Seeing bumps or lumps on a dog’s skin is a nearly everyday thing for us at our veterinary clinic. Bumps or lumps can come from many different causes, some more serious than others. It’s important to have any new lumps or bumps checked out so that proper treatment can be taken.
This article is here to help you try to identify what the lump or bump on your dog’s paw is so that you can seek proper treatment. We will review the top causes of lumps on dog paws, and what you should do. Keep in mind that proper veterinary diagnosis is still a must, but we will do our best to get you all the information you need.
What Are the Causes of Bumps on Dog Paws?
Bumps and lumps on a dog’s paw may come from some of the same issues that lumps on other areas of the body can, or they may be something unique to the paw.
1. Foreign Body
Your dog’s feet are into everything that they do. Grass seeds, thorns, and thistle stickers often have an easy route for getting into your dog’s feet and causing a problem. Once they make their way into the skin between a dog’s toes or into the foot pad, they’re free to set up an often nasty and inflammatory reaction complete with redness, swelling, and heat. These lumps will cause a dog to lick and chew their feet, and they may even start to ooze some thick, colored discharge.
Without treatment, foreign bodies can cause abscess and even infections that spread in some cases. Soaking the foot and getting antibiotics from your veterinarian will get rid of most foreign body issues. More serious issues may require surgical removal. Look to pay anywhere from $50 for a vet visit and antibiotics to $500 or more for a surgical removal.
2. Lick Granuloma
This is a lump brought on by licking. While mild licking by your dog can be soothing and even healing, excess licking can be irritating. It can also create raised lumps usually with a raw surface. Lick granulomas can be different sizes and may bleed or become infected.
Treatment needs to be aimed at curing whatever is causing the licking. This may be itchiness from allergies or irritants, pain from arthritis, boredom, or anxiety. Once the underlying cause is under control, the wound can be treated with topical or oral antibiotics and an e-collar to prevent further licking.
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Lick granulomas can cost $100-$500 or more for diagnostics and treatment depending on the underlying cause.
3. Interdigital Cysts
These red bumps can pop up between your dog’s toes and are often filled with blood or pus. They can become quite large and painful enough to make a dog limp or lick them excessively. Interdigital cysts develop from irritated or plugged hair follicles. They are more likely to form after an injury, irritation such as licking, in obese dogs, or those that have difficulty walking. Dogs with short haircoats that are prone to ingrown hairs are also more commonly affected.
Interdigital cysts are often treated with an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory if they are causing a lot of swelling. Medicated shampoos may help prevent additional cysts from forming. Surgery may be needed to remove especially large or bothersome interdigital cysts.
Cost to diagnose and treat this issue can be anywhere from $50 for an exam and medications, to $500 or more for surgical removal. You can see an image below or here.
Just like people, dogs can get corns on their feet. These are growths that occur on the keratinized part of the foot, so the foot pad in dogs. They can be very painful, causing limping and licking of the affected foot. Corns are thought to be caused by a papilloma virus infection, similar to warts, or some kind of repetitive pressure or irritation.
Corns are often treated by a veterinarian with different ointments, manual abrasion, or surgical removal. Look to spend $100-$500 or more depending on the treatment of choice. View a corn picture here.
Here’s a benign little red bump that can develop on a dog’s paw. They usually show up in younger dogs and grow very quickly. But don’t worry, these bumps aren’t cancerous and they typically aren’t painful. Most histiocytomas will go away on their own within a couple of months. Larger ones that are bothersome may need to be surgically removed.
Digital squamous cell carcinoma and digital melanoma are the two main culprits of cancerous lumps on a dog’s paw. Both are typically fast-growing lumps that often change shape over time. They may even ulcerate and bleed or cause the neighboring tissue to die. Dogs may also have a swollen toe, limp or lick the foot.
Malignant tumors on a dog’s paw can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is especially prone to metastasizing. If there is a single tumor that hasn’t yet spread, surgical removal is often the best choice. If the tumor has spread, chemotherapy or radiation may be tried or palliative care may be the best option.
These bumps are going to cost a little more. Look to pay $500-$1,500 or more for diagnosis and palliative medications or surgery and chemotherapy. You can see an image of a paw tumor here.
Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.
Related post: 11 common types of lumps and bumps on dogs
Three Steps You Can Take at Home to Help Your Dog with Bumps on Paw
Any new lump or bump should be checked out by a veterinarian simply because you never know exactly what you’re dealing with until you know what types of cells make up a lump. However, there are some instances when you can try at-home treatments first. This is true if you know that the cause of your dog’s paw lump is a foreign body or an interdigital cyst. In those cases, you may try the following:
1. Clean and Soak
Dog paws can be hard to keep clean, but for minor lumps and bumps, like an interdigital cyst or foreign body abscess, that’s just what they need. Clean the paw with warm water and a mild soap. Rinse thoroughly. You can also soak the paw in warm water and Epsom salts to further cleanse it and to help draw out any little thorns or stickers that may be causing problems.
2. Cover it up
After the paw is clean and dry, you may want to apply a light wrap to continue to keep it clean and to keep your dog from working it over with their tongue. A baby or kid’s sock works really well depending on the size of your dog, otherwise a layer or two of vet wrap will do the job. If you’ve never wrapped a dog’s foot before, be sure to get some professional advice first.
3. Watch it
Lumps and bumps change quickly, so be sure to keep a frequent eye on what’s going on with your dog’s paw. Any changes in size, shape, or color should be immediately seen by a veterinarian. If the cyst or abscess doesn’t get better within a couple of days of at-home treatment, see your veterinarian.
How Severe are Lumps and Bumps on Dog Paws?
Finding a new bump or lump anywhere on your dog may be a bit alarming and rightfully so. Malignant lumps can move very quickly and spread to other parts of the body, so you want to be sure to get a veterinary diagnosis on any new lump on your dog’s paw. At-home treatments may be tried until you can schedule a veterinary visit or if your pup has had recurrent problems with interdigital cysts or foreign body abscesses.
What is the Veterinary Treatment for Lumps on Dog Paws?
When your vet sees a lump or bump on your dog’s paw, they’re going to want to find out exactly what it is. That usually involves sticking a needle in it and finding out what cells are making it up. Most of the time, your vet will be able to diagnose the issue by looking at the cells under a microscope, but they may also want to send a sample to a pathologist.
Depending on what your vet initially finds, they may also want to take x-rays of the chest or do some bloodwork if they suspect cancer. This will help them determine if the cancer has spread.
The treatment for a lump on your dog’s paw is going to depend on what’s causing it. This can vary from antibiotics for minor abscesses to surgery and chemotherapy for malignant tumors. The cost is also going to range based on what is done. You may pay anywhere from $50-$1,500 or more.
What you Should Know Before the Vet Visit
Be sure to tell your vet when you first noticed the lump and if it’s changed in size, shape, or color since then. You’ll also want to tell them if you’ve tried any treatments at home and if the lump got better or worse with those treatments.
Related post: 11 common types of lumps and bumps on dogs
Dog Bumps FAQs with the Vet
What could a lump on a dog’s paw be?
Lumps and bumps that show up on a dog’s paw can be any number of things ranging from abscesses and cysts to malignant tumors. Be sure to have any new lumps or bumps checked out by a veterinarian.
What does a cancerous lump feel like on a dog?
Cancerous lumps can feel and look differently depending on what type they are. However, most are firm and they often have an irregular shape that grows quickly. Some cancerous lumps may be fixed, while others are moveable. That is why it’s so important to get a vet’s diagnosis on any lumps or bumps.
What does a cyst look like on a dog’s paw?
Cysts are small or large lumps that are often fluid filled. They may rupture and leak pus or blood.
What does a sarcoma look like on a dog’s paw?
Sarcomas are often seen as raised lumps that feel firm. They are often ulcerated and may bleed. Sarcomas can also cause swelling of the toe.
How do I know if a bump on my dog’s paw is serious?
Generally, lumps that grow quickly or are irregularly shaped and colored indicate a malignant tumor. But not all bad lumps may look like this. So, it’s important to get a veterinary diagnosis for any lump or bump that shows up on your dog’s paw or anywhere on their body.
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