Skin Bumps, Lumps and Lesions on Your Dog or Cat

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Anyone who has found a bump or lesion on their pet’s skin knows that it can be disconcerting. The discovery is usually immediately followed by a concern that it could be something serious. Rest assured that not all bumps or lesions are life-threatening, however if you see any kind of bump, lump, lesion or growth on your pet, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Changes in your pet’s skin may appear as:
  • A red or pink area on the skin
  • Raised areas of the skin (red or skin-colored)
  • Pimples
  • Changes in pigmentation
  • Hives 
There can be many different causes for a skin bump or lesion. They include external parasites (i.e., fleas/ticks), mites (mange), environmental allergies (direct contact with or inhalation of allergens such as dust, pollen, mold), food allergies (beef, dairy, wheat, eggs, etc.), infection with bacteria or yeast (most often secondary to another issue), ringworm, a hormonal imbalance, skin masses, cancer or underlying medical problems.
To make a diagnosis, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam and laboratory tests which may include blood tests, a skin scrape (for mites), skin impression smear (for bacteria and yeast), fine needle aspirate (inserted into a mass for sampling of cells), skin biopsy (sample of skin tissue is removed and sent for pathology) and culture of the skin (for fungus and/or bacteria). Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the skin bump or lesion.
If you find a bump on your pet’s skin, or have other concerns about your pet’s health, you can request an appointment with your Banfield veterinarian using our online tool.
Need more information?
For more information on some of the conditions that can cause bumps or lesions on your pet’s skin, please read the articles below.