Humans dread the word cancer. It is not really surprising for people to be paranoid of this word. Statistics show that for every 4 deaths, one is due to cancer. Cancer happens not only to humans but to animals too. Dogs are considered as members of the family – a highly valued and well loved pet. A pet owner would panic if a swelling or a lump is noticed in the dog.
The lumps noticed on the skin or body of the dog is usually associated with tumors. Because tumors are commonly linked with cancer, pet owners fearing for the life of the pet would panic. Did you notice a growing mass on the skin of your pet? Not all lumps are tumors and not all tumors are cancerous. You may be worrying unnecessarily. Take the pet to the vet. As with any other health concern, early diagnosis and treatment would give the dog a good chance to full recovery.
A growing mass on the body of the dog, a bump or a lump is medically called tumor until further diagnosis is made. Abnormal growth of cells results to the formation of tumors. A mass will be formed when cells divide and multiply uncontrollably. A tumor can be external or internal. The tumor can be benign or malignant. A benign tumor will be surrounded by a fibrous tissue. As it cannot spread and invade other parts of the body these type of tumors do not pose a health risk. Benign tumors would have a significant effect on the health of the dog if the growth is putting pressure on a vital organ. A malignant tumor is a major health concern. From the primary tumors, cells can break off and form growths in other parts of the body. Dogs are predisposed to different types of tumors. Out of a thousand dogs, four would be diagnosed to have a tumor. Tumors of the mammary glands, skin tumors, bone tumors, tumor of the lymph nodes, testicular tumors and tumors on the digestive tract organs are the most common types of tumors dogs develop.
Owners would find unexplained growth on the skin while the dog is being groomed. The skin tag, a cyst or an abscess can be benign – the mass can also be cancerous. Skin tumors can develop from a number of causes. Pappilomas that commonly occur in young dogs are caused by pappiloma virus. Commonly called warts, these skin tumors would develop on the eyelid, lips and genital area. Sebaceous gland tumors are benign wart-like growths commonly found on the dog’s abdomen. A vet’s treatment option for mammary and testicular tumor is surgery. These kinds of tumors are usually benign. Mammary tumors are common in intact female dogs. The swollen mammary glands would be hard to the touch. Biopsy is conducted to diagnose the dog’s condition. Mammary gland tumors are prevented by spaying the dog. Testicular tumors develop in unneutered male dogs. Swelling of the testicular area and enlargement of the prostate glands are the common symptoms of this type of tumor. Surgery to remove the testicles is the common treatment.
Lymphoma is a malignant tumor of the lymph nodes that affects dogs of all ages. Swollen lymph nodes are indications that the dog has lymphoma. Diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and weight loss are some of the signs of advanced stage of the disease. Treatment options would depend on the stage of the cancer. Surgery and chemotherapy can provide the dog longer survival times. Bone tumor is another type of tumor that dogs commonly have. Most bone tumors are malignant and about 85% are osteosarcomas. These are aggressive tumors that would rapidly spread to other organs. Aggressive treatment is necessary because of the tumor’s tendency to metastasize. Amputation of the affected limb and chemotherapy increases the dog’s chance of survival.