Why Vizslas Get Lumps (And What To Do About It)

Vizslas are affectionate dogs that quickly become valued family members. Finding a lump on your Vizsla is anxiety-provoking. Vizslas are more prone to lumps and bumps than most dogs. The reasons are many and varied.

A Vizsla has a short coat, and lumps are easy to spot. Vizslas get lumps for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • allergies
  • cysts
  •  abscesses
  •  benign lumps of various origins
  • warts
  • cancer

A consultation with a veterinarian is the best place to start.

This article aims to give information on inspecting your Vizsla, the causes of the lumps, and what can be done about them.

How To Inspect For Lumps

Inspection techniques involve both sight and touch. It is essential to look at your Vizsla and at the same time feel along his/ her body. Start at the head and inspect and feel the skin on the face and ears. Move down the neck, then chest, and front legs. Feel and look along the torso and back, followed by the hind legs. Don’t forget to check under the tail as some lumps form around the anus.


Abscesses are painful lumps that can occur anywhere on your Vizsla. They often form around a foreign body, such as grass seed or burr, which has penetrated the Vizsla’s skin. Abscesses may form from penetrating wounds, e.g., a bite from another dog or being stabbed by a sharp object such as a stick. Vizslas that are pointing and retrieving in heavy vegetation may get abscesses more often. Abscesses initially start as hard lumps, which may soften as the abscess ripens and eventually bursts.

Treatment For An Abscess

An abscess will eventually rupture on its own. The process can be hastened by putting a warm compress on the abscess. Do not be tempted to cut the abscess open. Once the abscess has ruptured, and the pus is coming out, it should be cleaned with antiseptic wound cleaner. You may need to flush the abscess out using a syringe. The abscess will continue to drain for several days. If there is a foreign body in the abscess, it should be expelled with the pus.

A large abscess will need veterinary treatment. The veterinarian may need to flush and debride ( remove rotten tissue) the wound while the dog is under anesthetic. It is common to put a drain in a large suppurating abscess. Antibiotics and pain killers will also be necessary.


Hematomas are blood-filled pockets or lumps which can occur anywhere on the body. They usually arise from a hard knock that ruptures blood vessels under the skin. The blood collects under the skin, causing a lump. If you palpate a hematoma, you will feel the fluid.

Treatment For Hematomas

Many hematomas resolve themselves as the body reabsorbs the blood. Large hematomas may need to be lanced by a veterinarian. Hematomas provide an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish. It is, therefore, essential to observe them closely. If there is any heat, smell, or pus, then a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.


Vizslas are susceptible to allergies. Over 20% of Vizslas have skin disorders as a result of chronic allergies. The skin reaction can appear as a raised rash or small bumps all over the skin. The bumps are sometimes limited to certain areas such as the stomach, chest, and inside of the thighs. The bumps may develop into pustules if they become infected. The skin can become dry and flaky.

What Causes Allergies

There are a variety of causes of allergies in Vizslas. It is essential to know the origin of the allergy to develop an effective treatment plan. An allergic reaction is an overreaction of the immune system to a substance or allergen, which is not ordinarily toxic or harmful. Allergens include food, shampoo, laundry detergent used to wash blankets, pesticides, and fertilizers, which may be on the grass at home or the dog park. Fleas are very irritating. Some Vizslas develop allergic dermatitis from the fleas and flea dirt. Vizslas may also be allergic to dust mites, grass, and various pollens.

Treatment For Allergies

A veterinarian can do skin and blood tests to determine the cause of your Vizsla’s allergy. Once these answers are obtained, you can attempt to limit exposure to these allergens. Sometimes it is impossible to remove the allergens from your Vizslas environment. Dust mites and grass cannot be eliminated. Treatment for allergies usually consists of using corticosteroids and antihistamines. Antibiotics and anti-fungal medication may be necessary if there is a secondary infection.

Vizslas And Antihistamine Dose

Antihistamines in dogs are given at much higher dosages than for humans. Don’t be alarmed if your veterinarian instructs you to give three or four times the human dose of antihistamines to your dog. The body releases histamines as a reaction to the allergen. Histamines cause swelling, lumps, rash, and possible anaphylaxis. Antihistamines counteract the effect of histamines.

