Skin tumors in dogs are the most common form of canine cancer. Luckily, if caught early enough, it is one of the most easily treated cancers. No one wants to hear the word cancer at all after a trip to the vet. It is important to remember that not all dog skin cancers are malignant. In fact, the most common cause of lumps on dog’s skin are lipomas. These are simply harmless growths of fat cells.
However, if you do find a suspicious lump on your dog’s skin, go to the vet for an examination. This is because if some types of tumors are left alone, they can be fatal. If you are concerned about a lump on your pet’s skin, or if your dog has skin cancer, here are all the facts that you should know about skin tumors in dogs:
What Causes Skin Tumors?
It is believed that skin tumors in dogs can be caused by a variety of different things. This is the same as with humans.
It is believed that genetics have a large part to play in whether your dog will develop skin cancer.
The Environmental Factors That Can Lead To Canine Skin Cancer Include:
- Exposure to the sun & certain chemicals
- Environmental factors
- Hormonal abnormalities
- Viral infections
What Are The Common Types Of Skin Tumors In Dogs?
There are a variety of different types of skin cancers that can occur in dogs, and different cancers may occur in different parts of the skin. The most common types of skin cancers in dogs are; malignant melanoma, mast cell tumors, squamous cell carcinoma, histiocytic cell tumors, and fibrosarcoma. Here’s a brief description of each of those types of skin tumors in dogs:
Melanoma is a tumor that has begun from the abnormal growth of the cells in the skin that are responsible for producing the skin pigment melanin. Tumors of this type can be dark in color, or they can be the same color as the surrounding skin. Benign melanomas are more common than malignant tumors. However, if melanoma is malignant, it can grow quickly, and it can spread cancer throughout the rest of the body.
Mast Cell Tumors
The most common types of skin tumors found in dogs are mast cell tumors, which originate from the cells in the body that create histamine. Mast cell tumors can appear anywhere on the body, including the internal organs, but the most common place that mast cell tumors occur in dogs are on the abdomen, the chest and on the limbs.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma usually affects older dogs. The tumors, which look like raised patches of skin or lumps, can appear on the head, the rear of the dog, the legs, and most commonly, the abdomen.
Histiocytic Cell Tumors
Histiocytic cell tumors occur due to the abnormal growth of a normal type of skin cell called histiocytic cells. This type of skin tumor in dogs usually affects dogs under 3 ½ years old and it is particularly common in Greyhounds, Boxers, terriers, Chinese Shar-Pei, and Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Most commonly found on the limbs, fibrosarcoma and spindle cell tumors form in the connective tissue of the skin and the tumors can vary in appearance. They are usually slow growing tumors, and they don’t often cause the cancer to spread elsewhere in the body. However, they often recur after surgery, and the tumors are also prone to bleeding, ulceration and infection, which can be very unpleasant for the dog.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer?
Identifying skin cancer in dogs can be difficult because skin tumors in dogs are often covered by the dog’s fur. However, regularly checking your dog regularly, especially when they get a bit older, for any signs of unusual lumps or bumps in the skin will help you spot skin cancer early, which will greatly increase the chances of successful treatment. Here are the most common symptoms of canine skin cancer.
- Unusual swellings that do not go away or continue to grow
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sores and lesions that do not heal
- Signs of bleeding or discharge from body openings
- Bad smelling odor
- Loss of energy and stamina
- Difficulties with eating or swallowing
- Continued stiffness in the limbs or lameness
- Breathing difficulties
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
How Can You Tell If That Lump Is Cancer?
Lumps do occur on a dog’s skin and they are not all cancerous. In fact, fewer than half of lumps that pet owners bring to the attention of their vet are actually cancerous. Most are fatty lumps, cysts, or warts, all of which can be common in older dogs. However, if you are at all concerned about a lump on your dog’s skin, you should take your dog to a vet to have it checked out.
If the bump has appeared suddenly and it appears to be growing, it is red, it is emitting pus, it is causing swelling in the surrounding tissue, or it is causing the dog pain, it would be advisable to take your dog for an examination sooner, rather than later.
The signs that a lump may be cancerous are that it has appeared suddenly, it is changing shape and or color, or the appearance of the lump has coincided with any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
If you do suspect that your dog has developed skin cancer, play it safe, and take your dog to a vet, because early treatment will help stop the cancer spreading to other parts of the dog’s body.
What Treatments Are Available For Skin Tumors In Dogs?
A diagnosis of skin cancer in a dog can be the start of a very worrying time for a pet owner. Luckily, many types of skin tumors in dogs are treatable if they are caught early enough.
Surgery can successfully remove many skin tumors in dogs. The area often times then undergoes chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The prognosis for your pet will depend on the type of tumor, where the tumor is located, and at what stage the cancer has reached.
Most benign skin tumors on dogs require removal by surgery, or are simply left alone. A dog with a malignant skin tumor will require treatment and is quite likely to need some extra love and attention. Medication is also helpful for coping with the symptoms of skin cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
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How To Care For A Dog With a Skin Tumor?
Skin cancer can affect pets in so many ways that it is not possible to give any definitive answer to the question of how to care for a dog with a skin tumor. You will need, therefore, to take advice from your vet and, to a large extent, care for your pet as you would any other sick member of your family.
If a skin tumor is bleeding or has become infected, then keeping the wound clean is important. If the tumor is causing irritation and your dog won’t leave it alone, you may have to take measures to stop your dog licking the wound so that it doesn’t aggravate the skin around it.
Dogs who have lost their appetite or who are suffering from nausea and diarrhea, you will need to provide your dog with plenty of water to drink and soft, easily digestible food when it does want to eat. You may also consider looking into healthy diets and natural food supplements such as CBD oil, to reduce the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy. The most important thing that you can do for a dog with a skin tumor is make them as comfortable as they possibly can be.
It is believed that when treating a dog with skin tumors, the life expectancy of the dog can be extended by using a combination of treatments recommended by a vet, and complementary natural remedies, such as CBD and a good natural diet. As CBD has been studied and proven to help reduce the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, it can also greatly enhance the quality of life for a dog undergoing cancer treatment.
CBD & Skin Tumors In Dogs
Over the past few years, there has been growing evidence supporting the fact that CBD has an antitumorigenic effect, which means that it can help slow the growth and spread of tumors and possibly even help destroy them.
The FDA prohibits us to make any claims on our CBD products so we encourage you to research the ongoing studies of CBD oil and make a decision on your own if it will help your pet cope with any cancer or skin tumors.
It has also been documented that CBD can help to reduce the symptoms of cancer, such as nausea and vomiting, and such it has also been proven as an effective painkiller.
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CBD is a compound that occurs naturally in the hemp plant. Unlike THC, which is the psychoactive compound that is found in flowering cannabis plants, CBD is non-toxic, and it doesn’t cause a high. Rest assure that it is safe for your pet to indulge in the benefits of CBD!
The therapeutic effects of CBD for both humans and animals are still being studied. Because of the observed benefits in patients who have taken their health into their own hands, interest in the potential cancer-fighting properties of CBD has grown significantly in recent years. There are several lines of evidence that support the antitumorigenic effect of cannabinoids.
CBD is not necessarily a replacement therapy for skin tumors in dogs. There is a substantial body of evidence both clinical and anecdotal that suggests that CBD is at the very least very beneficial for dealing with skin tumors in dogs.