If you’ve found a lump or bump around your dog’s eyes or ears, and it’s been there for one month or more or is 1cm in diameter, make sure you check it out with your veterinarian.
But all of us, every single one of us, should be doing a monthly check of our dogs for lumps and bumps. That’s because cancer is the #1 cause of death in dogs now, and ALL of our dogs are at risk of developing it. Early detection starts with you, at home, doing a monthly run-through. This article will focus on checking your dog’s eyes and ears, but you can also learn how to check the mouth, torso, legs, lymph nodes, anal glands, and testicles for other cancers that are often found at home.
Keep an Eye on It
Most dogs aren’t comfortable with direct eye contact. That’s just their nature. So if my boy has a weepy eye or I suspect there may be a problem, of course he will hesitate to let me have a good look. He may also not want my vet to peer even closer.
But it’s important that I keep an eye on his eyes. He needs them healthy and happy, right?
I always use a calm approach as I stroke his head and work from the side, to examine him, not the front.
If I need to clean the eye area, I always only use products with my vet’s approval, making sure I know the correct procedure. This gives me a wonderful opportunity to make sure his eyes are healthy.
To help keep your dog bright eyes and alert, here is a checklist of signs to watch for:
- Dulling, discoloration or clouding of the eye surface
- Tiny red lines across the eye
- Inflammation, or reddish color in the normally white area
- Any bulging of the eye
- Discolored discharge
- The appearance of any bumps or lumps in or around the eyes
If you see a bump or lump, keep in mind that developing nasal tumors can produce these symptoms around the eyes. Dr Dressler’s post Diagnosis of Nasal Tumors gives more specific information.
Long or short, tall or floppy, dog ears are deep caves of the unknown. They can accumulate anything from wax, water, seeds, mites, scratches, thorns, ticks or infections in those wonderful ears.
To check my dog’s ears I use my frequent stroking to gently rub the base of each ear. As I judge his comfort with that, I turn his ear out so I can look inside. When I have to clean out excess wax, I only use the techniques and cleansers that my vet has approved. I never stick my finger or anything else into the ear itself because I don’t want to cause a problem. Yet I can observe and again if it helps I will take a photo if I see something I think should not be there. Mast Cell Tumors (MCT) can appear in the ear as well as other areas of the body, so catching anything early is always the best.
For more useful tools and information, get a copy of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide
What to Do If You Find a Bump or Lump on Your Dog
If you do find a lump or bump, please stay calm, and consult your vet. Congratulate yourself, because you have done your job as your dog’s champion. Cancer is the #1 killer of our dogs, but early detection is the most powerful tool we have to change those statistics. The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is an invaluable resource, and sharing this information with family and friends means that more doggies will live longer lives.
I’m a member of the Dog Cancer Support Team & a Dog Cancer Survivor! Two of my beloved dogs have had cancer, and with the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, Apocaps, and full spectrum help given with boundless love, both our dogs far surpassed the odds we were given. I’m an Animal Health Consultant with a Diploma in Animal Healing, and Assistant Instructor with the Healing Animals Organization (MHAO). I’m passionate to help dogs and their people get through this journey. Early on I asked the Team how I could help, and here I am.