Symptoms of Canine Melanoma

Canine melanoma is the most common oral malignant tumor, and it can also be on on the skin or toes, or behind the eye. This type of cancer commonly occurs in dogs with dark skin. Melanomas are usually small, dark lumps or large, flat, wrinkled masses. Melanoma tumors can grow rapidly and spread to other areas of the body such as lymph nodes, liver, lungs and kidneys. Some experts believe that canine melanoma is hereditary and some dogs are predisposed to this condition. Darker skinned dogs appear to be predisposed and have a higher rate of occurrence. The disease can occur in dogs of any age but appears most often in dogs over nine years old.

Recognizing Canine Melanoma

Signs and symptoms of melanoma in your dog are:

  • Odd shaped or odd colored skin lesions
  • Visible tumors on the toes or mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Excessive drooling
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Unusually bad breath
  • Bleeding of the mouth or gums

Tumors of any size with or without symptoms should never be ignored. With early treatment you are much more likely to be able to prevent the spread of the cancer in your dog.