Lumps in Golden Retrievers: What Do They Mean for Your Dog?

Developing lumps with age is normal for humans as well as animals. However, if you’re a responsible dog owner, you should take your pet to a vet when you notice one. The majority of these lumps are usually harmless. They are growths that happen because of fat concentration in one part of the body. However, they can turn into a problem for your dog if they go unattended.

Lumps are mast cell tumors, which are cells that counter diseases. However, they can develop into tumors over time. These tumors can be responsible for allergic reactions to benign substances, and they can also be the cause of asthma. Hence, whenever you see a lump on your dog, it’s very important to get it checked.

The Golden Retriever is the third most common dog in the United States according to the American Kennel Club. It’s one of the cutest too. However, it also has one of the highest rates of contracting cancer in the US. Hence, you should watch out for any lumps in Golden Retrievers if you have one.

Lumps in Golden Retrievers

Lumps in Golden Retrievers can mean anything from skin cancer to a harmless fat tumor. Hence, you’re advised to check with your veterinarian as soon as possible. The lump could indicate acne, cysts, papillomas, or lipomas, which are fatty tumors. These aren’t often life-threatening, but if they grow big enough, they can hinder the movement of your dog.

Other things that these lumps in Golden Retrievers could be are melanoma skin cancers, squamous cell carcinomas, and mastocytoma. However, the high occurrence of cancer among Golden Retrievers is why lumps should be checked out as soon as possible.

The occurrence of Cancer Among Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are the second-most registered breed of dogs in the United States. They are second to only Labrador Retrievers. As of 1999, more than 62000 Golden Retrievers have been registered in the US. And why shouldn’t they be? They’re some of the cutest dogs on the planet.

However, another trend has been noted in the Golden Retriever population in the US. Since the 1990s, 60% of Golden Retrievers have been dying of cancer. This is an alarming development the cause of which hasn’t been ascertained as of yet.

Cancers usually develop on Golden Retriever’s bodies in the form of lumps. However, lumps in Golden Retrievers can mean several different things. These can represent malignant or benign tumors on their skin that can be removed easily. Hence, it’s very important to recognize the differences between the two.

Nearly 60% of Golden Retrievers die of cancer every single year in the US. This includes 57% of males and 66% of females. The rate of dog deaths by cancer is over 10-60%. And the rate of diagnosis of cancer among dogs over 10 is nearly 50%. However, among Golden Retrievers, it’s especially common. There is no real known cause for all this. The only significant link that is established between dogs and cancer is the smaller the dog, the lower the risk.

However, the occurrence of cancer among Golden Retrievers in Europe is much less than in the US. The genes of the two species differ enough that they develop different tendencies to diseases. Nevertheless, lumps in Golden Retrievers should never be taken as benign. They can lead to a lot of heartbreak if you don’t catch a malignant tumor early.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Develop Cancer?

The causes for cancer in Golden Retrievers aren’t specifically known. However, they’re thought to be a combination of genetic, environmental and nutritional factors.

Ways to Stop Cancer in Golden Retrievers

Controlling Diet

One major factor in controlling the appearance of lumps in Golden Retrievers is their weight. If you can control obesity in your dog, then it is less likely to have lumps. And fewer lumps mean fewer cases of cancer.

Hence, go for a healthier, more protein and fat-rich diet. Lay of the carbohydrates.

Switching to Anti-Inflammatory Food

Anything that is inflammatory and creates inflammations in the body should be avoided. This helps avoid any lumps in Golden Retrievers by virtue of fewer chemical reactions. Cancers are usually found in the body due to chronic inflammation. Hence, anything that prevents that from happening is good for your Golden Retriever.

The diet that you should feed your dog should be high in healthy fats and reduced proteins. You should avoid carbohydrates since they tend to make dogs obese.

There should also be a huge emphasis on whole foods. You should avoid any omega 6 fatty acids. Instead, go for food that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Avoid Exposure to Toxins

You should generally avoid exposure to toxins whenever it comes to your poet. However, there are ways in which you can protect your dog further and more completely. Avoid any exposure to chemical pesticides like flea and tick preventives. You should prevent the use of flame retardants and tobacco smoke as well as weed killers and herbicides. Household cleaners like detergents and soaps and cleaners as well as dryer sheets should be off limits.

