Tests to Diagnose Cancer in a Pet

Last Modified: September 17, 2012


My dog has a new lump growing on his leg. What tests can be done to find out if it is cancer? Can they be done economically?

Erika Krick, VMD, DACVIM Veterinary Medical Oncologist, University of Pennsylvania, responds:


Tests that your vet may recommend (after examining the lump and your dog) include a needle aspirate or a biopsy. A needle aspirate is often inexpensive as it usually does not require any anesthesia because it is just using a needle to take some cells from the lump. A biopsy is more invasive and could involve removing a small part of the lump or possibly the whole lump. Blood tests may be recommended as well depending on what your vet finds on his or her exam.

Learn more about Evaluating Lumps, Bumps & Swelling in Veterinary Medicine and Making Treatment Decisions for Your Pet.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from When a Beloved Pet has Cancer.