Benign and Malignant Tumors in Dogs: Understanding the Difference

Tumors in dogs may be of different types; some of these tumors are benign and should be left alone or malignant tumors, case in which they should be treated or removed to prevent the spreading to the other parts of the body.

Types of Tumors

A vet can determine if the tumor on your pet is malignant or benign by performing a biopsy. A malignant tumor may be life threatening, while a benign tumor is just an accumulation of tissues. Benign tumors develop at a much slower rate than the malignant tumors.

Dog cancer can spread to the spleen, lungs or lymph nodes. Benign tumors will not spread to other organs.

A dog with cancer will display a few symptoms such as lethargy, lack of appetite, swellings, slow healing of wounds or lumps on the surface of the skin. However, these symptoms are indicative of other medical conditions also, so blood tests and a biopsy are needed.

Dog Tumor Treatment

If detected in time, the malignant tumors may be surgically removed. Chemotherapy will be needed after the surgery; in case the surgery is not possible or if the cancer has spread in the body, chemotherapy is the only therapy option. Radiation treatment may reduce the pain.

Benign tumors may also be removed if they apply pressure on vital organs or if they interfere with the normal development of tissues. The dog needs to be monitored to make sure the tumor doesn’t grow back or turn into a malignant one.