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Skin Tags: Are They Dangerous?

 by simone on 19 Aug 2014 |
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With the all knowledge of skin cancer and the dangers of malignant lumps, it's not surprising that any new or unusual growth on your pet’s skin causes concern. However, skin tags are quite common, particularly in older pets, and are generally nothing to worry about.
 
What are skin tags ?
Skin tags are the result of excessive growth of skin cells and will be the same colour as your pet’s skin. Tags can grow anywhere on your pet’s body including eyelids and ears and are usually found in areas where the skin folds.

Skin tags are soft, felshy and malleable (unlike warts that are hard) but can be flat, rounded, teardrop or stalk-like in shape. Tags are generally only a few millimetres in length but can grow to the size of a grape. These large tags are more likely to get bumped, pinched or crushed and cause discomfort. Usually once a skin tag is seen, it indicates that others will be present on your pet's body or will develop.
 
As mentioned, skin tags are very common, and can form in any breed. The exact causes of skin tags are yet to be determined, it is believed that hereditary, environment, infections, immune system weakness and allergies influence their growth.
 
Whilst skin tags are harmless and non-cancerous (benign), they are commonly mistaken as skin cancer growths and should always be examined by a vet who my need to perform a biopsy to identify if the growth is malignant.


Most skin tags won’t need removing unless they are causing your pet discomfort, become irritated or infected. Vet’s can easily perform a removal procedure which is non-invasive and quick involving cauterization or freezing. The skin tags will simply fall off after treatment.
 
It’s important to regularly check you pet’s skin The sooner you notice any growths or changes, the better the chances of early diagnosis and recovery.
 
When to see a vet
It’s advisable to consult your vet with any growth to determine whether the growth is a harmless skin tag or more serious. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to the successful prevention of tumours and cancers spreading.

Schedule a consultation with you vet immediately for any of the following:
 
  • Skin tags that bleed or become infected
  • If there is pain and irritation in the affected area
  • Growths that bleed or resemble wounds and do not heal
  • Dark or black growths, pale or pink growths that are not the colour of your pet's skin
  • Any growths around you pet’s mouth or lips as these can interfere with swallowing or even develop into cancer
  • Any growths or tags that change shape, size, colour or appearance
 

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