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Dr. John
Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience:  significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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My dog has a large bump on the upper lip

Resolved Question:

I have noticed a large bump on my dog's upper lip - in her whiskers region. She is a 2 1/2 year old GSD. The bump looks red and there is an area on the top of it that looks like it is crusting over. I'll take her to the vet on Friday, but do you have any ideas what this might be? Is there anything I can do to take care of it at home?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 years ago.
Dr. John :

Does it resemble this at all? Not necessarily exact location, but appearance.

This is similar too - it is pretty large but same type of growth----

These are actually the same type of growth, and you can see how much they vary from one another...
Customer :

The first one is a little smaller and shinier than what I see on my dog. The second looks larger and flatter.

Dr. John :

Yes, they can vary in appearance, but basically a red raised bump on the face, somewhat similar to these?

Customer :

Somewhat similar. I can send a picture.

Dr. John :

Great - got it.No discharge out of this correct? Is it sensitive to touch?

Customer :

I don't see any discharge, but it looks a little crusty on top. She doesn't like me to mess with it

Dr. John :

There are two likely things it can be based on this image and your description.

One possibility is some kind of bacterial infection - since it is only in a single location on her face, it is unlikely to require any treatment since it is so localized.

If more of these show up, however, she could need some oral antibiotics to clear it up.

(basically the same as a pimple on a person, but deeper)

The second likely thing it could be is a benign growth we commonly see in younger dogs - these growths typically show up on the head and face or feet of young dogs.

Customer :

She's actually on an oral antibiotic already for a tic bite. About 7 days into the 21 day course

Dr. John :

Okay great, well definitely continue that.

The growth I am discussing is known as a histiocytoma.

Most of these will disappear without any treatment within a few months after showing up.

It is possible this could be something more concerning such as a malignant growth (such as a mast cell tumor), however this is VERY unlikely given her age.

Customer :

Is there something I should be doing? Try to clean it why hydrogen peroxide or something? Or just leave it alone?

Dr. John :

You could gently clean it with some warm water one time - but I wouldn't put anything else on it at this point.

If you are concerned and want it further evaluated (rather than the wait and see approach), a simple procedure can be done to find out what it is.

A needle biopsy can be taken (just a vaccine needle size) in which case cells would be collected and put on a slide.
The slide can then be submitted to a pathologist for review and the pathologist can determine exactly what it is.
Customer :

OK. I plan to take her to the vet Friday, I just wanted to know if there was anything I should be doing today

Dr. John :

Nope, I wouldn't do anything at all with it today beyond cleaning it with some water, and just once so it doesn't become irritated at all.

Customer :


Dr. John :

If you take the wait and see approach, just be sure to bring her in if the growth develops discharge, increases in size, or if more of them show up on her face.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

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