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
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