The Different Types of Dog Tumors

Dogs, unlike many other animals, are susceptible to the same types of cancer that humans can contract. Cancer in dogs can be attributed to several factors such as genetic makeup and exposure to the same environment and carcinogens as humans. A pet dog diagnosed with cancer is alarming for an owner, but with the proper knowledge the owner will understand the condition of his/her pet and how to give the proper treatments.

Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells proliferate and grow abnormally. Cancer harms the body when the damaged cells divide uncontrollably, thus forming masses of tissue called tumors (except in the case of leukemia). Tumors that intrude upon and destroy adjacent tissues and spread to other locations of the body via the lymph or blood are termed malignant tumors. Tumors that do not have the capacity to invade and spread and are usually encircled by fibrous tissue are called benign tumors. These types of tumor do not present any major health risk unless they compress upon neighboring organs.

Some Common Dog Tumors

  • Skin tumors – are one of the most common tumors found in dogs. Fortunately, the majority of these tumors are benign. Many skin tumors are likely to be papillomas, lipomas, or sebaceous gland adenomas.

A papilloma is benign tumor of the skin and oral cavity mucous membranes. It is caused by site-specific papilloma viruses and tend to occur in young dogs (6 months to 4 years) and in immunocompromised older adults.

A lipoma on the other hand is a benign fatty tumor usually comprised of mature fat cells in subcutaneous tissue. Lipomas are extremely common in middle-aged and older dogs.

Mast cell tumors are malignant, highly invasive and difficult to treat with complete success. They are the most common cutaneous tumor found in canines.

  • Osteosarcoma – this is the most common bone tumor found in dogs. Most affected dogs are giant breeds. The tumor can develop in any bone, but most often occurs in bones bordering the shoulders, wrists and knees. It develops deep inside the bone and becomes progressively painful as it grows. Swelling can be observed as the tumor grows and replaces the normal bone with tumorous bone.

  • Lymphoma – lymphoma accounts for 10-20% of all cancers in dogs. Lymphoma is the same as lymphosarcoma since there is no benign variant of the disease. In a healthy animal, the lymphoid system is an important part of the body’s immune response against pathogenic substances such as viruses and bacteria. Typically, lymphomas present as a solid tumor of lymphoid cells. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss,
    lethargy, difficulty breathing and increased thirst or urinations.

  • Mammary tumor – this tumor is commonly found in older female dogs. Mammary tumors can be small, large, aggressive, metastatic growths. With early detection and prompt treatment, the chances of successfully treating the tumor is high. Approximately 50% of all mammary tumors in dogs are benign, and the other 50% are malignant. The most common benign form of canine mammary tumors is actually a mixture of several different types of cells.

  • Nasal tumors – clinical signs of nasal tumor include persistent discharge from the nose on one side, often with blood. The treatment of choice for nasal tumors is radiation therapy alone, surgery and chemotherapy does not seem to improve survival rate or work better than radiation therapy.

Tumors will do your dogs great harm if not treated immediately. If symptoms are already present, one should send their dog checked right away. A semiannual checkup to a local veterinarian would be of great help where such scenarios where a loss of loved one, in this case, a family dog would be avoided.

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