And if you’re worrying if your house can ever hold these things again, then rest assured. We’re not suggesting getting rid of them. Just make sure that your dog stays well away from them at all times. If you’ve disinfected your floor, then the dog should stay away from the house floor for a few hours. This is essential when preventing lumps in Golden Retrievers.

Don’t Neuter Your Dog Until at Least 18 Months

There have been studies that have linked the spaying or neutering of dogs to increase in cancer rates in dogs.

Refuse Unnecessary Vaccinations  

Before you go jumping on the anti-vaxxer bandwagon, this isn’t an endorsement of the movement. All that is being suggested is that you take in to account the breed of the dog to vaccinate it. The nutritional status and the vitality of the dog is very important to the vaccination schedule.

The single parvo vaccines should be delivered at or before 12 weeks. Then the second set should be delivered after 14 weeks. Don’t use combination vaccines, which is the standard yearly booster at veterinary practices.

Lipomas in Golden Retrievers

Lipomas are the benign tumor that you’re hoping your faithful Golden Retriever has. These lumps in Golden Retrievers can occur on the legs, on the back and even below the neck. These are basically fatty cell tumors. They appear on older dogs and can grow between deep tissue muscles as well. They can become large enough to interfere with the dog’s movement and comfort at times. Hence, they need to be checked by the vet.

Identifying Lipomas

Lipomas are painless so they’re not likely to cause your dog much pain. Hence, your dog may not wince or smart whenever these lumps in Golden Retrievers appear. However, like a good owner, you have to feel your dog out for them. They slowly grow to the point that they can interfere with your dog’s lifestyle. And you need to stop that from happening.

Usually, Lipoma lumps in Golden Retrievers appear on the torso. The chest, the sides or the top of the legs where they join the body are usual places of occurrence.

You should know that Lipomas are more common in female golden retrievers that are overweight. They usually show up in old age, and can occur much more frequently if there is fat concentrated around the body.

However, there is a chance of occurrence in all types of dogs at any age.

Treating Lipomas

Vets usually use a thin needle in order to remove the Lipoma cells from the body of the dog. However, no medical treatment is required in most cases. The question of medical treatment usually presents itself when the tumor has grown large enough to cause the dog discomfort. If that happens, surgery may be required to remove it. The size that a Lipoma has to grow to in order to interfere with a dog is usually the size of a softball. Again, surgery isn’t advised when the dog’s age is a factor.

Know that after the operation, there is no guarantee that the Lipomas won’t occur again. You must be the one to decide if surgery is the right way forward every single time a lump in golden retrievers develops.

Factors That Affect Lipomas

Fatty tumors usually occur in older and more obsess dogs. Hence, a healthier diet and more exercise can help prevent them. Changing your dog’s diet to have more proteins and less carbodydrates can work. You can reduce carbs over time and introduce more protein on a rolling basis. This way the dog can feel more comfortable shifting its diet.

You can also reward good behavior like staying clean with treats. However, make sure that if your dog becomes dirty, the dog isn’t rewarded at all. Once the dog’s weight is reduced, the Lipomas may also disappear.

Preventing the Occurrence of Lipomas

There are ways that you can stop or prevent these lumps in Golden Retrievers from developing in the first place. These include grooming and bathing your Golden Retrievers regularly. You should pet and exercise them and take care of them so that they remain clean and healthy.

Regularly run your hands over their body and their skin to feel for lumps. Make sure you play with them and hug them regularly. While this may seem like a feel good exercise for the dog, it helps detect lumps in Golden Retrievers effectively.

You should also purchase tools that are not harsh or sharp in case they damage skin and create small openings for bacteria. Lipomas can also build pressure until cells crack and release the fatty fluid inside them. This happens when the skin or the area around it is very congested. This leads to extra pressure on the skin. And while the Lipoma may disappear after this, it may cause other problems for the dog.

These lumps in Golden Retrievers are very easily preventable if the grooming of the dog is not neglected.

Our Final Thoughts

If you do find lumps in Golden Retrievers, then you should be aware of how to respond. Remember to use this to arm yourself with knowledge. If you have the necessary information, you have the means to act.

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