April 13, 2012

Help! My Dog Has a Tumor!

Filed under: Cancer,Dog health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:46 am

One of the scariest health problems a dog owner might someday come across is finding a lump on their pet’s body where there wasn’t one before. Looking up dog tumor pictures and trying to diagnose your dog yourself will quickly lead you to assume the worst: cancer. But all lumps aren’t necessarily cancerous even when they look just like other tumor pictures. A sudden new lump on a dog usually means one of two things: mast cell tumor (cancerous) or oil cyst and other types of cysts (non-cancerous). It’s important to understand the differences between the two types, and what pet owners should do in either case.

Mast cell tumors (MCT) are malignant tumors which generally need to be surgically removed or treated. According to the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine these cancerous tumors are common in dogs and are found in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and overall appearances. Pictures of dog tumors confirm that MCT can look like anything from small white lumps to large, red, hardened masses. Early detection is the best prevention from MCT becoming aggressive and fatal. Because these cancerous tumors like to spread throughout the body, surgical removal is usually necessary, but radiation is sometimes used when surgery is not an option. Courteous Canines, LLC writes that tissue samples from any questionable lumps are removed by a veterinarian prior to any other form of treatment to perform a biopsy and diagnose a lump as MCT.

Sebaceous cysts, or oil cysts, are small bumps found under the skin that are caused by blocked pores from hair follicles, dirt, and oil. Sebaceous cysts can also be common in dogs but unlike MCT they are non-cancerous and benign. Unfortunately, sometimes a cyst can look like cancerous tumors, and a veterinarian will need to perform a biopsy to rule out malignant cells. According to VetInfo, occasionally a veterinarian will suggest having a cyst removed surgically if it has ruptured to decrease the risk of infection.

If you believe your dog could have mast cell tumors or cysts you’ll want to get a final diagnosis from your dog’s veterinarian. Finding a dog tumor or cyst can be a scary experience, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Even if your dog is diagnosed with cancerous mast cell tumors there are different options at varying price points that can help ease pain and increase survival rates. Remember not to make an ultimate diagnosis based off dog tumor pictures, instead get a professional opinion and save yourself the potentially unnecessary grief.

November 11, 2010

Lymphoma in Dogs

Filed under: Cancer — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:05 pm

canine cancer Lymphoma is a particularly aggressive form of cancer that is found in many mammals, including dogs.  In most cases, canine lymphoma is usually diagnosed in middle-aged dogs, but the disease can afflict any age dog.  Unfortunately, the survival rates for lymphoma in dogs are very low but research in recent years has yielded a number of treatments that significantly extend the life of a dog with lymphoma.

While lymphoma is one of the most common forms of cancers to affect dogs, its causes are unknown so it is a very difficult condition to prevent.  Environmental factors including herbicides and pesticides, exposure to magnetic fields, and even diet have all be related to the development of lymphoma in dogs.  Lymphoma tends to affect the lymph nodes and some internal organs such as the liver and spleen and left untreated the life span of a dog with lymphoma is usually less than 2 months.

There are 4 types of canine lymphoma.

1.       Multicentric lymphoma

This type of lymphoma focuses primarily on the lymph nodes and lymphatic organs and can be recognized through the formation of enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, groin, and under your dog’s front legs.

2.       Alimentary lymphoma

Generally affecting the digestive tract, this form of canine lymphoma is one of the most difficult to diagnose.  Symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea may not appear until the late stages of the disease.

3.       Mediastinal lymphoma

This lymphoma mostly affects the chest and thymus gland leading to symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fatigue, and lethargy.  Mediastinal canine lymphoma is rare.

4.       Cutaneous lymphoma

Finally, this form of lymphoma attacks the skin and lymph nodes causing raised lumps and lesions on the skin.

All forms of canine lymphoma are associated with similar symptoms including fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, hair loss, frequent urination, and the formation of lumps particularly in the neck.  If you suspect your dog is suffering from canine lymphoma, visit your vet immediately.  Chemotherapy is the preferred treatment method for canine lymphoma although new treatments including the use of stem cells and new drug combinations are being developed.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.