Owning a dog can be pleasurable, but as an owner, you have to be responsible for the health of your pet. In other words, you have to keep an eye on your dog, to be able to detect even the smallest problems and keep it healthy at all times – as much as possible. Here are a few things that every dog owner should know about dog skin cancer.
Growths on dog’s skin
Few dog owners actually know that skin growths are the commonest forms of tumor in dogs. Although few of these are truly cancerous, the cancerous ones can be quite aggressive. It is important for you, as a dog owner, to know about the symptoms, risk factors and protective measures associated to skin cancer in dogs, to be able to keep your dog safe in a much better way.
Types of Dog Skin Cancer
Skin cancers in dogs are commonly of three types:
- Malignant Melanoma – It affects melanocytes – the pigment cells that are present in the skin. Many benign tumors arise in these cells, but others have a fast growth and spread quickly to other areas – such as the lungs or the liver.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma – These malignant tumors generally appear on the mouth, in the nail beds or on the skin as elevated white lumps. These often result from exposure to the skin or can also arise due to the papillomavirus present in some dogs. These might need operative measures for effective removal.
- Mast Cell Tumors – The commonest skin cancers in dogs, these are associated to genetic factors, skin irritants and inflammation. The growth of these tumors might also be caused due to the hormones progesterone and estrogen.
The possible risk factors for these dog skin cancers include:
- Exposure to sun,
- Some types of breeds,
- Genetic factors etc.
A biopsy and a veterinary exam is the best way to detect skin cancer. As an owner, you have to be mindful of the lesions, bumps and lumps developed in your dog and monitor them for any change in discharge, color, size etc. Frequent check-ups and staying vigilant at home can be very useful in keeping your dog protected.
How is Dog Skin Cancer Treated?
All types of skin cancers in dogs are removed operatively, although based on case. At times, additional treatments like oral medications, radiation and chemotherapy might be needed. A therapeutic DNA vaccine can also be useful in dogs that are found to be suffering from oral Melanoma.
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