What Exactly Are Tumors In Dogs? | Find Out

Tumors in Dogs

What Exactly Are Tumors In Dogs? | Find Out


Tumors that are of the skin and the tissues beneath the skin collectively referred to as the subcutis are the most prevalent forms of cancer in dogs.

These tumors make up between forty and sixty percent of the total number of canine tumors. This article will solely concentrate on skin tumors that are not cancerous.

Common Benign Skin Tumors Found In Canines

Basal Cell Tumor

Basal cell tumors originate from the skin’s basal cells, which can sometimes develop into cancerous growths. Canines of more advanced age are most likely to have this condition.

These tumors frequently manifest themselves as single nodules, which may have stalks or bases that are broad. Most of the time, these tumors manifest themselves on the canine’s head, neck, or shoulders and frequently have a pigmented appearance.

As a direct consequence of this, they are frequently confused for melanoma. Biopsies need to be taken of the affected tissues of the tumor. Then those biopsies need to be inspected closely under a microscope to arrive at an appropriate diagnosis.

Wide surgical removal is the treatment that is advised for this condition. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy can be necessary to treat the dog’s condition in some circumstances.

Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are at the top of the list regarding the likelihood of developing basal cell cancers.

Adenoma of the Ceruminous Gland

This specific kind of tumor originates in the ceruminous (earwax) cell glands that are located in the anal canal of the ear. These tumors are often tiny lumps that are attached to stalks. Brown in color, they are typically seen close to the ear drum.

The signs and symptoms are extremely comparable to those of persistent ear infections. It is necessary to use a microscope to analyze the cells of the tumor to make a diagnosis of the adenoma of the ceruminous gland.

The treatment will consist of resecting the entire ear canal, in addition to the administration of chemotherapy and radiation if it is necessary.

Cutaneous Hemangioma

This kind of tumor is a benign growth that originates from cells in the blood vessels (which is also known as endothelial cells) within the skin or the subcutaneous tissues beneath the skin. Skin hemangiomas are often far less extensive than subcutaneous hemangiomas.

They also have a more distinct reddish-black hue and dome-shaped appearance than subcutaneous hemangiomas. These tumors could have been formed by various factors, such as exposure to the sun or certain chemicals, or their origin could be a mystery.

Canines of middle age or older, of a wide variety of breeds, are most likely to be afflicted by these conditions. A skin biopsy must first be performed to diagnose these tumors, followed by electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry.

Immunohistochemistry refers to the procedure of identifying certain antigens inside a tissue sample.

Several distinct treatment options are available for cutaneous hemanigomas, including surgical excision, electrosurgery, and cryosurgery. Some of these alternatives are shown below (which is freezing).

Histiocytoma of the skin (cutaneous)

Very young dogs, often between the ages of one and three, are the most likely to be affected by this type of skin tumor, which is similarly benign. They originate from the monocytes and macrophages, the white blood cells found in the skin of the canine.

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Lesions of this kind are typically found on the head and neck, and they appear as smooth, pinkish-red bumps that are spherical. They frequently ulcerate. Because of how they look on the outside, people sometimes refer to them as “button tumors.”

After they first appear, these tumors often disappear within four to eight weeks. However, removal through surgical means is often required if they do not.


These tumors have a sac-like form and are not malignant. The inside of the sac is lined with epithelial cells. There are many different kinds of cysts, and their classification is determined by the sort of cells that line the inside of the structure.

The location is also important for determining the precise type of cyst present. The treatment will typically consist of observation without any form of therapy, but in some cases, surgical removal will be required.

The following are examples of some frequent forms of cysts:

  • Infundibular Cyst (aka Sebaceous Cyst)
  • Follicular Cyst
  • Hybrid Cyst
  • Cyst of the Insthmus-Catagen
  • Cyst of the Apocrine Sweat Gland
  • Cyst of the Matrix


These benign tumors originate from cells known as fibroblasts found in the skin and the subcutaneous connective tissue. They are commonly found in elderly fox terriers, female Boston terriers, boxers, Golden retrievers, and Doberman pinschers.

Fox terriers can also have them. In most cases, the tumors are isolated and may typically be discovered on the patient’s groin, limbs, or sides. Fibromas can take the form of stalks or domes, can be soft or solid, and may include the melanin pigment found in the skin.

To make an accurate diagnosis, a microscope examination is required. To treat the condition, either removal surgery or cryosurgery will need to be performed.

