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Published: Apr 30, 2012

When you are relaxing with your dog and giving it a good belly rub, it is normal to be concerned if you feel a lump or bump you know was not there before. Many owners jump to the conclusion that their dog has cancer, but this is not always the case. If you feel a strange lump or bump on your canine, you should take it to the veterinarian to get it checked out.

A lipoma is one of the most common lumps and bumps you might find on your dog. These are soft, rounded and non-painful masses. They are usually benign, but if your vet finds cause for concern, he or she will consider removing it. Other lumps may be caused by plugged oil glands in the skin, causing sebaceous cysts, which usually rupture on their own and heal without treatment, according to PetMD.com.

A vet is the only one who can tell if your dog's lump is truly a cancerous tumor, since benign and malignant lumps may be similar in appearance. For instance, a spindle cell tumor in dogs such as a soft tissue sarcoma can be diverse in appearance, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. These masses can look very similar to lipomas or another type of tumor. The only way to know for sure is to have your veterinarian take a needle sample or biopsy the lump.  If a mass is determined to be cancerous, a vet may schedule to have it removed using a dog incision that usually heals well with proper care.

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