Next to spays, neuters, and dentals, a “lumpectomy” (from the Greek –ectomy meaning to cut out, and the English slang lump- meaning… lump.) is one of the most common surgical procedures at most veterinary hospitals. At some point in your pet’s lifetime, it is very likely you will come across a lump, bump, nodule, or mass. Therefore, it is always best to know the signs for which you should be looking. That way, you can know more about your pet’s situation. As always, with any concern, you should seek veterinary medical attention. The following list does not replace an examination, but if the decision is made to continue to monitor a mass, this is similar to the information you would be provided with afterwards.
These signs are often close to what you might already know when checking yourself for skin abnormalities. They follow the alphabetic pattern of ABCDE.
A- Asymmetry: Drawing a line through the center of any mass should provide you with two identical halves. If they don’t, then this mass is asymmetrical.
B- Border: A growth should have a smooth, even border. An uneven or choppy edge is of more concern.
C- Color: Look for one uniform color throughout the mass. A mottled color appearance, especially with darker tans, brown, blacks, or sometimes red or purple, could be more problematic.
D- Diameter: If you have noticed the mass has been increasing in size, then that is abnormal.
E- Evolving: Any change- in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting- can be dangerous. This is usually the most important factor, as it encompasses all the others. As I often say, I like issues that DON’T change, and the longer they DON’T change the happier I am.
Typically, benign masses do not show any of these signs. Having one or more of them, means that you should definitely make a veterinary appointment and get that bump checked.
-Jason Rivas DVM and owner of Kimball Animal Hospital