Canine Tumors of the Skin: An Overview

Canine tumors come in many different forms. Canine skin cancer is often referred to as a mast tumor. Mast tumors can be found in any breed of dog at almost any age and they can be treated, however you need to find them and be able to identify them to get treatment before the tumor gets to a point where it has spread.

Dog carcinoma is very common, particularly in older dogs. Dog lymphoma and skin tumors, mast tumors, are the most common forms of cancer found in dogs. Recognizing the symptoms and understanding the disease will help you when you speak with your veterinarian about the treatment options available for you dog.

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast tumors develop when the body of your dog overproduces mast cells that normally occur in the body. When mast cells develop normally they help your dog with anti-inflammatory properties and help your dog battle allergies. When the mast cells are over produced they form the tumors that cause your dog the problems associate with the cancer they've become.

Mast Cell Tumors Develop on the Skin

Mast tumors typically develop on the skin. They can also be found in areas that make it more difficult for you to find out that your dog has a tumor. Those areas include the spleen, the liver and in the bone marrow. If the mast tumor is on the skin than it is typically on the main body most often then the tumors are found less often on the extremities of the body.

Symptoms Associated with Mast Tumors

The symptoms associated with canine skin cancer can vary widely from dog to dog. Some of the most common skin cancer symptoms include a tumor that changes in size or shape regularly (maybe even as often as day to day). You may also just notice the tumor and, if it is swollen, your dog may react to the pain of it. Depending on how far along the cancer is you may notice that your dog has a loss of appetite, starts vomiting, or has diarrhea, itchiness, lethargy, an irregular heart rhythm, coughing or labored breathing.

Dog cancer treatment for those dogs with mast tumors can vary widely, but the important thing to note is that the mast tumors can be treated, and even cured if they are caught early. It is important to discuss your options with your veterinarian and make sure that you are making the best treatment decisions for your dog and your dog's type of mast tumor.