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I noticed yesterday that my dog has a little growth on the…

Hey there. I noticed...

Hey there. I noticed yesterday that my dog has a little growth on the lateral side of the left rear paw. It is dark in color and a little rough to the touch. My dog, Kash (4yo), does not seem to be in any discomfort when I touch or mess with it. Of course, the internet has me concerned because the first thing that pops up when I search for "growth on dogs foot" yields CANCER. Any help at all will be greatly appreciated!

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Some lumps are serious and some aren't. Let's see what the Veterinarian has to say. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Kash?

Lash is a black mouth cur mix, roughly 70lbs and stays inside most of the time. Lash has no previous medical issues.

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Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/19/2018
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18,842
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Technically speaking any growth could be considered cancer, but there are different types. Some are benign, they do not spread or invade deeply into surrounding tissue, and respond very well to surgical removal. The malignant types invade quickly into surrounding tissues and may spread to local tissues (local lymph nodes) or systemically into filter organs like the lungs, spleen, liver and distant lymph nodes.

This lump may be a sebaceous adenoma. These are very benign growths of the sebaceous (oil) glands and can be cream colored to reddish or black depending upon how irritated they get. They are very common on the head, neck, trunk and legs/feet. Once one pops up they seem to multiply. But really it's just if the dog has the genetic predisposition to form one then they will continue to get them. I tend to remove them if they break open or bother the dog as then they can get infected. Or if they are in a bad spot that can make removal difficult if they get larger (like on the foot) because there isn't much extra skint. They aren't really warts and aren't caused by a virus so don't respond to medication used to treat warts in people.
Dogs can get viral warts but they occur in young dogs and are generally on the lips, mouth and sometimes the genital area. They would be very rare in on the foot.

Another likely cause is 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 them they may not resolve.

If the dog rubs them or scratches they 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 her to try and stop her from scratching any more. If the bump doesn't 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. 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.

It has been my pleasure to help you today, and I hope that I have earned my 5 star rating. Please remember to rate my service by selecting the 5 stars at the top of the screen (rating me now does not close your question). You are welcome to ask follow up questions about my response here until you are satisfied, simply use the reply box and let me know. Thank you!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you so much for the reply. Can I upload a picture of it for you to look at?

Sure, use the paperclip icon on the toolbar at the top of the textbox.

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What I am seeing is a circular, rough surfaced, dark growth with increased scale and debris on top.

This looks very much like a histiocytoma, but without being able to see it in person and perform a fine needle aspirate of course I cannot be sure.

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18,842
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Gotcha. Thank you so much for your help, Dr. Kara! I'm having him checked out by the vet this week.

Sounds great, let me know what they find.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Will do! Thanks again!

My pleasure, glad to help.

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Hi,

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

Dr. Kara
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