Minding the lumps and bumps

This week, I had the pleasure of working with a dog whose owner is very attentive and diligent.  She was the first owner in a long time to provide me with her dog’s ‘lump and bump’ chart.

Many dogs, particularly as they get older, develop lumps and bumps under the skin.  Noticing when a new lump appears, and getting your vet’s opinion about it, are very important.  Many lumps are not sinister and require no attention because they are benign.    Others aren’t.

Whenever I take on a new dog/client for massage and rehab therapy, I start keeping records of the dog’s muscle condition, problems areas, and lumps/bumps.   Since I see dogs on regular basis (the length between visits varies according to the dog’s condition), I can sometimes pick up changes that their owner misses.  This is yet another benefit of massage therapy!

But, for the most part, an owner should be familiar with their dog’s condition.  Through regular grooming, you will notice where your dog has lumps and bumps and know which ones have already been tested by your vet for ‘nasty’ cells.  So start with an outline of your dog’s body and record where they are.

Refer back to your chart periodically when you are bathing and grooming your dog.  If you find something that wasn’t there before, record its size and location on your chart and take your chart with you to the vet.

If you are local to the Canterbury area, we also discuss lump and bump charts and how to compile them in my dog massage workshops for owners.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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