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Bumps on Dog's Skin - Skin Cancer in Dogs

In spite of being covered in a thick layer of fur, skin cancer is still a very real health concern for our canine companions. If you have found a suspicious bump on your dog's skin, it's always best to have it examined by your vet. Today, our Huntersville vets discuss common skin cancers in dogs.

Skin Bumps on Dogs

Discovering a lump or discolored patch of skin on your pup is bound to get you worrying about skin cancer, but it's important to remember that not all lumps and bumps are cancerous. For those that are cancerous, many are treatable if detected early.

When it comes to treating skin cancer in dogs, successful treatment outcomes depend in large part upon the very earliest detection! If you have found something suspicious on your dog's skin, contact your vet immediately to book an examination for your pooch. While it's most likely not skin cancer, it's always best to err on the side of caution. 

Skin Cancers Common in Dogs

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • Skin squamous cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed form of skin cancer in dogs. This dog skin cancer typically affects older animals and is often seen in dalmatians, beagles, whippets, and white bull terriers. These tumors appear as raised wart-like patches or lumps that are firm to the touch and are most often found on the dog's head, lower legs, rear, and abdomen. Exposure to the sun may be a cause of squamous cell carcinoma, however, there could also be a link to papillomavirus.

Malignant Melanoma

  • Melanomas are raised bumps that can be dark-pigmented (but not always) and are frequently found around the dog's lips, mouth, and nail bed. Most melanomas are benign, however, malignant melanomas are a very serious health threat. These tumors grow quickly and have a high risk of spreading to other organs. Schnauzers and Scottish terriers appear to face an increased risk of developing melanoma, and male dogs are more at risk than females.

Mast Cell Tumors

  • Mast cell tumors occur in the mast cells of the immune system and are very common in dogs. These tumors can grow anywhere on the skin, and even on the dog's internal organs. Some of the most common sites for mast cell tumors to appear are on the limbs, lower abdomen, and chest. This form of skin cancer can occur in any breed but is most often seen in boxers, pugs, Rhodesian ridgebacks, and Boston terriers between 8 -10 years old.

How Skin Cancer is Diagnosed in Dogs

To diagnose skin cancer in dogs, your vet may perform a biopsy to take a small sample of the tumor's cells for examination. This sample will be analyzed at a lab in order for your veterinarian to provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your pup's condition. 

In order to determine the extent of your dog's cancer, additional diagnostic testing may be recommended. This can help to optimize treatment and give a more accurate prognosis for your pet.

Treating Dog Skin Cancers

Many early-stage dog skin cancers can be treated successfully, allowing pets to continue living comfortable, happy lives for years to come.

Your dog's skin cancer treatment could include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapies, or palliative care when appropriate. When it comes to the prognosis and treatment for skin cancer in dogs, options will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of cancer, the location of cancer, and how advanced your dog's cancer is.

Always Monitor The Overall Health of Your Dog's Skin

Spotting the signs of skin cancer while the disease is still in the early stages is the key to good treatment outcomes. During your regular grooming routine familiarizing yourself with all your dog’s normal lumps, bumps, and spots so that you can spot changes in your pup's skin right away.

Visiting your vet for routine wellness exams, even when your dog appears perfectly healthy, can help to catch skin cancers in the early stages.

Whenever you notice an unexplained or unusual lump or bump on your dog, or if you notice swelling around your dog's toes consult your vet right away. When it comes to your pet's health it's always better to err on the side of caution. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have found an unusual bump or lump on your dog's skin, our Huntersville vets urge you to have it examined as soon as possible. Contact LakeCross Veterinary Hospital to book an appointment for your beloved pup.

Boxer dog outside. Boxers face an increased risk of developing mast cell tumors.

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