dog skin cancer treatment

An aggressive type of skin cancer that dogs can develop is squamous cell carcinoma, which is usually caused by too much sun exposure. 

Dogs can develop a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma. It is usually caused by too much sun exposure and is aggressive in nature. It can spread to nearby lymph nodes and even destroy surrounding tissue. 

While there is currently no definitive cause for this type of cancer, scientists believe that it is related to the papilloma virus.

What Do Skin Cancers on Dogs Look Like?

Dogs can develop a variety of skin cancers. The most common type is squamous cell carcinoma. The cancers typically appear as raised, wart-like patches on the skin and are firm to the touch

The most common areas for squamous cell carcinoma to develop are the head, lower legs, and rear. It is a serious disease that can spread to distant organs.

What Happens if My Dog Has Skin Cancer?

Dog skin cancer can be caused by several factors, including UV exposure, diet, and genetics. Early detection is crucial for successful treatment. 

Dog owners should take note of the appearance of lumps or bumps on their dogs’ skin and regularly visit their veterinarian. If any lumps or bumps are enlarged or change in color, it is recommended to seek medical help.

Types of Skin Cancer in Dogs

dog skin cancer

Malignant melanomas

Treatment for dog malignant melanomas depends on the stage of the tumor. If the tumor is localized, it can be removed by surgical excision. 

In other cases, the dog may undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may delay the progression of the cancer and increase the chances of a complete cure. However, there is a high risk of recurrence.

During a physical examination, a veterinarian will look for evidence of invasive growth. A 3 cm pigmented mass in the oral cavity, pain when opening the jaw, and facial swelling should raise suspicion of malignant melanomas. 

A CT scan revealed that the mass had invaded through the maxilla and zygomatic arch, and that it had extensive soft tissue invasion in the retrobulbar space.

New immunotherapy treatments are being developed for dog malignant melanoma. These therapies involve harnessing the immune response and encouraging white blood cells to kill tumour cells. 

While most tumours have evolved to evade the immune system, immunotherapy has the potential to tip the balance in favor of the body’s natural defenses.

As reported by Metropolitan Veterinary Associates, malignant melanomas can be an aggressive cancer in dogs. Melanoma is the most common cancer found in dogs’ oral cavity.

Mast cell tumors

There are several options for treating mast cell tumors in dogs. If surgical excision fails to remove the entire tumor, additional therapies, including radiation, may be prescribed. In some cases, radiation alone is enough to control the tumor. 

Another option is photodynamic therapy, which uses light and a photosensitizing agent to destroy the tumor. It is not a curative treatment, but it has a high success rate.

A genetic analysis may also be performed to determine whether there is an abnormality of the KIT (CD117) gene, also known as the C-Kit mutation. 

If present, this mutation increases cellular proliferation, decreases the survival time, and increases the risk of recurrence. About 15 to 40% of mast cell tumors carry the C-Kit mutation. In dogs, chemotherapy is often used to shrink or eliminate the tumor.

Dogs with mast cell tumors may require surgery, requiring a stay in a veterinary hospital. The procedure involves cutting a margin around the tumor and into an adjacent lymph node. 

A surgeon may remove the entire tumour and an associated lymph node at the same time. However, an incomplete excision may require further surgery or adjunct treatment.


Dogs are prone to developing fibromas, which resemble skin tags or collagenous nevi. These benign growths can occur on the head, legs, or other parts of the body. They may be raised or flat and may be in the skin or in the fat underneath the skin. 

Surgical removal is the preferred treatment. If your dog is suffering from fibromas, it is important to consult a veterinarian.

Dogs may also develop fibrosarcomas, which are fast-growing, malignant tumors that form in a dog’s skin. 

These tumors are most common in Brittany Spaniels, Irish Wolfhounds, and Gordon Setters. Because they grow rapidly and invade the underlying muscles, it is important to have them diagnosed as early as possible.

Dogs that develop fibromas should be taken to a veterinarian for a biopsy. They can be treated with chemotherapy or surgery. The early diagnosis is critical for determining the type of cancer.

Histiocytic cell tumours

Histiocytic cell tumour is one of the most common types of skin cancer in dogs. These benign masses tend to develop on the face and extremities, but can occur anywhere. 

Technically, histiocytomas are abnormal proliferations of histiocytes, which are immune cells in the skin that function as barriers against invaders. The problem is caused by a disruption in the self-regulatory mechanism of these cells.

In addition to the fact that they have similar characteristics to human HS, histiocytic cell tumors in dogs have a number of distinctive features. These include dense, pleomorphic cell proliferation, large nuclei, and abnormal mitotic figures. Other symptoms include phagocytosis of erythrocytes.

Histiocytic cell tumour is subclassified into two categories – benign histiocytoma and malignant histiocytic cell tumour. The latter group is further divided into two subtypes: localized sarcomas and histiocytic sarcomas.

How Long Can Dogs Live With Skin Cancer?

There are several options for treatment for skin cancer in dogs, including surgery. Surgery is usually the first step, but sometimes chemotherapy or radiation therapy is recommended as well. 

If treatment is successful, melanoma may go into remission for 70% of dogs, although recurrence is common. Surgery may also be combined with a vaccine, which can stimulate the immune system of the dog to attack tumor cells.

In general, dogs with this disease live up to 10 months on average, but those with immediate surgical removal can live for 36 months or longer.