My eight-year-old Frenchie has had a lump on his leg for the last few months. It was initially checked at the vet’s and given the all clear, but since then it seems to have changed in colour and the hair has grown a lot darker. Should I get it checked again?

Paul Manktelow advises…

Dogs inevitably get lumps and bumps as they get older and the majority of them are usually benign and nothing to worry about. However, I always advise owners to keep a close eye on them to monitor their shape and appearance.

As a general rule, if the lump is below the skin, then the fur will be the same colour and this is the case in the most common benign mass, which is a lipoma (fatty lump). If the lump below the skin is freely moveable and not attached to anything, then I don’t worry too much unless it’s growing very rapidly.

If the fur changes colour, which it has done in this case, then it’s usually a sign that the lump is involved within the tissues of the skin layer. Again, some of these masses can be benign, but they can also change in nature to become malignant, as is the case in some skin cancers, such as melanoma or carcinoma.

Since you’ve noticed a definite change in the lump, I would advise getting it checked by your vet as soon as you can. If they are concerned, they will probably want to take a biopsy or remove the lump altogether, to send it to a lab and identify the exact origin of the mass and see whether any further treatment is necessary.

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