Cornifying intraepidermal epithelioma of the skin

These tumors originate in the skin cells located in the spaces between the hair follicles of canines. The neck, upper chest, lower belly, and legs are the most frequent and common places to find them.

They may exude a material that’s comparable to toothpaste. An examination under the microscope is required to arrive at an accurate diagnosis of the tumor.

It will be essential to surgically remove the tumor to treat it, although chemotherapy is sometimes successful in treating similar conditions.


This growth, known as a tumor, comprises fully developed fat cells, also known as lipocytes. It is typically a subcutaneous mass that is soft, well-circumscribed, and fluctuant, and it can be found over the sternum, chest, belly, and upper part of the limbs.

These tumors are observed in elderly females who have been spayed most of the time. They can manifest themselves as a single mass or as several masses simultaneously. However, most tumors are found just beneath the skin’s surface.

Some of them are infiltrative, indicating that they can reach the deeper bodily tissues; however, most tumors are found just beneath the skin’s surface. It is necessary to analyze a tissue sample of the tumor under a microscope to diagnose these tumors.

This examination reveals whether or not mature lipocytes are present in the tumor. In most cases, the only treatment option for lipomas is surgical removal. However, the lipoma is small and located in an inconspicuous body part.

In that case, the dog’s veterinarian may advise the owner to ignore the condition rather than try to remove it. If it is decided or confirmed that surgery is the best course of action, it is best to remove the lipoma when it is at its smallest possible size.

Cancer of the Mast Cell

In reality, mast cells are a component of a canine’s immune system; more importantly, they play an essential role in the inflammatory response that a canine mounts in reaction to tissue damage.

Mast cell tumors, also known as MCTs, are frequently seen in the skin but can arise anywhere on the body. However, the skin is the most common location for mast cell tumors. No one knows for sure what triggers mast cell malignancies in the body.

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There is a genetic propensity toward developing malignant tumors in certain dog breeds, with Boston terriers, boxers, English bull terriers, and English bulldogs being the most susceptible.

The tumors are often discrete masses that can be seen anywhere on the body, including the head and neck, the limbs, and the trunk.

Ulcers of the stomach and intestines have been found in as much as 80 percent of canines diagnosed with MCT. According to the findings of certain studies, this could be due to the significant number of histamines released by the MCT.

It is essential to understand that canine mass cell tumors are not always non-cancerous; in fact, up to half of them have the potential to develop into cancer.

Consequently, all mass cell tumors need to have biopsies taken of them and then be recognized using a microscope.

In most cases, treatment will require some combination of wide surgical excision, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Wide surgical excision refers to physically removing a tumor and a large portion of the surrounding skin.


A nevus, which is more generally known as a mole, is a well-defined skin defect that can originate from any skin component or combination of skin components.

Moles are more prevalent than nevuses. The term “nervous” is frequently qualified by other terms, such as “sebaceous gland” or “epidermal.”

A tissue sample that has been biopsied and inspected under the microscope is required to diagnose a nevus tumor accurately. Observation is the most common form of treatment, as opposed to other methods such as therapy or surgical removal.

Nevi can be divided into a few distinct categories, which include the following:

  • Gland of Sebum Production Nevus
  • Epidermal Nevus
  • Organoid Nevus
  • Nevus of Collagenous Material
  • Vascular Nevus
  • Comedo Nevus
  • Nevus of the Hair Follicle
  • Nevus of the Apocrine Sweat Gland


A virus may cause papillomas in canines, or they may develop independently for no apparent reason. Oral and cutaneous papillomas are the two distinct subtypes of this benign tumor.

Oral papilloma in dogs is an extremely contagious disease that is caused by a virus that could be passed from one dog to another through either direct or indirect contact with other dogs.

It is the most frequent type of papilloma tumor and typically affects canines younger than two years of age.

In some cases, it can spread to other parts of the body. In most cases, a canine’s mouth and the area around it are riddled with many lesions.

The tumor will frequently go through a process of spontaneous regression within a few months of its onset, and once this process is complete, the canine is resistant to infection.

If cancer does not go into remission, chemotherapeutic medicines can be used to shrink or perhaps get rid of the tumors.

The cutaneous papilloma that occurs in dogs is not contagious and is not caused by a virus. Canines of more advanced age tend to be diagnosed with this tumor.

This tumor has a whitish-gray tint and resembles the shape of a cauliflower. It is approximately the size of a cauliflower.

