The day a pet parent detects a lump on their pet, becomes their worst day. Yet, vets and other experts say that the odds of a lump or a bump turning out to be cancer are rare. In most cases, they turn out to be harmless. But if you find a palpable bump or if it persists for over a month, it is time to call the vet.
What’s causing them?
Puss accumulation due to infection on the skin, swelling due to excessive licking or even allergies are the common causes for lumps. Infections by fungi, worms, bacteria or larve or insect bites, too result in lumps. However, there is every chance that it could be a cyst, tumour or cancer, it is hence necessary to visit a veterinarian doctor for a thorough examination.
When to go the vet?
The best case scenario is to get even a small lump checked by the vet. In the worst case scenario when a pet might be suffering from cancer, it is easier to detect and treat them as early as possible. In most cases, the tumours are benign and even when are not, early detection and treatment can make a huge difference to a pet’s health.
How do they detect them?
A vet might be able to roughly predict the cause for the lump. For this, they might have to perform an aspirate or appropriate testing. The procedure is called an FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology). True to its name, the procedure involves inserting a small needle into the mass to take multiple samples. The samples will be evaluated by a certified pathologist to determine the cause of the mass.
“The aim of this (FNAC) would be to allow faster and early diagnosis; to try and minimize wide spread effects of the lump for the pet and to make it a more treatable process,” says Dr Amruta Parulkar, a veterinarian from Mumbai.
The procedure is simple and can be performed routinely without the need for a sedative or anesthesia. Since it does not cause much pain, pets tolerate the sample taking process well, as it feels like taking a regular shot under the skin. The FNAC is also inexpensive, and is extremely crucial for the pet to undergo the procedure so that the right kind of treatment can be administered at the right time, for a better outcome.
The mildest of the lumps and infections can be treated with antibacterial shampoo washes, steroids to control itching or simple clipping. If lumps are caused as reaction to other health problems, vets treat the underlying health problem to let the lump heal by itself. Certain molds, tumours and nodules might however require surgical removal. Even early-stage cancerous tumours can be removed by surgery, the others might require further treatments like chemotherapy.
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