Dog skin cancer: types, symptoms and treatments

Dog skin cancer can manifest itself in different forms and with different symptoms: we see the possible treatments.
Today, we will be dealing with a rather delicate and often neglected problem, in the orbit of pathologies that can hit our four-legged friends: skin cancer in dogs.

It is a type of disease quite common in the canine world. It can manifest itself in different ways but especially with a different intensity. In this sense, in fact, it is necessary to make a first fundamental distinction between benign tumors and malignant tumors.

The former do not involve problems that are too serious for the animal and simply need to be monitored properly to avoid complicating the situation; the latter, on the other hand, can cause considerable damage and, in extreme cases, cause the death of our four-legged friend.

But let us immediately make an additional distinction useful to better frame the phenomenon. With respect to skin cancers, we can talk about skin and subcutaneous tumors. The first appear on the surface, on what is called – precisely – the epidermis and the dermis. These appear rather immediately below the surface, as they say “under the skin”.

You may also be interested in cancer in dogs in general: types, symptoms and treatments.

But what exactly are we talking about when we talk about skin cancer? It is a kind of swelling, something obvious, fairly well circumscribed and that will alter the normal surface of the skin of the animal. In this sense, there is often confusion between tumor and neoplasia, the second being different from the first because it involves the growth of a single tissue in an exaggerated way.

After this short list of useful notes for reading, let’s try to analyze these pathologies more precisely, by illustrating the symptoms and the treatments, the possible moment of the incubation and the hospitalization, tips of prevention. We will also try to understand which breeds are most likely to contract this type of disease. Obviously, we will focus on the malignant version of the tumor, which, as mentioned above, can seriously endanger the health of our four-legged friend.

Malignant type skin cancer occurs at a point in time and then tries to spread like an oil patch inside the dog’s body, according to a process called metastasis. During this invasion – more or less slow depending on the case – the tumor will damage an increasing number of organs, even causing the death of the animal.

Dog Skin Cancer: Types

There are many, but given the hand, they should be the most widespread: perianal adenoma, hemangioma, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, lipoma, melanoma, papilloma, basocellular tumor, tumor of the apocrine gland of the anal sac, venereal tumor transmissible.

It can be a simple accumulation of skin or subcutaneous fat, cancer or various types of infections. In this sense, the aspects of the environment in which our animal has “fallen” can be decisive.

However, there are often genetic reasons too. In fact, there are some breeds that are undoubtedly more predisposed than others to develop this type of pathology. Below we list the most affected, in alphabetical order: Basset Hound, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Gray Norsk Elkhund, Golden Retriever, Kerry Blue Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Weimaraner.

Dog Skin Cancer: Symptoms

What are the most obvious symptoms? Generic drafts, very visible even to the naked eye. Presence of nodules or protuberances of the external squamous tissue (in some cases, bleeding or ulcerous).

How is the diagnosis made? At the medical level, we analyze a tissue sample through a cytological examination and a histopathological study. These operations can and should be done by a veterinarian. Do not go into “home” assumptions.

Dog Skin Cancer: Healing

The path is that of surgery: it is the most exploited solution. However, there may also be supportive therapies, to add to the operation, to facilitate healing: it is almost always radiotherapy, cryotherapy or chemotherapy.

Instead, there is no real way to prevent, if not avoid, excessive exposure to solar radiation (especially if the dog is “cleared”) and to conduct cyclical checks in conjunction with your trusted veterinarian .