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Removal of Skin Growths

Why remove skin masses?
  • They may be cancerous

  • They are chronically infected (common with cysts)

  • They bother the pet

  • They get nicked when pet is groomed

  • The pet scratches or licks at them

What types of tumors can be removed?

Almost any tumor can be removed under general anesthesia.  General anesthesia is very appropriate for large, spreading, or deep masses.  Anesthesia may be needed for pets of certain personalities, or for masses on the ears or near the eyes.

At Pet Dermatology Clinic, we specialize in removing small superficial tumors without the need for general anesthesia using a local nerve block.   The most common masses we remove are sebaceous adenomas.  These are non-cancerous and often small (less than 2cm), but these can be itchy and bother many pets.  These are unsightly on pets because they bleed easily, become infected easily, and may exude a waxy substance.  Many pets have large numbers of these warty masses, we can take off several at a time.

How are tumors removed?

The hair around the mass is clipped and the skin is cleaned.  A local anesthetic (lidocaine) is injected just below the mass to be removed.  The entire process takes less than 10 minutes per mass, if small (less than pea sized), longer for larger masses.

  • We use Cryosurgery (liquid nitrogen) for thin flat areas or viral papillomas

  • We use small circular blades for round growths to make sure we get the root

  • Scalpels can be used for slightly larger growths

  • We do not use lasers to cut skin or remove masses because lasers use heat to destroy tissue which causes wider damage and more pain than a blade.  Think of how much more painful a burn is.  Lasers have an increased risk for hair fires, eye damage, and lasers produce harmful smoke.  Surgeons for humans rarely use CO2 lasers because of these same issues.


This is a sebaceous adenoma in a dog.

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