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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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Over the course of the last year, all three of my dogs, and

Customer Question

Over the course of the last year, all three of my dogs, and two cats have developed small cysts. Most of these cysts are located on their chest, semi-solid and subcutaneous. I originally dismissed them as fatty cysts. Some have grown rather large near the shoulder/armpit of one of the hounds. What I find odd is that suddenly all species and ages are having the same issue in the same location. Is there something happening that could be causing this? Parasites? Well water?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. Thanks for sending in your question for us.

There really are no recognized "contagious" lumps or lumps that are related to environmental causes like parasites or well water. It's more likely that you are seeing these masses now more because firstly, your pets are getting older, and secondly, you are looking for them more thoroughly. It is quite common for dogs (and to a lesser extent cats) to develop lumps and bumps as they age.

In general, lumps and bumps on the outside of the pet are frequently benign, meaning that they aren't a major concern in terms of cancer. Having said that, though, there are a percentage of masses on the outside of a dog that can be malignant, and there are also those that are benign but cause an issue because they are either growing very large or they are continually breaking open and bleeding. An experienced vet can often get an idea of what a lump could be just by looking at it and feeling it. If I’m not exactly sure what a mass is, I’ll sometimes do what we call a fine needle aspirate, which is where we get some tissue for microscopic examination using a small needle. This can help differentiate between benign and malignant types of masses. In cases where I think that the mass is malignant or will continue to bleed or get infected, I recommend removal of the mass. A decision on whether or not to remove a mass takes into account many items, like the age and health status of the pet, the location of the mass, the past behavior of the mass (ie: is it growing quickly or breaking open?), and the likelihood of it being malignant based on our noninvasive tests.

The only way to know for sure what a mass is would be to remove it (or a portion of it) and send it to the lab for biopsy. The lab looks at the mass on a microscopic level to determine exactly what the origin is. Many masses won't require intervention, but it's always wise to have the vet check them to be sure.

I hope that this information is helpful to you - please let me know what other questions I can answer.

~Dr. Sara


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Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.
Hi Kat,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Multiple Dogs. How is everything going?
Doc Sara