I noticed a crusty, scabby growth on the top of my yorkie's head. The vet suggested I wait to see if it changes before we take action. What kind of changes should I look for? Will they be rapid and obvious or subtle? How long should I give the growth/soar to change or heal before I go back into the vet? Thanks.
A growth on the skin of an older dog is usually a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant, fortunately most of them are benign, such as sebaceous adenomas, which are one of the most common benign skin tumors in older dogs. In older dogs we often will just monitor small benign growths, to avoid the stress of surgical removal, or remove them when convenient during other procedures such as dental cleanings. However I always check any new new masses with a needle to obtain cells for analysis, to make sure the mass is benign. If there are any suspicious cells, or if the mass grows or changes, then it should be surgically removed and biopsied, it is easier to remove them when they are smaller. Some tumors can open up and get secondarily infected, so a topical antibiotic ointment may be helpful. Try this for a week, then talk to your veterinarian about at least sampling it with a needle to help put your mind at rest.
Kimberly Coyner, DVM DACVD
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.