Q. My dog has a lump on her chest and our vet aspirated it yesterday and found a lot of cells. She said it should be removed as soon as possible. Since she found a lot of cells does that mean it’s a cancerous tumor?
A. Lumps on dogs can be many things: tumors, abscesses (infection), hematomas (blood), cysts (fluid) or granulomas (scar tissue from an old abscess). For this reason, they all should be checked out with a simple aspiration procedure and the contents looked at under a microscope.
Any lump that appears to contain a lot of cells could potentially be a tumor, and tumors are either benign or malignant. Other than in the case of a lipoma (which are fat cells), any tumor is potentially cancerous. For this reason, the lump on your dog should be removed and submitted for biopsy.
Biopsy will give you a definitive answer as to what the lump is, and to make sure it was removed in its entirety, or indicate if more testing is needed to check for any spread.