Histiocytoma in Dogs

Histiocytoma in dogs is a benign cell growth that may be seen on the surface of the skin. The condition affects more often dogs under the age of 5. The skin growth is often mistaken for a cancerous tumor, so a proper diagnosis is required. Treatment may not be necessary, but if the skin growth causes discomfort, it may be removed through surgery.

Causes of Histiocytoma in Canines

The precise causes of histiocytoma in dogs are not known. The tumors occur when the skin cells develop rapidly and uncontrollably. The condition affects dogs that are younger, under the age of 5 and certain dog breeds are more likely to have histiocytoma:

  • Boxers
  • Dachshunds
  • Labrador Retrievers

Histiocytoma Symptoms in Dogs

A histiocytoma is a raised skin growth with no hair on it. The lump may develop quickly, without any warning signs. The dog will not display any additional symptoms, as the skin growth is not a life threatening condition and will not affect his health in any way.

Diagnosing Histiocytoma in Dogs

To properly diagnose a histiocytoma, a vet will have to perform a biopsy. A small portion of the skin growth is cut out and the dog will receive a local anesthetic, so he won’t feel any pain. The tissues obtained will be analyzed under the microscope. If the cells are benign and are specific for histiocytoma, the vet has a clear diagnosis. No other tests are necessary if the results of the biopsy are clear.

Treatment Options for Dog Histiocytoma

A histiocytoma is not a serious condition. The dog can live a normal life with this skin growth. The growth may go away within up to 6 months in most cases. If the skin gets infected, the vet will recommend cortisone cream and in more severe cases, a course of antibiotics. However, if the histiocytoma doesn’t subside and is located close to the joints or on the eye lids, hindering certain functions of the pet, the vet will schedule a surgery and remove the skin growth. The procedure is an outpatient surgery and is performed under anesthesia.

The skin growth should be monitored, as it may cause minor skin infections. In rare cases, the lump may start to grow and turn into a malignant tumor. For this reason, it’s important to look at the lump every week and make sure it doesn’t change in size, color or shape.

Checking for Lumps on Your Dog

You should have a grooming routine and include checking for lumps. Don’t forget to check every area of the dog’s skin, under the ear flaps and on the eye lids or under the tail. It’s imperative to visit the vet whenever you spot a lump, as even if this may prove to be a histiocytoma, it may also be a small malignant tumor and skin cancer is an aggressive and often fatal condition. Early detection of skin cancer will improve your dog’s prognosis.