Unfortunately, Yes! Like Humans, pets are susceptible to cancer and other form skin related diseases. Many domesticated and wild animals suffer from some form of cancer too.
Skin tumors are the most common form of cancerous tumors found in Dogs. However, if it’s caught during early onset, it can be treated effectively. The disease is generally classified into Benign and Malign cancers. The term ‘Benign’ is used for less harmful cancer tumors, while ‘Malign’ is used for harmful cancer tumors.
Dogs have certain sensitive areas in the body where there is less or none protection from hair, like nose and ears. Many dog breeds lack enough fur in their body making them more susceptible to skin related diseases. Too much unprotected sun exposure may cause cancer in dogs.
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Dog melanomas and mast cell tumors are two major types of cancer found in dogs. These are fatal and life-threatening if left treated.
Six Common Types of Cancer in Pets
Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer in dogs that affects pigmented cells known as melanocytes. This tendency is common in humans too. Dogs often develop tumors in pigmented cells that do not metastasize (spread to other parts), which are called melanocytomas.
It mostly occurs in the empty spots, however, some may develop in the body part with hair too. Experts believe that it is mostly a Genetic factor which causes the development of melanoma.
Compulsive licking and unhealthy lifestyle must be prevented in the pets to stop spreading the cells to other body parts.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is a rare form of skin cancer prevalent in dogs. Pets with light-skin or hairless body are akin to this type of cancer. Dalmatians, Keeshonds, Standard Schnauzers, Basset Hounds, Collies, Bull Terriers and Beagles are few breeds mostly affected by it. Most squamous cell carcinomas appear as firm and raised or often ulcerated plaques and nodules.
As reported by PetMD.com, “Tumors can often grow outward into large masses and have a surface that resembles a wart. Treatment includes surgery to remove the primary tumor. Incompletely excised tumors should be treated with radiation therapy to prevent regrowth. These tumors infrequently spread to local lymph nodes and the lungs.”
Mast cell tumor
Mast cells tumor generally occur through allergic reactions. The immune cells contain chemicals or granules that are released upon stimulation by an allergen. These cells are located throughout the body and within the skin. This is a more slow-growing cancer in dogs, however, more aggressive mast cell tumors grow faster and may ulcerate.
Mast cell tumors are mostly found in Boxers, Boston Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Pugs, Shar Peis, and Bulldogs.
As reported by Pets.WebMD.com, “Mast cell tumors most commonly occur on the trunk of the body, though they are found on the legs about 25% of the time.”
Melanomas or Benign melanoma in pets are less harmful. It occurs frequently in dogs with dark pigmented skin. Malignant melanoma is a type of Melanomas which is more aggressive. These tumors are usually solitary and appear as small brown/black masses. They can also appear as large, flat, or wrinkled tumors.
As reported by PetMD.com, “Most melanoma tumors are diagnosed after they are removed. Fine needle aspirates can be done on such tumors; however, they are less likely to exfoliate (distribute into the syringe during aspiration), so the sample obtained in this manner might not be diagnostic.”
Hair Follicle Tumor
Most hair follicle tumors are benign or less harmful and can be cured with surgical removal. They develop as a result of the disordered growth of the hair follicles in dogs. Malignant hair follicle tumors need special care and treatments.
Lymphoma is a type of blood-borne cancer of lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are found throughout the body, including the skin, where they offer protection against various pathogens that this organ can come into contact with.
According to PetMD.com, “While technically not a skin tumor, another common cancer that occurs in the superficial layers of the skin is Epitheliotropic lymphoma.”
There can be several forms of lymphoma in dogs. Epitheliotropic lymphoma occurs mostly on skin. Chemotherapy is a common form of treatment.
It is important that you provide proper care, diet and environment to your dog. Each breed of dog may have specific conditions, hence, you must consult your vet for medical guidance. To ensure that your pet is safe, get it checked from a reliable veterinarian today.