Skin cancer is the most common type of tumor in dogs. You might not even think about skin cancer that much because your loyal companion is covered with a thick coat of fur and not exposed to the sun. However, learning about skin cancer in dogs is very important because early detection will mean greater chances of recovery.
Skin Cancer In Dogs: Everything You Need To Know
Skin Cancer In Dogs Overview
Skin tumors are the most common tumors in dogs. Some breeds are at a heightened risk of having a skin tumor when they reach their adult years such as Retrievers and Boxers.
What is skin cancer in dogs? The skin tumors that can develop in dogs are commonly caused by cancer, infection and the accumulation of fat. Skin cancer in dogs is when the tumor is malignant.
Some types of skin cancer are potentially-fatal when left untreated. Hence, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and have your veterinarian check any suspicious growths.
Types Of Skin Cancer In Dogs
Malignant Melanoma – Malignant melanomas affect dogs, too, just as in humans. This type of cancer affects the pigmented cells dubbed as melanocytes. The benign or non-cancerous type of this tumor is called melanocyte. Benign skin tumors do not metastasize or spread to the other parts of the body.
Mast Cell Tumors – A common malignant tumor in dogs, these are on the legs or body. The breeds who are at a higher risk of developing this tumor are Beagles, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, Schnauzers, and Pugs.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma or actinic keratosis is a type of skin cancer in dogs that affects the keratinocytes, which constitutes 95% of the cells in the epidermis. Cutaneous tumors grow slowly, but aggressively, and can lead to poor prognosis if treated late.
Signs And Symptoms
It is vital to know the signs and symptoms of skin cancer in dogs. These tell tale signs will signal that there’s something wrong with your loyal companion. Prompt treatment can initiate a positive outcome. The signs and symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Offensive odor
- Loss of stamina
- Sores that do not heal
- Lumps and lesions on the skin
- Difficulty eating
When you notice a lump on your dog’s skin, it’s better to have an appointment with your veterinarian. The doctor will examine the lump or lesion present on your dog’s skin. Moreover, he will order some diagnostic examinations such as fine needle aspirate, biopsy, impression smear, cytology, and histopathology.
If your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with skin cancer, they will suggest various treatment options. To treat skin cancer in dogs, the veterinarian may suggest the surgical removal of the tumor, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.
It is important to take note that detecting skin cancer early on can lead to a better prognosis or outcome, especially if treatment is initiated promptly. Moreover, the stage at which cancer has been diagnosed will also affect the dog’s prognosis or the outcome of the treatment.
Preventing Skin Cancer In Dogs
There are many factors that could predispose your dog to skin cancer. If your dog belongs to a breed that is at a higher risk of developing skin cancer, talk to your veterinarian before spaying or neutering. Also, prevent your dog from getting papillomas or warts, which are risk factors for skin cancer. Protecting them from excessive exposure to the sun is also a good way to prevent skin cancer.
Did you know your dog can get skin cancer too? Sunscreen is just as important to Fido to protect against sunburn… https://t.co/yD3lo07jpH
— DR. KEVIN WELCH (@WelchSkinWelch) July 15, 2017
Here are ways to detect skin cancer in dogs by Videojug:
Did you learn more about skin cancer in dogs? Skin cancer is a potentially fatal disease especially if it’s not treated promptly. Consult with a veterinarian for further evaluation and tests if you suspect your dog to have lumps or lesions on his skin.
Are you now aware of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer in dogs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.