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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 26859
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Bump at the base of Dog's Neck. What could it be?

Customer Question

My dog just got neutered a week ago today and he ended up having an ear infection as well. I have been giving him his ear drops daily and just yesterday I noticed a small bump on the base of his head/neck in between his ears. It is a hard, crusty, black bump a little bigger than the size of a pea. I do not believe this bump was there a few days ago. What could this be? I am very worried.
We just also got a kitten so I am wondering if maybe it could have appeared after a cat scratch or something. The bump also does not seem to be bothering him when touched or during the day
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Can you upload a photo(s) of this bump to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if you can see that icon) or you can use an external app such as dropbox.com/

I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing. How old is your dog, please?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am not able to get a picture of it because his hair is covering it completely. I can just barley see the black since his skin is very light. It is just very crusty at touch. My dog just turned a year old in May
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. I always consider a histiocytoma when such a bump arises so quickly in a young dog. These are benign growths that reach a certain size and then crumble away within 12 weeks unaided. I want you to to do your best to clean that bump well and then compare it to a mature histiocytoma which you can see in the image I've uploaded to our conversation. let me know what you think, please.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
That is possibly the size of his bump but in the picture, it is red and does not look crusty. My dogs bump is also hard
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

After cleaning away the crust it may look like the photo. That's what I need to know. Histiocytomas are firm.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Do I just use soap and water to clean it? And do I scrub hard?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Yes, soap and water is fine. A gentle rubbing to remove the crust should suffice.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
He is very sensitive right now when I go near his head because he does not like his ear drops but from what I was able to do, I do not see the crust subsiding
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

You gave it your best. I'm necessarily constrained by not being able to see and feel this but I can tell you that such a bump in a young dog isn't serious. If he has stitches to remove that would be a good time to have his vet take a close look at this bump.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
a bump like that would not be cancerous?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

It's unlikely to find skin cancer at a year of age.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry for the late reply, he seems to be doing well. I have notice he now has 2 crusty bumps right next to each other but the one I noticed when I messaged you, it seems like the crust is about to come off.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

A crusted papule or pustule, perhaps. Not serious. Is it time for stitiches to come out yet?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I was able to get a picture of it because the hair around the bump is coming out...
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. It appears to be a scab. I would expect to find a focal skin infection perhaps secondary to a wound.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Is that something that would cause the hair loss? And would it go away on its own?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

An infected wound isn't likely to heal or, at least, heal very slowly. Yes, hair loss is consistent with skin infection. I would remove the scab to get a better look at what's going on. Best to let his vet do that. I have to leave my computer for a couple of hours but promise to reply as soon as I return if need be.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Okay, I just made an appt at the vet in an hour
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Sounds good. Keep me posted, please.