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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21220
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My frenchie has a solid lump on the side of his head, not painful

Resolved Question:

My frenchie has a solid lump on the side of his head, not painful acts normal as if it isn't there. any ideas as to what it is? its about the size of a golf ball?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


Any history of head trauma, falls, or bumps to his head?

Does it feel warm at all?

Is it over the eye, along or under the jaw?

Can you take a photo of this? If you can do so and post them online, it will let me see what you are seeing. To post them, you can either use the paper clip on the tool bar. Or if you cannot see that on your phone/computer, then you can post them on any site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, Imgr etc) and paste the web address here for me to have a peek.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No head Trauma at all, also the lump isn't warm to the touch. Here is a photo will send another one along shortly :)

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Andrew,

Poor wee Frank!

Now as I am sure you can appreciate when we see any lump on our dogs, we do have to consider a range of issues. Still since his lump was sudden in appearance, we'd be less worried about nasty cancers, cysts, and even benign growths. Instead, we'd need to consider possible trauma induced hematomas (blood blister like lesions) or soft tissue inflammation (though I'd expect that to show some reduction in 3 days), abscesses, insect sting induced allergic reactions (still a concern here), and possible inflammatory issues of the salivary gland.

Now with these in mind, we can start some supportive care to try and rule out some of these. To start, if there is any chance at all of a bee/spider/wasp sting or bite, then we can reduce allergic type swelling using antihistamines. Commonly we will use Piriton (chlorphenamine) at a dose of 4mg every 8-12 hours. This is often enough to reduce these signs over a few days. We do usually like to keep the dose low in dogs, as they can have drowsiness with this medication (just like people). As well, of course, this medication shouldn't be used if your wee one has any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medication without speaking to your vet first. So, this is still worth trying here if you have not already in case he has had a severe reaction to an insect.

Furthermore, to reduce swelling with any of these sudden appearing concerns, you can also start warm compressing this lump. This can reduce inflammation as well as encourage hematomas and allergic reactions to settle. Just to note, you can make a safe warmer for use as a warm compress by filling a clean sock 2/3rds full with uncooked white rice. Tie it closed and microwave (approx 1-1.5 min). Before use, do make sure to shake to allow the heat to distribute before using as a compress. (If it cools, you can re-warm as required).

Now if you use the above, but the mass doesn't settle with antihistamine treatment then it does rule allergic reactions to insects. And in that case leaves us with those other concerns. And should that be the case, the best way to approach an abnormal mass like this is to have your vet evaluate the mass via fine needle aspiration (FNA). This is where the vet uses a needle to harvest cells from the mass. If the remove pus, then this tells us that there is infection present and antibiotics can be dispensed. If blood or blood stained fluid is removed, then trauma was most likely and pain relief/dog-safe anti-inflammatories can be used to settle the swelling. Or if this swelling is taut and hard due to inflammation and profuse saliva production in a blocked or inflammed salivary gland, then saliva will be removed during the aspirate and treatment for that can be initiated. Otherwise, if the above are not found, then the cells they harvest can be stained and the identity of the nature of the mass can be determined and whether it is something that is concerning or needs more serious treatment.

Overall, if this mass is sudden in appearance, we would consider those initial sudden onset concerns for Frank. Therefore, as long as it’s not painful or obviously draining pus, then you can try the above to rule out those aforementioned concerns. Otherwise, if this doesn’t settle or may have been present for longer then this; then we’d want to have your vet sample this mass to identify its cause so that appropriate treatment can be initiated to address it fo ryour lad.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Dr. B. and 2 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again Andrew,

Just to note I did adjust the antihistamine for you (since over the counter Piriton is easier to use here in the UK). So, give the page a wee refresh for that or just note that we can use 4mg every 8-12 hours for him.

All the best,
Dr. B.