My Australian Cattle Dog/German Shepherd,
Dennis has developed quarter-sized soft lumps on
one back ankle and behind one of his front legs
close to elbow. Do you have any idea what this
could be and how they should be treated if
New Bern, NC
You don’t mention Dennis’ age, but if he is middle-aged or older the lumps may be callouses. Callouses are areas of thickened skin that occur at points, such as the elbows and ankles, where high levels of pressure are pesent when dogs lie down on hard surfaces. Callouses generally are hairless, thick, and wrinkly.
Callouses are very common in older, large dogs such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds. I have known some dogs with massive ones on their elbows and ankles.
Most callouses are harmless and do not require treatment. However, in dogs with severe mobility disorders, callouses can turn into bedsores. Signs of trouble include redness, discharge from the site, sudden growth of the area, or a bad odor.
The best way to prevent callouses is to offer soft bedding for your dog. That said, many of my patients choose to lie on hardwood floors or concrete even when a comfortable dog bed is available.
I would recommend that you have a veterinarian look at Dennis to confirm that the growths are callouses. If they are, then you don’t have much to worry about.