Skin Cancer in Dogs
It is the most common cancer in dogs and comes in several different forms

Skin cancer in dogs, which is not commonly known, is the most common cause of cancer in your pet.

In most cases of this potentially deadly disease, there is no known actual cause, although long periods of sun exposure is thought to be the cause of one of the types of these cancers.

All dog breeds are at risk of developing skin cancer and it can affect all age brackets as well.

However, it is most prevalent in middle aged to older dogs between the ages of six and fourteen.

Light colored or white dogs also seem to be at a greater risk than dark colored dogs, and there are some breeds that also seem to more prone at developing this form of cancer.

These breeds include Norwegian Elk hounds, Kerry Blue Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Basset Hounds, Weimaraners, and Boxers.


Beagle eyesThe best way to stop Skin cancer in dogs is to examine them frequently

Examining your pet at least once every couple of weeks may end up saving their life as in the long run as you can easily spot a development if you understand exactly what to look for.

It is important to catch any type of cancer as early as you can.

However, it is absolutely critical with skin cancer as it can spread very rapidly.

Examining your dog is easy to do by carefully separating their hair with your hands and then looking closely over their entire body,

The reason is simple; these growths can occur anywhere.

You will be looking for some very specific signs that will identify skin cancer in the very early formulation periods.

The first set of signs that you want to look for is any type of a tumor or growth, scaling or crusty lesions, or any areas of color changes in your dog’s skin.

Next you want to look for any type of a new growth, a change of size or color in an existing growth, or a tumor that bleeds easily or does not seem to be healing.

A very important part of the examination process is to also watch your dog very closely.

If they have an area of their skin that they are continually licking or scratching, check that area more frequently for these symptoms.

You also need to watch for any swelling that may occur in their breast area as well as any type of discharge from their nipples.

And do not leave out the tail area, as this is also extremely important as they may develop lumps or a discoloration on or under their tail.


Skin cancer in dogs is a very extensive and broad category of tumors and primarily includes any type of uncontrolled growth of cells in the skin or structures that are associated with the skin.

These structures include their glands, hair follicles, and their fat, as well as connective tissues.

There are some forms of cancer that will affect the skin such as Metastasis, but this is not considered a skin cancer because it does not originate in the skin.

Skin cancer in dogs is broken down to four major categories: Epithelial, Mesenchymal, and Round cell tumors, as well as Melanomas.

The exact type of skin cancer will all depend on the cell in your dog that has been affected.

Epithelial Tumors

This form of skin cancer in dogs involves the skin itself, as well as the glands in their skin or hair follicles.

This group of tumors includes papillomas, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell tumors, as well as sebaceous gland, sweat gland, and perianal tumors.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer in dogs.

This form of tumor will almost always develop in non-pigmented or hairless sections of the skin simply because it has less protection.

This type of tumor is almost always round in shape and females seem to be affected more than males, and your dog’s forelegs as well as their hind legs are the most likely areas of attack.

Mesenchymal Tumors

This form of skin cancer in dogs derives from the cells in your dog that surrounds and supports their skin.

This includes their fatty tissues, any type of a connective tissue, and well as their blood vessels and nerves.

In most all cases with this type of tumor, either benign or malignant, they are much less defined than an epithelial tumor.

These cells are very seldom rounded and will come in several different shapes.

The most common form of this tumor is called Lipomas, which are benign fatty tumors.

Your dog may only have one develop, but it is capable of developing into several spreading tumors.

With this form of tumor, it is very important to catch it early and have your veterinarian identify it properly from a mast cell tumor.

Round Cell Tumors

This type of skin cancer in dogs are named round cells as that is exactly what they look like when examined under a microscope.

This includes a wide range of tumors but by far and away the most common is the referred to as mast cell tumors.

Mast cells in your dog are highly specialized cells that are found throughout their body and they help your dog respond to both inflammation as well as allergies.

These cells release several chemicals when they are stimulated such as antihistamine, and they are critical to your dog’s immune system.

However they can also be extremely damaging to their body when the release becomes chronic.

These cells can severely damage your pet’s body by this chronic release and result in gastric ulcers as well as internal bleeding.


Perhaps the best known of all the skin cancer in dogs, this form of cancer is derived from melanocytes, which are your dog’s cells that provide the pigmentation in their skin.

Damage to these cells demand immediate attention as they can very easily metastasize to any part of your dog’s body and can easily be spread by their lungs and lymph nodes.

If this type of skin tumor is benign, they will appear as firm, round dark pigments that will range from one-quarter to two inches in size.

They are most commonly found on your dog’s head or back and will not metastasize.

However, if your dog’s lymph nodes swell, it is a sign that they are spreading, regardless of their size or shape.


Skin cancer in dogs if caught early, can usually be successfully treated in several different ways that can be discussed with your veterinarian.

The key to the success is catching it early.

There is no one that knows or understands your dog’s body better than you do, and if you do find anything unusual such as a lump or a sore, take it very seriously and do not wait to notify your veterinarian.

The sooner they can examine your dog, the better their chances are a beating skin cancer.

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