Tumors are irregular cellular growths. The most common tumors exhibited by dogs are those that affect the skin, or the tissues underneath the skin. The reason that skin tumors are the most commonly diagnosed tumors in dogs is because they are the most visible tumors, and also because the skin is repeatedly exposed to numerous tumor-causing environmental elements. These elements include viruses, chemicals, and solar radiation, and many others. Abnormal hormones and genetic factors are also possible factors in the growth of skin tumors.
The skin has many layers and components, with each having the ability of developing unique tumors. It is sometimes quite hard to distinguish a tumor from an inflammatory disease. Most tumors appear as tiny bumps or lumps, though they may look like bald, discoloured patches, non-healing ulcers, or rashes. It is thus prudent to leave their identification to a qualified veterinarian.
Tumors can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign. Malignant tumors are able to spread and do damage to the animal. Differentiating a cancerous tumor from a benign tumor requires laboratory equipment and specialized knowledge. During an evaluation of a tumor, the veterinarian can perform a fine needle aspiration of cells or a biopsy, which involves taking a small sample of tissue from the tumor.
How a particular tumor is dealt with is heavily dependent on the kind of tumor, its position and magnitude, and the general physical state of the dog. Benign tumors that do not interfere with the dog’s usual routine and are not ulcerated usually do not require treatment. This tends to be the best approach when dealing with elderly dogs.
Malignant and benign tumors that hinder normal activities or are aesthetically unpleasant can be handled in a number of ways. One of the most effective and inexpensive options is surgical removal. It is also the one with the least side effects. In the event that malignancy is assumed, the tissue around the tumor shall be removed to boost the likelihood that none of the tumor cells remain. In cases where the tumor cannot be totally taken out, then partial removal may extend the life of the dog. Other options include chemotherapy and radiation treatment, so as to boost the chances of your pet.
Apart from hair follicle and skin tumors, there are others that affect the ceruminous glands. Such tumors are talked about in the ear disease section.