Russell Vale Animal Clinic

17 Bellambi Lane
Bellambi, NS 2518


What is that lump on my doggy?  The one with the multiple bumps?

(to the tune of "How  much is the doggy in the window...)


If I got a dollar for every time a client who, as soon as I touch a dog's lump, says " What is that? Is it cancer?", I would be a much richer vet!  I haven't come up with an answer any better than " It's a lump, and I don't know" .

A lump is a lump, and until extra tests are done, I don't know if it is a good lump (one that means we have time to do something about it), or a bad lump (one that has the potential to kill your pet).

Important facts to remember...

1. Size does not matter in the lump world - small lumps can be more cancerous than larger ones

2. Lumps don't have a "typical look"... well most don't anyway.  We can't touch a soft lump and call it a lipoma, nor can we look at an irregular one, and call it a wart.

3. Fine needle aspirates have their limitations.... but they are still useful for identifying what many lumps are. 

4. Lumps often do not hurt, so that is no reason to leave them on the pet. 

5. Most vets would not do the "wait and see" approach, for lumps, preferring to surgically remove them, cure the pet of this problem, and get the lump's pathology tested by a professional pathologist. 

It is very rewarding to examine a loved pet, test its lump, and advise the owner that it is "just a lipoma".  At the other end of the spectrum is when the lump is tested, and comes back as a cancer, and decisions need to be made on dealing with it.

But in all cases, at least we know what we are dealing with, rather than ignoring it, and hoping it will go away.  Most lumps do not go away.

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So, let's fast forward - what if we test your pet's lump, and it needs surgery to remove it.  What happens then?  Where do you go to get the surgery done?

Well, I am an experienced, capable surgeon, able to tackle many tumour surgeries, but not all.  There are some lumps and some positions of lumps which means a specialist surgeon is required.  However, in most cases, you need not travel any further than Dr Liz's place at Russell Vale Animal Clinic.

Some of my most rewarding and interesting cases....



was a 12 year old Cattle dog who came in because her eye was bulging from her face. The owner (a nurse) thought the eye needed to be removed. I wasn't so sure. We anaesthetised Molly, and removed (through the mouth), a lipoma (or fatty lump) from behind the eye - the lipoma had grown behind the eye and was pushing it out slowly. Molly made a full recovery and went home that night with a normal looking face.







(sorry, don't have a photo of Sandy)


was a 10 year old Staffy who came to see me for an eyelid nodule. Sandy had seen another vet two years previously, and was told she needed to see a specialist as the lump was so big. It was big, and it was bleeding. But when I examined it, I could see it's base, or area of attachment to the eyelid was actually small (think of it like a mushroom - the bulk of it was the head of the mushroom, but it was attached by a stalk to the eyelid). Surgery was performed, a section of eyelid margin was removed (the stalk of the tumour), and Sandy did well. Two years on, there was no recurrence of the nodule.



Meibomian Gland



This isn't a photo of Ellie either. 

The privacy of our pets is important to us.


 is a 8 year old XB, that we had seen recently.

She had a nodule over her right elbow, which was bleeding, and bothering the owner. When we examined her, we found she also had a lump in front of her left shoulder.

We performed a fine needle aspirate on both lumps, and was highly suspicious of what they were.

The left shoulder lump required a very wide margin, with Ellie ending up with an incision 12 cm long.

Histopathology confirmed the suspicion and confirmed complete excision... Whew! 





1. Right elbow lump was a Cutaneous Histiocytoma

2. Left shoulder was a Grade 2 Mast Cell Tumour with a low mitotic index. 


Above are photos from my actual cases, although the cytology is of a mast cell tumour, it is from a different case.


But, not all cases are successful, and the outome is not always ideal.  Early assessment and diagnosis can  make the difference.  Sometimes, referral to a specialist surgeon is required, and we will be honest, and let you know when this is what is best for your pet.

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File NameDescription / Comment
Lumps and Bumps No 1I didn't write this handout, but it is a very comprehensive list of most of the lumps and bumps that are out there.
August 2012 - Lumps and Bumps No 1I didn't write this handout on lumps and bumps, but it is a very comprehensive list of the types of lumps dogs and cats can get, and stresses the point that diagnosis isn't easy - further tests are usually necessary.