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Lumps, Bumps and Lesions…


© 2009 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

If anyone has had a Kerry Blue Terrier for any length of time you have probably encountered a lump on your dog. Kerry Blue Terriers, although mostly a healthy breed, are prone to sebaceous cysts and other lumps. However, how do you know how to distinguish between the lumps to worry about and the ones to just leave alone?

Skin disorders can be attributed to older age, although younger dogs are also afflicted with lumps and lesions. Generally, congenital and hereditary issues occur in young animals, whereas metabolic (hormonal or chemical) and neoplastic (abnormal growth of cells; benign or malignant) diseases occur in older animals. The main lumps that you will encounter with your Kerry are spicules, hair follicle tumours, dermoid cyst, warts, lipomas and sebaceous cysts. Also found in the Kerry are hemangiosarcoma, histiocytoma and melanoma.

As a rule, benign tumours are slow growing, with very little change over time. They have a clear margin and are typically movable. Sebaceous cysts, for example are not usually attached, grow and then drain a thick cream-like secretion. Malignant tumours tend to grow rapidly, become ulcerated and spread to surrounding areas. They are also typically fixed and less moveable.

In general, because the Kerry Blue Terrier tends to develop skin lumps, the owner, as a part of regular preventative care, should examine their dog monthly and note any new or changing lumps or lesions. In this way you can monitor changes in growth, movement, and if any lumps are draining or ulcerating. That being said, if concerned about any lump or lesion you should always get a veterinary opinion. The following is a table of lumps and tumours found in dogs.






Infected wound or biteAnywhere on body Firm or fluid filled noduleVary in shape and sizeMay have signs of infection (fever, lethargy, decrease appetite) May need surgical intervention to drain and clean woundMay need antibiotics

Acral lick dermatitis

Self licking resulting in skin traumaCaused by anxiety, boredom, stress Self licking resulting in skin traumaCaused by anxiety, boredom, stressRed, hairless area; can become infected and drain Treat cause through behaviour modification or medication

Allergic & irritant contact dermatitis

(similar to Acral lick dermatitis)
Allergic reaction or inflammation caused by irritating substances Red skin & possibly small lumps or blisters; itchy May need steroids or antihistamines

Basal cell tumour

Cancerous, slow growing, rarely metastasizes Small fluid filled nodules, may ulcerate Surgical removal is necessary

Calcinosis cutis

Mineralization of the skin due to corticosteroids (prednisone) Hard nodules that ulcerate and drain, develop crustsMy be a sign of Cushing’s Disease May need surgical removalMay need steroid reduction


Chronic pressure point Thick, hairless areas over pressure points Provide softer bedding

Follicular or
Sebaceous cyst

Most common cystBenign Round nodules on the skin; may contain thick secretion that is yellow to grey Surgical removal is optional


Malignant and invasive tumour Blue to reddish black Surgical removal, with removal of borders may require amputation of limb


Benign tumour typical in younger dogs Solitary raised, red lump; strawberry like, common on legs, head and ears Generally resolve on their own; elective surgical removal


Benign fatty tumour Single, soft lump; can become large and hinder movement Surgical removal if they become large or interfere with movement

Mammary gland tumour

Most common in unsprayed femalesMay be malignant Nodules under the skin; irregular shape and size, may ulcerate and drain Biopsy and surgical removal


(similar to Hemangiosarcoma)
Malignant Single, dark growth Surgical removal with large area around tumour


Benign; seen mostly in intact male KBT Multiple hard brittle, hair like; mostly over hock region No treatment unless very itchy

Warts (papilloma)

Benign growth caused by virus Light color with cauliflower appearance; lips, tongue, eyelid or mouth usually May biopsy, tend to resolve on own



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Today is June 26, 2019

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The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation of Canada was initiated after the Shelbina Rescue brought four dogs to Canada for placement.

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