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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, and once numb, the nodule or mass is removed, along with the skin beneath to ensure it does not grow back.  The site is closed with suture, which needs to be removed in 10-14 days.  We do not use absorbable suture very often because it is more likely for a pet to have a reaction to an absorbable suture, but we can use it on request.  The entire process takes less than 10 minutes per mass, if small (less than pea sized), longer for larger masses.


We do not use lasers to cut skin or remove masses because this type of laser (CO2) uses heat to destroy tissue which causes wider damage and more pain than a blade.  Laser use has an increased risk for igniting the hair, can damage the eyes, and produces 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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