Vizslas And Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids (cortisone) are beneficial drugs in treating allergies. Care must be taken, however, when administering cortisone over long periods. Initially, a higher dose may be used to calm the immune system down. Maintenance doses of cortisone should be kept as low as possible. Never stop cortisone abruptly as the body becomes dependent on the cortisone.

Cortisone treatment should always include tapered dosing to avoid causing a cortisol crisis. Side effects of long-term cortisone use include urinary continence issues (leaking bladder), thinning skin, and weight gain. Cushing’s syndrome can develop as a permanent side effect of cortisone overuse.

Dietary Allergies

Unfortunately, Vizslas are particularly prone to skin disorders resulting from dietary allergies. The allergies are individual and can include allergy to a particular protein such as chicken or beef or grains, legumes, or preservatives. It is usually advisable, to begin with, and exclusion diet. A novel protein (a protein that the Vizsla has not eaten before) such as rabbit or ostrich is given. The Vizsla is fed this for a minimum of three weeks. If there is no allergic reaction, then ingredients are added one by one to the diet, and the Vizsla is observed for reactions.

Cancerous Growths

Sadly certain cancers are more commonly found in Vizslas than in other breeds of dogs. More than 24% of Vizslas will develop cancer at six to seven years. 50% will ultimately die of cancer. The most common cancers in Vizslas are:

  • Lymphoma/ lymphosarcoma forms as a result of abnormal lymphocyte production. Lymphocytes are a form of white blood cells.
  • Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive, invasive cancer in the lining of the blood vessels. Internal bleeding may result from hemangiosarcomas. The collection of blood causes added lumps under the skin.
  • Mast cell tumors cause skin cancer and often resemble other benign lumps.

Treatment For Cancerous Growths

Lymphomas are very treatable and respond well to chemotherapy. Hemangiosarcomas can be difficult to remove surgically with clear margins because the cancer cells travel in the blood vessels. Mast cell tumors are usually removed surgically with follow-up chemotherapy. Chemotherapy in dogs does not generally cause the same side effects that it does in humans. It is vital to detect cancerous growths early to increase the chances of effective treatment. Regular examination of your Vizsla is essential.


The Canine Papilloma Virus causes warts in Vizslas. Warts more commonly occur in young dogs and immune-compromised dogs. Warts occur most commonly on the mouth gums and lips. They sometimes occur on other mucous membranes. Warts are unsightly but are not life-threatening. Some warts may bleed if they are bumped or scratched.

Treatment For Warts

Warts in a young dog will usually disappear spontaneously after a few months. They may be ugly to look at but do not always require treatment. Immune compromised dogs may be treated by stimulating the immune system and by using antiviral medications.

Lump On A Vizsla’s Elbow

A lump on a Vizsla’s elbow is known as an Elbow Bursa. It is inflammation with fluid production on the elbow joint. These can become very large and look alarming. They are usually seen in hyperactive young dogs or older, arthritic dogs. Elbow bursas form as a result of continual thumping down on the elbows as the Vizsla lies down.

In young dogs, it is seen because the dog, in its exuberance, throws itself down onto the ground, causing an impact on the elbows. In older dogs, it develops because arthritis in the joints does not allow for graded movements. So the dog ends up flopping down on the elbows. 

Treatment For Elbow Bursas

Elbow bursas are treated conservatively. Anti-inflammatories are given. A special elbow guard or cuff may be bought or made for the Vizsla. The elbow guards prevent impact on the elbows. Dogs are also encouraged to lie on soft beds. In young dogs, the elbow bursas often resolve themselves. In older dogs, elbow bursas may be there for the rest of the dog’s life.

Benign Lumps On A Vizsla

There are a variety of benign lumps which you may encounter on your Vizsla. Benign lumps cause a lot of anxiety as many of them can grow quite large.

Lipomas In Vizslas

Lipomas are fatty tumors that can appear anywhere on the body. They can sometimes become malignant, but this is rare. Lipomas can be invasive and have ‘roots’ that invade joints, causing stiffness. They are not generally painful. Lipomas are not routinely treated as surgery is not always successful, and in 50% of cases, the lipoma will regrow.

Histiocytomas in Vizslas

Histiocytomas are common and look like small, button-like growths. Histiocytes are normal cells of the immune system. A tumor arises when the histiocytes gather in one particular area. They may ulcerate, necessitating surgical removal and treatment with antibiotics for secondary infection. If there is no ulceration or infection, the histiocytoma can be left untreated. There is often spontaneous regression of the tumor. Histiocytomas occur in Vizslas younger than six years.

