parts of the body.

Diagnosis of Skin Bumps in Dogs

In order to detect the underlying condition present, the vet will perform a thorough physical examination of the dog and take into consideration the pet's age and medical history. It's important to inform the vet about vaccines recently administered as several dogs suffer from vaccine associated sarcomas. Bumps accompanied by scaly or crusty skin are subject to skin scraping and fungal culture tests. The vet will also obtain a sample of discharge for laboratory analysis. Lumps that are internal to the body are palpated and subjected to a fine needle aspirate test. Biopsies are performed by obtaining a sample of the tissues present in the bump for laboratory testing. The vet may also perform the biopsy after surgical removal of the lump present. In order to diagnose bacterial infections or parasites, the vet will examine samples of skin cells under a microscope to detect mite larvae.

Other Diagnostic Tests

If the diagnosis is still unclear, the vet may perform other tests such as complete blood count tests, blood chemical profile tests, x-rays and ultrasounds to detect internal abnormalities. The treatment aims to cure the underlying cause of bumps and the duration of medication is decided after the severity of illness is determined.

Treatment of Skin Bumps in Dogs

Bumps caused due to minor skin conditions are treated with antibiotic medications, topical skin solutions and antihistamine drugs that reduce itching and inflammation. Pets suffering from malignant tumors require chemotherapy to slow disease progression and increase the quality of life. Chemotherapy may also be used in combination with radiation therapy to kill cancerous cells present in the adjacent tissues or organs. Surgery may not be suited to all dogs suffering from fibrosarcoma or lymphoma if the tumors involve major organs and sensitive parts of the body. Although pets respond favorably to chemotherapy medicines, they generally suffer from certain side effects.

Pet owners should identify the cause of dermatitis and minor skin conditions that cause bumps and adopt preventive measures to avoid future infection. The prognosis for dogs suffering from malignant tumors is based on the severity of cancer present. Chemotherapy prolongs survival time and reduces discomfort caused by cancer.