They are most commonly found on the animal’s eyelids, head, and feet. In most cases, a single cutaneous papilloma can be surgically removed, resulting in a complete recovery.

Perianal Adenoma (Hepatoid Gland Tumors)

This particular form of tumor originates in the perianal glands, which are glands situated close to the anus. In addition, they can be found around the skin of the canine’s tail, thighs, prepuce, and the top of its back.

Most of the time, these tumors are detected in older intact male canines, and the good news is that they are not malignant.

Because, on a cellular level, the tumors are comparable to those of lever cells or hepatocytes, they are also known as hepatoid gland tumors.

Another name for them is hepatoid tumors. They depend on whether or not testosterone is present, which determines whether or not they are solitary or many.

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When the dog is castrated, they typically revert to their previous state. If castration does not result in complete regression, the next step is to have the testicles surgically removed.

Tumors Of The Sebaceous Gland

These tumors originate in the cells that are found within the sebaceous glands. This gland produces a waxy and greasy material that lubricates the hair and skin of dogs.

They are frequent in canines, especially spaniels, and have a physical appearance comparable to warts or cauliflowers.

They can manifest themselves anywhere on the canine’s body, and, most of the time, they are solitary lesions; nevertheless, they can also manifest themselves as many lesions.

Surgical intervention is the treatment that is indicated. It is quite uncommon for them to recur in the same site; nevertheless, up to ten percent of canines may be predisposed to developing a sebaceous gland tumor in a different part of their body.

Skin Melanoma

These tumors originate in the cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for melanin production. These melanocytes are responsible for the production of melanin, which is responsible for the numerous colors found in a canine’s skin.

Tumors that are found in the skin are normally non-cancerous. On the other hand, tumors that are found in the other parts of the body, such as the nail bed or the mouth cavity, can be malignant and metastatic.

Melanoma tumors are frequently detected on the face and the body’s trunk. When looked at through a microscope, the cells will appear to be composed of granules that are brown to brick in color. Surgical excision is the preferred method of treatment.

Transmissible Venereal Tumor

The macrophase/monocyte system is responsible for developing these malignancies, which can be passed from one individual to another by mating or any other sort of close contact.

In most cases, they can be found on the face as well as the external genitalia of the animal. The masses look like cauliflower and can be single or many, ulcerated, and friable.

Additionally, they are characterized by having a similar appearance.

Under the microscope, the cancerous growth can be recognized for what it is, and the removal of the growth surgically, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy are the treatment options.


These tumors originate from the cells that line the hair follicle sheath and are typically isolated lesions. Canines older than five years have been found to have them on the head, tail, and limbs of their bodies.

They can be cystic or solid and have other characteristics, such as high, spherical, and well-defined. They are prone to ulcers and frequently have hair loss.

In addition to a microscopic examination, a biopsy is essential in this case. It is recommended by veterinarians that the tumor be surgically removed.

In Conclusion

It is clear that a dog’s skin can develop a wide variety of tumors and growths. And if that happens you must take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you see any new growth so that the veterinarian may inspect it.

Because several of the lesions mentioned above could have a similar appearance, it is essential to have a certified and experienced pathologist in veterinary medicine perform a biopsy and a microscopic study on the tissue sample.

It is imperative to perform early diagnosis and treatment to help increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Questions People Also Ask: (FAQs)



What are the common types of tumors found in dogs?

Common types of tumors found in dogs include:

  • Lipomas (fatty tumors)
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Hemangiosarcoma (a type of cancer that affects blood vessels)
  • Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
  • Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system)
  • Melanoma (skin cancer)


What are the signs of a tumor in a dog?

Signs of a tumor in a dog can vary depending on the type and location of the tumor but may include:

  • Lumps or masses on the skin or under the fur
  • Abnormal swelling
  • Changes in the size or shape of an existing lump
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing


How are tumors in dogs diagnosed?

Tumors in dogs are typically diagnosed through a combination of methods, including:

  • Physical examination
  • Biopsy (removing a small piece of the tumor for examination under a microscope)
  • Imaging tests (such as X-rays, ultrasound, or CT scans)


What are the treatment options for tumors in dogs?

Treatment options for tumors in dogs can include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • palliative care (symptom management)


Can tumors in dogs be prevented?

Tumors in dogs can’t be prevented, but early detection and treatment can improve the chances of successful treatment. Regular check-ups and screenings with a veterinarian and prompt attention to any changes or abnormalities in your dog’s body can help with early detection.

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