Can Dogs have skin Cancer?

Protected from the sun by a set of fur, it doesn’t come in our mind very often that our dogs might have skin cancer, but the fact is, they might and cancer tumors on the skin are the most common type of tumor in dogs. Skin cancer is as dangerous to dogs as it is to human and could be fatal, fortunately, if diagnosed early, there is a good chance that it can be cured. In the length of this article, how to spot unusual lumps on your dog’s skin and what action to take will be concerned.

  1. Types of skin cancer

One of the most common types of skin cancer in dogs is malignant melanoma. This type of cancer is found mostly on the part of body covered with hair. They are known to grow fast and spread to the dog’s organ. It is believed that genetics has a role to play in forming this type of cancer as well as trauma or compulsive licking of a certain spot.

Squamous cell carcinoma is another popular cancer in dogs. This is usually caused by the dog’s too much exposure to the sun. It is also suspected that it has something to do with the papilloma virus. Although they do not spread to surrounding lymph nodes, they can destroy tissues around the tumor due to their aggression.

The most common type is mast cell tumors, which occurs in the immune system’s mast cells. It is unknown that what causes this type of skin cancer though some cases have been recorded to have inflammation or irritants on the skin.

  1. Why?

All dogs have fur to cover their body except for the ears and the nose that has little to none to shield from the sun. Although sun damage to the skin could be a factor that leads to skin cancer in dogs, it is not the only cause. Age, color, and breed of dog also play an important role to such misfortune. Depending on the types of cancer, dogs in a certain age could suffer from that type of cancer. For example, melanomas are common among dogs from 5 to 11 years old, or malignant melanomas on the toe or in the toenail bed are more common in black dogs. Dysfunction in hormones is also worth considering.

  1. Symptoms

Mostly the symptom is just irregular lumps on the dog’s body. These lumps’ appearance might be different depending on the type of cancer.

For malignant melanoma, the lumps are benign melanocytomas with the size ranging from very small to 2.5 inches in diameter with different colors of black, brown, gray or red. This is often found in the dog’s mouth, lips, toenail bed and pads of the feet, which is often mistaken as a simple infection.

The tumors of squamous cell carcinoma are often firm and look like a wart. They are found mostly on the dog’s bellies and genitals and occasionally on their feet.

Mast cell tumors often grow very slow and feel like rubber, but some are aggressive and may ulcerate, making the area sore and inflamed

When you spot these differences on your dog’s skin, you should consult your vet so they can take a look and use medical tests to confirm and have suitable treatment, either it’s surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

  1. Recovery

After the removal, your dog still have to pay the vet a visit weekly for 2-3 weeks to recheck so examine healing and make sure the cancer does not come back. A cone on the neck could be applied to prevent scratching or licking on the area.

Antibiotics and painkiller might also be necessary to keep the dog comfortable so remember to give them as the vet advised and report to your vet about any bleeding, swelling, loss of suture or redness.

No precautions could be taken so the only thing you can do is to examine your dog’s skin regularly to spot the tumor early, increase your dog’s chance to survive.

 

 

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