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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 (chihuahua) has a bump on her head.

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My dog (chihuahua) has a bump on her head. It's the size of a small pimple, but hard. It doesn't look like a tick because, the bump in under the skin. what could it be?

Already Tried:
rubbing the bump, tried to squeeze it. she moves her head and it's hard to focus on

Thank you for your question. Is it painful or uncomfortable when you touch it?

Are there any other bumps anywhere on her body?

Is there a scab on the surface or is it entirely under the skin?

Customer :
it does not appear to be painful and there are no other bumps
it's entirely under the skin

Dr. John :
Okay thank you. This definitely sounds like a subcutaneous growth.

There are several types of growths and most are benign. The trouble is feeling and looking at the growth will not tell you what kind it is.

Customer :
it's not a tick right?

Dr. John :
No ticks don't burrow into the skin

Well the head does, but the body remains outside of the skin

Customer :
and will it go away, and is it unhealthy?

Dr. John :
So you basically have two options with this bump...
It likely will not go away if it is some type of tumor (histiocytomas - a specific type of growth will disappear within a few weeks) but no other types do

One you can just monitor it - if it becomes uncomfortable, increases in size, or changes in any other ways, you can then have it evaluated.

Option 2 is having it evaluated now - it is actually a pretty benign test - a needle is introduced into the bump to retrieve some cells (a small needle about the size of a vaccine needle)

The cells are then sprayed onto a slide, stained, and reviewed by a pathologist (a specialist that looks at these sort of things daily)

Based on what the pathologist sees, the bump may or may not need to be removed

Since she is 6 and the bump is tiny, non-painful, etc, chances are it isn't anything concerning... But there are some concerning skin tumors we see, such as mast cell tumors, that need to be surgically removed or can cause major problems later.

Since she is 6, meaning she is fairly young (malignant tumors are usually seen in older dogs)

Customer :
okay, so it sounds like I should just monitor it for now. Should I squeeze it?

Dr. John :
No, I definitely don't remember squeezing it or trying to pop it or anything...

If it is a cyst (a growth that produces fluid) and you pop it, this will open up the skin an allow it to become infected

Customer :
okay. So signs to look for will be growth, irritation, or redness?

Dr. John :
If it is all solid tissue and you squeeze it, it will just eventually hurt her and not accomplish anything!

Yes, main thing is increasing in size

Other things would be redness, irritation, hair loss, or her seeming bothered by it (rubbing her head or acting sensitive if you touch it)

Customer :
thank you. that was very helpful

Dr. John :
You are very welcome! Please let me know if you have any further questions

Dr. John and 4 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you