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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16908
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I just found a lump on my dogs paw.

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I just found a lump on my dogs paw. It appears not be an abscess, etc. it is on the outside of his back paw pad. I have a picture if there's a way to add that. It's scaly just like the rest of the paw pad


Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I'm sorry to hear that Jack has a lump on his foot next to his paw pad and I understand your concern about it.


This may be a benign growth called a histiocytoma.
These growths pop up quickly, grow quickly for a month or so and then tend to regress and resolve on their own within 2 to 3 months. They are most common in
young dogs on the face, ears and legs and paws. But older dogs can get them too
and if they scratch or lick at them they may not resolve.

If the dog licks the mass it will hang around longer or can get infected. You can use a drop of cortisone cream on them to reduce inflammation. If they are scratched open I would recommend an antibacterial ointment instead.
And I would recommend an E-collar for him if he is licking to try and stop him from licking any more. Even if this is a histiocytoma if it doesn't slowly decrease in size or resolve completely in 3 months it should be surgically removed as it is unlikely to go away on its own at that point and can lead to a secondary infection.

Another possibility is a tumor called a mast cell tumor. These have variable degrees of malignancy, some can be treated with just surgical removal, some are quite aggressive and will spread deep into tissue and to local lymph nodes. The only way to know for sure how malignant the tumor is is to remove it and have it biopsied.

Other tumors that this may be include a basal cell tumor but these are much less common in dogs then in people or a melanoma.
These tend to be fairly benign behaving in the skin and respond to surgical

A plasma cell tumor is another possibility.

Of these tumors none resolve completely on their own except a histiocytoma. Mast
cell tumors will change in size if they are bumped, and then go down slightly in size but never fully resolve on their own.

If you want to be absolutely certain of a diagnosis your veterinarian can perform a fine needle aspirate on the bump. He or she puts a tiny needle in the bump, draws cells out, and looks at the cells under the microscope to identify them and give you a tentative diagnosis.


Best of luck with your pup, please let me know if you have any further questions.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
We recently spent a great deal of money on him last spring with a mystery illness he had. He's starting to get quite expensive.

I forgot to add it does not hurt him. I don't notice a change in his fair and it doesn't hurt when touched.

I understand that you may be strapped financially after paying for a previous expensive illness.

I am glad to hear that the bump isn't painful for him but all that means is that an infection is much less likely then a mass as the cause.

Though the masses I listed are the most likely possibilities no one can tell just by looking at a lump. There is really no way to know what this lump is without at least an aspirate of the mass, and sometimes we need to biopsy or remove the mass to get a definitive diagnosis.

I would call his veterinarian and ask how much a fine needle aspirate would cost. It is a relatively quick and inexpensive test because he would not need to be sedated and we can usually perform the test ourselves in the office.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok thank you. He had several before so I do know the cost already. I don't think this is tied to his previous illness, but could be.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I forgot to ask if the picture came through.

Yes, the picture came through quite nicely.

I see a pink raised mass involving tissue under the superficial skin at the junction between the paw pad and haired skin.

If you don't mind my asking what was his previous illness?

If he has a history of previous mast cell tumors then I would be highly suspicious that this is another one.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He had a Fever of unknown origin and swollen spleen. Spleen was aspirated as it looked like it had a tumor. His fever was 104-105 for over three weeks and we ruled out everything. He developed a murmur but was decided it was due to high fever. He developed a mass at the site where a few injections were given and it was aspirated and found no tumor cells. It did have a few mast cells but was sent off and no tumor cells in it. He had several ultrasounds of heart and spleen and was on and off hospital observation for about 2 weeks. He finally responded to doxycycline.
He had been given IV doxy and fever would slowly go back down and would go home on minocycline and fever would skyrocket. I finally put it together that he would only respond to doxy event though they were similar. Spleen size finally started to go down in his last hospitalization.

Rickettsial diseases had been ruled out, but with the responding to doxycycline it again was a possibility.

Thanks for the information.

It sounds like he had a tick borne illness. There are times that we get false negatives with testing but with a large spleen, fever, and a good response to Doxycycline that seems the most likely possibility.

I would not expect to see a mass like he has now caused by a tick borne illness, so I think that this is a new, independent problem for him.

Dr. Kara and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Rosey,

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

Dr. Kara
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
His lump seems to have crusted over a little. It's still there, but now it's hard and very thick.
Thanks for the update on your fellow.
If it is crusting over and drying up this may be a histiocytoma, as those can resolve on their own over time. Though these are less commonly seen in an older dog, they can occur and if it seems to go away completely then that is likely what the mass was and no further treatment will be necessary.