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Cancerous Moles on Dogs

A mole on the skin of your dog may or may not be benign or cancerous, and it is important to consult a vet if you have a slightest suspicion about the same.
DogAppy Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
While the presence of moles on dogs is natural, the appearance of new ones is definitely a matter of concern considering that some of these are cancerous in nature. In some cases, the presence of these hard lumps or moles is an indicator of skin cancer in dogs.
Characteristic Features of Malignant Moles
  • Cancerous moles are mostly present under haired skin as small, dark brown or black lumps.
  • Their width is up to two inches.
  • They gradually increase in size.
  • They swell and elevate above the surface of the skin.
  • Such moles may bleed at times.
A microscopic examination of mole skin is required to determine its cancerous nature. The pathologist will evaluate a small portion of the tumor to check the overgrowth of cells. There are different types of skin cancer and each type is determined by the rate of proliferation showed by the cancerous cells.
Types of Malignant Moles

Melanoma: Melanomas are malignant new mass of tissues that develop in a pre-existing mole. They are dark in color. The dog breeds commonly affected by melanomas are cocker spaniel, Scottish terrier and Boston terrier, Chihuahua, Doberman pinscher, etc. Moreover, black dogs are more likely get melanoma of the skin. Male dogs are genetically more disposed to it than their female counterparts.
Sebaceous Adenocarcinoma: They are the cancerous lumps occurring in the sebaceous or oil-producing glands. Such tumors are generally less than an inch in length and are light-colored. They appear as ulcer-like red mass and are found generally on the legs, head and eyelid of the dog. Almost all dog breeds are at a risk of developing this types of cancerous mole, however cocker spaniels are the most common victims.
Epidermoid Carcinoma: These cancerous moles are commonly found on the dog's legs. They resemble a cauliflower in shape and are hard to touch. They are grayish ulcers that do not heal. Dogs afflicted with this disease often suffer from other health problems like irregular bowel movement, lack of appetite, weight loss along with swelling in the body parts. They are commonly found in dog breeds of Boston and Scottish terriers.
Mast Cell Tumor: Older dogs of boxer and Boston terrier breeds are the most common victims of mast cell tumors. Such moles occur on the hind legs, foreskin of the penis and lower abdomen. These moles or tumors might differ in size and appear as raised lumpy mass on the skin. The lump usually has a granule like material in it which if released, can lead to inflammation in that area.
Treatment for Malignant Moles

The methods of treatment are surgical excision of the mole, destruction of tumor by radiation and tumor-killing medicines. The selection of treatment method is done on the basis of the type of the mole in question, presence or absence of metastasis, age, and the general health of the dog. The best treatment of this condition is the surgical removal of the entire mole. As a precautionary measure, surgeons prefer to remove out the tissues surrounding the cancerous mole as well. The cut out tissues are again histologically tested to confirm the diagnosis. In case the mole is found to show metastasis, the doctor use radiation therapy and tumor-destroying drugs to provide complete treatment.
Prevention of Malignant Moles

Dogs in their middle or older age are more prone to this disease than young ones. Canines with thinner and lighter shade of coat are more likely to get skin cancer due to overexposure to sun. Genetics plays a major role in the development of tumors, although poor diet can also be a causative factor. In order to protect your favorite companion from cancer, you can take the following measures.
Healthy Diet - Talk to your veterinarian about the nutrition rich diet that your dog needs. Commercial products contain a lot of preservatives and it might not be good idea to feed your pet only these products. Do your best to make his meal wholesome.
Side-effects of Vaccination - Every year dog lovers pay a hefty amount of money to safeguard their beloved pet from harmful germs and viruses through vaccination. But do you know that vaccination itself can lead to serious health issues for the canine including cancer? Canine Health Concern, a renowned charitable organization for dogs, believes that vaccines reduce immunity in dogs. They also maintain that over-vaccination is deadly and the pet owners are being given wrongful information about these medicines. That's why the dog owners have to be aware about all the possible repercussions of giving one too many vaccine shots to their pets.
Loads of Physical Activity - A healthy and playful dog has better resistance to maladies than an inactive dog. Exercise is good for your pet as it aids in endorphin production which in turn helps in controlling weight issues, detoxifying the body and promoting overall health.
If you happen to see a mole on your dog's body, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible for timely detection and treatment. You should regularly get your furry friend checked by the vet for any sign of cancerous cell growth. Last but not the least, keep your pet healthy and happy.
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