Monday, February 8, 2016

Dog bumps and lumps: 3 signs that you need to take action

Sinead has a lump on her head above her eye
Photoshop and Sinead the Boston terrier have been close friends over the last year. In almost every photo I've taken of her, I've manipulated a little bump above her eye with a spot of color, so you won't see it. But all of that special work might end this week. And I might have more work to do.

You see, Sinead's little eye bump is going through a few distressing changes. And that means she needs to head in for further testing today. I'm not sure what that testing will uncover, but I know it's right for her.

How do I know? Because she has been sporting one of the three key signs of dog lump problems over the last week or so. As soon as I saw that change, I knew she needed to go in. Here's what I've been watching for, in no particular order.

1. Change in size. 

The traditional benign lump or bump might grow a tiny bit larger with each passing day. Lipomas (fatty tumors), for example, grow a touch bigger as the cells pull in new stores of fat. You can't see the changes unless you measure them, but they are happening.

Dangerous types of lumps grow really big really fast, or they shrink and grow erratically. They seem to have minds of their own.

This is the change I'm seeing in Sinead. Some nights, that bump above her eye seems much bigger. Other nights, it's much smaller. That's worrisome, and it merits a closer look.

2. Change in color. 

Most benign dog lumps are the color of a dog's skin. These typical "skin tag" type lumps may have some blood flow to them, but they don't seem to pulse with blood. They're not red or black or green. Like most skin tags, they're the color of the dog's skin.

Sinead's skin on her head is white, as is her lump. And that's never changed. But if it did, that would be another reason to be concerned.

3. Change in comfort. 

Some dog bumps are really itchy. Dogs with these spots will dig at them, or they'll burrow into things like your carpet or your clothing. They're trying to scratch the itch, and they could scratch those bumps raw.

Sinead has never scratched this thing. And I'm grateful. But it's something I've been watching for.

Sinead the Boston terrier laughing

Even if a lump is suspicious, there's no need to panic. With the right care at the right time, I'm sure Sinead can kick this thing. And I have insurance for her, so I can get her the top-of-the-line care she might need if it ends up being epic.

But for now, I'm hoping it's just a benign thing that is getting ideas about escalation. And I'm hoping to have it off soon, so she can be her glorious self--even without Photoshop--in the near future. Fingers crossed!


  1. I have been known to photoshop Ruby a bit, too. She has some allergies that cause her to break out and I definitely remove it from pictures. Glad I'm not the only one.

    Hope Sinead gets a good report on her eye lump from her vet. I know it can be so stressful when you are not sure what is causing something.

    1. Sadly, it's a mast cell tumor. Grrr. She heads in for surgery on Monday. I'll need a lot of Photoshop to put her shaved fur back on! It always seems like they take so much during every surgery.