Spindle Cell Sarcoma in Dogs

A spindle cell sarcoma is a cancerous tumor that is made up of soft cells that grow from the mesodermal tissue. The mesodermal tissue helps in the formation of connective tissue, blood and muscles. The spindle cell sarcomas may be removed through surgery, but only if they are located in a single area of the body and the cells have not affected internal organs.

Spindle Cell Sarcomas

Spindle cells form when the cells start to divide. The spindle cells are the ones that help the movement of the chromosomes. Spindle cells can occur in some types of cancer. Spindle cell sarcomas occur when abnormal cells form in the body. These cells are malignant and have no function. The spindle cells sarcomas form in the subcutaneous layers. The tumors are typically solid, but may also contain fluid. Spindle cell sarcomas are not very aggressive and may not grow for a long time.

Causes of Spindle Cell Sarcomas

The spindle cell sarcomas are abnormal, mutated cells that are malignant and form in the body. The reasons these cells mutate are not fully understood. There are a few possible causes that lead to the formation of spindle cell sarcomas including:

  • Exposure to sun
  • Exposure to chemicals (i.e. fragrances, household chemicals, cigarette smoke)
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Certain drugs
  • Certain vaccines

Symptoms of Sarcoma in Dogs

The spindle cell sarcomas may be felt as lumps under the dog’s skin. The sarcomas may be smaller or larger, mostly solid, but there are a few tumors that may be filled with fluid.

The spindle cell sarcomas may not grow for extended periods of time, but this doesn’t mean the tumor is not cancerous.

In addition to the lumps that you may feel, you may observe your pet lack energy and is also depressed.

Diagnosing Sarcomas

The spindle cell sarcomas can be diagnosed with a skin biopsy. A sample will be needed from the tumor and a cytologist will analyze the cells to determine if they are cancerous.

Alternatively, a fine needle aspirate may be performed, especially if the tumor is filled with liquid.

Treatment Options for Spindle Cell Sarcoma

Due to the fact that the spindle cell sarcomas don’t grow at a speedy rate, surgery is often the course of treatment chosen. Surgery can be advised if the spindle cell sarcoma is located in a single area and doesn’t seem to affect neighboring organs. The vet will perform a few x-rays and ultrasounds to make sure the neighboring organs are not affected by the cancerous cells.

The surgery will involve general anesthesia and should be performed as soon as possible, to prevent the development of the tumor.

After the surgery, the vet will recommend a chemotherapy, which will put an end to the growing of cancerous cells. The dog should be checked periodically, as after the surgery the spindle cell sarcoma may grow back.

If the tumor is metastasized, surgery cannot be performed and the prognosis is poor.