Pigmented Lumps On A Vizsla

Pigmented lumps are known as melanomas and are usually benign in Vizslas. There are cases of melanomas becoming cancerous, but this is uncommon. They occur more often in dogs with darkly pigmented skin and resemble a mole or brown to black mass on the skin. The diagnosis is based on a biopsy or total removal of the melanoma. 

Benign Mammary Tumor In Vizslas

Mammary tumors occur as a result of an over-production of mammary tissue. These can be either benign or malignant. Treatment usually involves biopsy or surgical removal followed by histopathology to determine the cancer status of the tumor.

Hemangioma In Vizslas

Hemangiomas are tumors that arise from the overgrowth of blood vessels. Hemangiomas resemble red lumps like a blood blister. Hemangiomas easily visible on the skin occur from the cutaneous blood vessels. Dogs with thin, short coats are more prone to hemangiomas. It is suspected that solar ultra-violet light damage plays a role in triggering the tumor’s occurrence. Diagnosis is made from a biopsy or total removal and histopathology investigations.   

Eyelid Tumors In Vizslas

Tumors on eyelids are common in older Vizslas. 75% of all eyelid tumors are benign. They often develop from a blockage or overgrowth of sebaceous glands. These tumors are almost always removed by surgery or cryosurgery (freezing), whether benign or malignant. Any tumor on the eyelid can potentially cause damage to the eye. The eye may be red and irritated or even ulcerate from the tumor. If the tumor is malignant, the entire eye may be removed.

Cysts In Vizslas

Cysts are hollow spaces in the body that become filled with dead skin cells, sebum, or fluid. They resemble large pimples. Cysts may resolve themselves or need to be surgically removed using a local anesthetic. True cysts have a membrane that lines the cavity. The membrane must be removed to prevent reoccurrence.  Cysts may become infected, necessitating the use of antibiotics.

Hernias In Vizslas

Hernias are tears in the muscle wall where underlying tissue may protrude through the opening, resulting in a visible lump. If the swelling is soft and can be pushed back into the body, it is described as being reduceable. The swelling may become hard, red, and inflamed. This situation is potentially life-threatening as underlying tissue has become strangulated in the hernia. Necrosis and septicemia will result unless there is prompt medical attention.

Hernias may occur at the umbilicus or in the groin – known as an inguinal hernia. Small umbilical and inguinal hernias may spontaneously resolve themselves in Vizsla puppies. Large hernias or hernias which do not resolve themselves will need surgical repair.

Lumps Around A Vizslas Anus

Lumps may appear around your Vizslas anus. These are uncomfortable or itchy, and your Vizsla may scoot on his haunches along the ground. Anal sacs occur just inside the rectum. They may become impacted or infected, which you may feel if you touch around the anus. Tumors sometimes grow on the anal glands.

A veterinarian will express the anal glands. If it is a chronic problem or a tumor, then the entire gland may be surgically removed. Tumors sometimes occur in the area around the anus – perianal tumors. These are usually benign, but a small percentage are malignant. They are removed surgically.

Insect Bites And Stings In Vizslas

Vizslas are inquisitive dogs who may end up getting stung or bitten by insects or spiders. Bites and stings usually result in localized swelling, which may be relatively small or extensive. Extensive swelling may be due to allergy, especially with bee or wasp stings. Small bumps from insect bites or stings do not require treatment.

If the Vizsla appears to be in pain or is excessively itchy, antihistamines can be given. Extensive swelling or anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment, usually corticosteroid injections.


Vizslas can have lumps from a variety of causes. Vizslas have a high incidence of allergies and certain cancers. It would be useful when buying a Vizsla puppy to inquire closely into the parents’ and offspring’s health to try and acquire a puppy from genetic lines that do not include these predispositions.

There are numerous other benign lumps that a Vizsla may have. It is wise to consult a veterinarian to evaluate lumps that do not go away. Prompt medical attention can be vital in staving off life-threatening complications from tumors. Cancers will need aggressive treatment.  The Vizslas quality of life must always be considered when evaluating treatment options.

Older dogs often do not cope well with anesthetics and extensive surgeries. Young dogs have a better prognosis in recovering from surgery.









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