Every once in a while, you might wake up to find that your four-legged friend’s been licking a wet patch of fur all night long. The skin looks red and irritated, and then you notice a lump. What on earth could that be?
There are a variety of itchy skin masses that can plague furry friends, but one of the more common types is a histiocytoma, a fast-growing type of benign lump that can show up literally overnight on a dog’s ear flaps, neck, legs or trunk. They are rare in cats, and tend to occur in dogs less than 2 years of age, particularly Great Danes, Boxers, Labradors and Dachshunds. They can also be very itchy and irritating ― hence the constant licking.
At the first sign of a problem, bring your pet to the vet, who will take your pet’s age, breed, the mass’s location and other factors into consideration. Most histiocytomas resolve on their own, but if the mass doesn’t go away or your vet suspects something more sinister like a mast cell tumor or lymphoma, a small needle biopsy may be necessary for diagnosis. Your vet will be able to offer recommendations to help your pet lick his lump for good!