What should I do about a growth underneath my dog’s jaw?

Hi Dr. Barchas, I adopted my retired racing greyhound, Flame, in 2002. She is 7 years old and she has been a fantastic friend and...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Feb 24th 2008


Hi Dr. Barchas,

I adopted my retired racing greyhound, Flame, in
2002. She is 7 years old and she has been a
fantastic friend and an extremely loyal companion.
About two months ago, I noticed a drooping
portion of skin beneath her lower jaw and about
half way back towards her throat. I was able to
touch it and it’s very soft to the touch. Flame
does not seem discomforted about it at all.
Yesterday I noticed that it looked quite large.
When I touched it, it almost felt like there was
liquid inside. She didn’t seem to be acting
any different. Same great personality, still
smiling and going after her chew toys.
I was curious if this is common for a Greyhound
(or any dog)? Should I take her to the vet?

Thank you in advance for your advice. I appreciate
it.

Jenna
Millersburg, OH

The situation you are describing is common in middle-aged and older dogs of all breeds. Based on your description, the swollen area is probably not something serious. It could be a lipoma (we discussed lipomas on the blog a few days ago), a cyst, a seroma (an accumulation of fluid underneath the skin), or a large number of other things. Most of them are not serious.

However, there is a small chance that the irregularity could be something more serious, such as an inflamed lymph node or a tumor. Although these possibilities are not likely, you should still have a vet check the area. He or she will probably want to run a test such as aspiration to make sure that there is no reason to worry.