The Bumps on Pitbull: Here’s What it Means

Brindle pitbull puppy on leash

Pitbulls and other short-haired breeds of dogs often develop bumps on their skin. It is natural to be concerned when your best friend develops something unusual. Understanding what the bumps on your pitbull mean an important part is of being a responsible pet owner.

The bumps on a pitbull usually are one of three types. Bumps that form in the top layer of skin are much like pimples in humans. More serious infections below the top layer of skin can also cause bumps. Some Pitbulls may have bumps that form on bones or other tissue. 

Whenever a lump or bump suddenly appears on your Pitbull, it is good to follow up to determine the cause. Overall, most lumps and bumps are not serious. We’ll discuss what bumps on your pitbull mean and if it is a symptom of a more serious issue that needs addressing.

It Isn’t as Simple as It May Seem

At first glance, a small lump or bump that appears on your Pitbull may appear unthreatening. Unfortunately, a small symptom may be an indication of a much more serious underlying condition. Diagnosing lumps and bumps that suddenly appear on your Pitbull can be daunting and need the attention of a veterinarian.

To better understand the complexity of making a diagnosis, it is important to grasp what can cause the sudden appearance of a lump or bump on your Pitbull. Some of the more common causes of surface bumps on Pitbulls include:

  • Insect bites
  • Stinging insects
  • Nutritional problems

Insect Bites – The Bane of Us All

Just like you, biting insects plague many dogs, especially short-hair breeds like Pitbulls. Because of their fur, dogs and other animals are also subject to infestations of insects that most humans never experience. A host of biting insects tend to find refuge in your dog’s fur, such as:

  • Fleas –  There are more than 2,500 species of fleas in the world. Many of these species can become a problem for your pitbull. Fleas are a type of external parasite and make their living biting your Pitbulls skin and eating the blood. The flea bite causes itching, redness, and swollen raised bumps. Fleas are not host specific and will readily move to humans when given a chance.
  • Ticks – Ticks are parasites as well and are closely related to spiders. Ticks don’t just bite and leave. Ticks latch onto their host and suck blood. The tick will become swollen and engorged as it feeds. The site of the tick bite may swell and form a bump. Ticks, like fleas, will readily move to humans.
  • Mites – Mites, like ticks, are in the arachnid family and are related to spiders. Mites are tiny creatures, much smaller than ticks or fleas. Mites are usually associated with dogs having mange or canine scabies. The mites burrow into the skin to lay eggs. When the eggs hatch and begin to mature, bumps and lumps on the infected patches may result.
  • Mosquitoes – Just like you, your pitbull can suffer during the summer months from mosquito bites. Many mosquito varieties will feast on dogs as readily as humans and the results are the same. Bumps at the site of the bite and itching are the most common symptoms of a mosquito bite.

Stinging Insects – Bees, Wasps, and Others

If an insect stings you, it will also sting your pitbull. Bees and wasps are the most common causes of raised bumps or welts on Pitbulls who happen to make the wrong choice in playmates. Stinging insects are usually on the defensive when they sting.

Typically, insect stings are not serious and resolve themselves in a few days. However, some spiders and scorpions can deliver enough venom to be dangerous to your Pitbull. If you aren’t sure about the type of insect that stings your Pitbull, consult your veterinarian for an examination. 

Most insect stings result in a swollen spot with a small opening or indentation at the center. In some cases, the insect’s venom may cause local necrosis of the flesh, which is much more serious. The swelling and itching may cause your Pitbull to scratch excessively. This scratching can cause further damage to the skin and may need extra attention.

Nutritional Problems – Allergies and Lacks

Nutritional issues can also cause bumps or lesions on your Pitbulls skin. A lack of a specific nutrient may manifest as lumps and bumps on your dog in some cases. A food allergy can also irritate your Pitbulls skin. Your veterinarian can help you diagnose any allergies or nutritional deficiencies and advise on how to give your Pitbull the best nutrition.

Deeper Problems – Bumps or Lumps in the Deeper Tissues

Several issues can cause lumps or bumps that are deeper in your Pitbulls skin. These problems may appear deeply embedded under the skin. In some cases, these bumps or lumps are painful to your Pitbull when touched. Several issues can lead to these deeper bumps on your Pitbull

  • Cysts or Abscesses
  • Mast Cell Tumors
  • Fatty Tumors

Fortunately, most of these are easily treatable or are not a cause for concern. However, understanding these problems and knowing when to consult a veterinarian is an important part of dog ownership.

Cysts or Abscesses –  Painful Problems for your Pitbull

A cyst is a blocked oil gland in your Pitbulls skin. Much like a pimple, white substances are released from the cyst when a cyst opens or bursts. Cysts can become painful for your Pitbull and should be treated by a veterinarian when discovered.

Abscesses associate with inflammation or infection. The abscess is a build-up of pus under the skin. An abscess can form from a penetrating wound like a bite from another animal or an insect bite. If you find an abscess on your Pitbull, it will be swollen and often tender to the touch. Abscesses require quick attention by a veterinarian. Opening the abscess is important, as is a round of antibiotics to treat the underlying infection.

Mast Cell Tumors – Skin Cancer in Dogs

Mast cell tumors are common in many breeds of dogs. A mast cell is a form of skin cancer that can exhibit bumps, lumps, or irritations on the skin or under the skin of your Pitbull. In most cases, mast cell tumors are treatable. Consult your veterinarian as soon as you find what you think maybe a mast cell tumor.

Fatty Tumors – A Part of Aging

Older dogs may develop fatty tumors, especially in the rib cage area. Fatty tumors are a part of gaining in many breeds of dogs and are not uncommon. Fatty tumors are most often benign and pose no health risk to your dog. Your veterinarian can test your dog’s fatty tumors and monitor them for changes or growth, which can signal problems.

Bony Bumps and Lumps

Many of the lumps and bumps on dogs, especially Pitbulls, are natural parts of the growing and aging process. Pitbulls are especially known for prominent bony bumps on the head. Many Pitbulls exhibit prominent occipital bones on their heads. In most cases, these boney ridges and prominent points of no worry.

However, if you notice a sudden change in the size or location of a boney or hard lump on your Pitbull, it is worth investigating with your veterinarian. A boney lump or bump that appears suddenly can be a symptom of a more serious disease that warrants treatment and observation.

Bumps and Lumps – Taking Care of Your Pitbull

The occasional bump or lump is natural for most dogs. In most cases, these bumps and lumps are nothing more than part of life. However, as a responsible Pitbull owner, note any changes in your companion and take the appropriate action when necessary. Understanding what constitutes the usual from the unusual is knowledge every dog owner should possess.

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