What Causes Bumps Under the Skin in Eight-Year-Old Dogs?

My parent's Boston Terrier Rocky has started developing small bumps under his skin, which do not seem to irritate him, but are not going away....


My parent’s Boston Terrier Rocky has started
developing small bumps under his skin, which do
not seem to irritate him, but are not going away.
They are very concerned because they are afraid he
may have cancer. Our Doberman got skin bumps
right before he got cancer and died quickly. They
took him to the vet today and biopsies were taken.
The vet said she’ll have answers in about 2 weeks.
Could there be a skin condition causing this other
than cancer? Rocky is eight years old, and by all
other measures a healthy dog. He gets well
exercised also. Dad walks him often, and he is
well taken care of. Thank you for your time.


West Paterson, NJ

There are many conditions other than cancer that can cause bumps under the skin in eight-year-old dogs. In fact, cancer is one of the less common causes of skin bumps in dogs like Rocky.

Two of the most common causes of masses under or on the skin are completely benign. Lipomas are soft masses that form under the skin. They are extremely common in dogs older than six years. They are harmless deposits of adipose (fat) tissue that can occur anywhere on the body, but they are especially prevalent on the trunk.

Sebaceous adenomas are wart-like masses that grow out of the skin in many middle aged and older dogs. They are unsightly but are generally harmless.

Both lipomas and sebaceous adenomas are technically tumors. But they are not cancer. The two types of masses are benign and rarely harm pets.

There are literally dozens of other types of masses that can develop on or under the skin of dogs. Although there are exceptions, most are benign.

To know whether a skin mass is dangerous it must be tested. The results that you will receive in two weeks will hopefully lay the matter to rest. But in the meantime, please don’t lose too much sleep worrying about the bumps. They most likely are not cancer.

About the photo: Arrow looks like she is healing well after having a hopefully benign tumor removed.

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