Dog Skin Cancer: What You Need to Know

Every dog owner dreads hearing the word “cancer,” but not every growth is malignant. It is natural to feel anxious and worried if your veterinarian has diagnosed skin cancer in your dog or if you suspect your dog has a skin tumor or lump that could be cancerous.

Consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s health or skin. To better understand the potential condition of your dog, here is some information about dog skin cancer that you should know.

Types of Skin Cancer in Dogs

Dogs, like humans, have more than one layer of skin and, thus, more than one type of skin cancer. Tumors can form in any part of the skin, at any layer, and some tumors may be malignant. Here are some of the most common cases of dog skin cancer:

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This is the most common type of skin cancer in dogs. Skin cancer is more common in senior dogs, especially Dalmatians, Beagles, Whippets, and white Bull Terriers. Most commonly found on the dog’s head, lower legs, rear, and abdomen, these tumors have a raised, wart-like appearance and are firm to the touch. One possible cause of squamous cell carcinoma is sun exposure, though papillomavirus may also play a role.

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cell tumors develop in the dog’s immune system and are extremely common. These tumors can develop anywhere on the dog’s skin and internal organs. Mast cell tumors commonly develop in the limbs, lower abdomen, and chest. Any dog breed is at risk, but 8- to 10-year-old Boxers, Pugs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Boston Terriers are particularly at risk for developing this form of skin cancer.

Malignant Melanoma

Melanomas are lumpy, dark-pigmented growths that typically appear on the dog’s lips, mouth, and nail bed. Melanomas are typically benign, but they can be malignant. Malignant melanomas are a major health concern. These tumors grow faster and are highly likely to spread to other organs. Schnauzers and Scottish Terriers, particularly male dogs, appear at a higher risk of melanoma than female dogs.

Lumps & Bumps on Your Dog

You’re probably worried about cancer if you’ve discovered a lump or discolored skin patch on your pet. However, pet parents should remember that not all lumps and bumps are cancerous, and many are treatable if diagnosed early.

Contact your veterinarian to schedule an examination and ct scan for pets if you discover anything unusual on your dog. Improved treatment outcomes depend on early diagnosis.

Diagnosing Dog Skin Cancers

Your veterinarian may perform a fine needle aspiration to collect a small sample of tumor cells for examination or a biopsy to collect a portion of tumor tissue to diagnose skin cancer in your dog. Your veterinarian will give you an accurate diagnosis of your pup’s condition after these samples are examined in a vet lab in Tigard.

Additional diagnostic tests might be advised to determine the severity of your dog’s cancer. That way, you and your veterinarian can give your pet the best possible care and a more accurate prognosis.

Treatment for Dogs Skin Cancer

Fortunately, many cases of dog skin cancer are curable if caught and treated in their early stages, allowing pets to enjoy life for months or even years longer. A variety of methods, such as surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapies, or palliative care, may be used to treat your dog’s skin cancer. Click here to learn more about pet surgery in case your dog needs one.

The prognosis and treatment options for dog skin cancer depend on several factors, including the specific type of tumor, its location, and the stage of cancer at which it was diagnosed.