Benign Tumors in Dogs

Benign tumors are different from malignant tumors in many ways. Most importantly, a benign tumor is not a life threatening problem, while a malignant tumor contains cancerous cells that will develop and may cause death.

How Tumors Form

The dog’s body produces a lot of new cells during the time the dog is in a development stage. After the dog reaches maturity, the body will no longer produce a lot of cells. The cells will only form to replace the cells that die. Typically, the dog’s body regulates the production of cells and the number of dead cells will equal the number of newly formed cells. However, there are cases when the dog will produce more new cells than dead ones, so tumors will start forming. The mass cells, also known as tumors, will not have any functions and will not help the skin or the dog’s body in any way.

Some of these tumors may be benign, while others may contain cancerous cells.

Benign Tumors

Benign tumors may occur on the skin or near vital organs of the dog’s body. The tumors will typically have a regular shape, will not grow in time and will not spread to other organs. The tumors are normally encapsulated in fibrous tissue.

Diagnosing Benign Tumors

There are a few visual tests that may be performed to detect if the tumor is benign. Typically, benign tumors have a regular shape, regular edges, an even color and will not be very large. However, there are malignant tumors that may look like a benign tumor, especially during the initial stages.

The benign tumors may be diagnosed by performing a biopsy. A small sample will be taken from the tumor and will be analyzed. The pathologist may establish if the cells are cancerous or benign. If the cells are benign, they resemble in structure with the cells that are found near the tumor. The benign cells will be inactive, do they won’t divide or multiply like the malignant cells.

Cancerous cells are differently structured and will be identified under the microscope. Malignant tumors will have an increased amount of chromosomes.

Treatment for Benign Tumors

Typically, no treatment will be required for benign tumors. The tumors are not likely to develop and cause problems. However, should the tumor be located in an area that blocks certain functions of the dog, the vet will perform surgery and remove the tumor. The tumor is very unlikely to grow back.

In very rare cases a benign tumor can turn into a malignant mass of cells. You should monitor the evolution of the tumor, if it is visible and visit the vet if you notice it has grown significantly. If the tumor is internal, the vet will ask you to come to checkups every 2 to 6 months to be able to track the evolution of the tumor and to detect a malignant mass of cells.