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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18966
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Found a lump in my dog's sternum, just under the skin. She

Customer Question

Found a lump in my dog's sternum, just under the skin. She has been losing weight and struggling when getting up the last few weeks. She is seven, and a diabetic black Lab.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your dog?
Customer: She developed cataracts and is blind. She goes to the vet regularly and I set an appointment for Thursday. She is on Novilin N and gets insulin twice a day. She has been on the same grain free dog food for six months. Her appetite is good
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
The lump is golf ball size, and she seemed to be in pain when I was touching it
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:

How long has the lump been present?

Is it hard or soft?

When was she last tested to check her diabetic stability?

Any increases in thirst or urination?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
We just found the lump, may not have noticed before weight loss. It felt soft rather than hard. She was at the vet a couple months ago, no lump was present at that time. Thirst and urinating has been normal.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Thank you,

Now If the lump feels soft, is sore, and is recent in onset, it may just be a hematoma (blood blister), soft tissue inflammation, insect sting, or an abscess. Though if it is growing in size, then we'd also have to consider a cyst, a fatty lump or tumor. And I have to note, that those recent onset concerns don't fit with the weight loss or the weakness she had before. Those make me wary of her diabetes being unstable, there being possible secondary kidney compromise from the condition, or something else afoot. And I'd note that the weakness can be related to these or could also be due to arthritis.

With this in mind and the fact we have a few different issues, we need to tread with care. It would be ideal to have her bloods and urine checked to make sure those other issues aren't present and ensure we get everything under control to stop any weight loss. As well, if her joints are giving her discomfort, then an OTC joint support (ie glucosamine, chondroitin, omega 3 fish oils, etc) could be considered.

Otherwise, in regards ***** ***** lump, if there is any chance or a bee/spider/wasp sting or bite, then we can reduce allergic type swelling using antihistamines. Commonly we will use Benadryl (Diphenhydramine; More Info/Dose). A low dose (ie. 0.5mg per pound of body weight twice daily) is often enough to reduce these signs over a few days. We do usually like to keep the dose low in dogs, as they can have drowsiness with this medication (just like people). As well, of course, this medication shouldn't be used if your wee one has any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medication without speaking to your vet first.

Furthermore, to reduce swelling with any of these sudden appearing concerns, you can also start warm compressing this lump. This can reduce inflammation as well as encourage hematomas and allergic reactions to settle. Just to note, you can make a safe warmer for use as a warm compress by filling a clean sock 2/3rds full with uncooked white rice. Tie it closed and microwave (approx 1-1.5 min). Before use, do make sure to shake to allow the heat to distribute before using as a compress. (If it cools, you can re-warm as required).

Though if you use the above, but the lump doesn't settle, then we'd need to think about those other issues. In that case, the best way to approach an abnormal lump like this is to have your vet evaluate the lump via fine needle aspiration (FNA). This is where the vet uses a needle to harvest cells from the lump. If they remove pus, then this tells us that there is infection present and antibiotics can be dispensed. If blood or blood stained fluid is removed, then trauma was most likely and pain relief/dog-safe anti-inflammatories can be used to settle the swelling. Otherwise, if the above are not found, then the cells they harvest can be stained to tell us what is present and whether it is something that needs more serious treatment. And that is ideal since masses are always easier to remove when small then once we've let them grow overly large.

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you. I have been higher Benadryl for allergies...lots of weeds near house so she has been itching. I will try the warm compress. I didn't know if all her symptoms could be related or due to different conditions.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

You are very welcome,

That sounds like a good plan and as I noted we'd not expect the weight loss and weaknes to be directly related to this lump.

Best wishes,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.