How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr.Beth Your Own Question

Dr.Beth, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 631
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr.Beth is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Why is there a big swelling on the neck of my dog?

Customer Question

I just noticed a large swelling on my dog's neck. He has a long hair coat.

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 6 years ago.

Hi Customer,
I would like to help you with your question, but first I need a bit more information.
Is the mass you are feeling on his neck soft or hard?
Is it round?
Is it located on the back of his neck or under his chin?
When he eats, does it seem painful for him to chew?
Any change in the amount of water he is drinking? Any change in urination?
Is he on any medications? Any other medical problems?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

The mass is soft, but also firm. It gives way a little when pressure is applied. When I applied pressure to the mass, my dog did not show any sign of discomfort. It feels round and the location is on his neck behind his head. When he eats the only thing that has changed is that he is a picky eater. I have been feeding him IAMs Maturity for some time. Now I have to mix it with a canned dog food before he will eat it. I'm not noticing a change in his drinking and urination habits. He is not on any medications and has never been on any. I wish I could be so lucky.

Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 6 years ago.

Just a couple more questions.
How large is the mass?
How long has it been there?
Does it have any scabs on it?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I would have to say about the size of a half dollar. I don't have a clue to how long it has been there because of his hair. I can tell you that it has been two months that I have noticed the decline in his activity level. I am not feeling or seeing any scabs because the mass is under the skin.

Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 6 years ago.

Based on the description you have given, there are a number of possible causes for a mass in this location on a dog of his age:
1) Lipoma: The most common cause is something called a lipoma. This is a benign collection of fat that tends to form in a ball under the skin. It is a common finding in older dogs. Typically we simply monitor lipomas and will only surgically remove them if they cause discomfort to a dog.
2) Cancerous mass: older dogs can certainly develop cancerous lumps (like a mast cell tumor). Depending on the type of cancer, these will often be treated with surgery.
3) Infection: if your dog has been bitten by a cat or had a small skin wound in this area, an infection can develop and lead to an abscess. This would need to be treated by surgically opening the abscess to allow it to drain and also treating with oral antibiotics.
4) Cyst: some dogs will develop sterile fluid in sacs (cysts) under the skin

In order to determine what the mass is, you will need to visit your vet for a simple test called a fine needle aspirate (FNA). Your vet will use a small needle to collect a few cells from the mass. She will put these on a glass slide and send them off for a pathologist to look at them. Once you know what kind of cells are growing in the mass, you will be able to form a plan for treatment (or monitoring). This mass may or may not have a relationship to the other changes you have seen in your dog. You may want to have some routine blood work done at the same time to help form a complete picture of your dog's health.
Please let me know if I can be of further help.

Dr.Beth, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 631
Experience: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota
Dr.Beth and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the information and I will followup with his Vet.
Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 6 years ago.
You are welcome. I hope everything turns out for the best.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • Dr Scott Nimmo's Avatar

    Dr Scott Nimmo


    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery