Mast cell tumors in dogs of the skin can occur anywhere on the body and vary in appearance. They can be a raised lump or bump on or just under the skin, and maybe red, ulcerated, or swollen. While some may be present for many months without growing much, others can appear suddenly and grow very quickly.
Mast cell tumors account for about 20 percent of all dog skin tumors. Symptoms of mast cell tumors in dogs are fairly straightforward, as you can usually see or feel this growth on your pet. If mast cell tumor is detected early, surgery is often curative. However, if the tumor has spread, or has spread, the prognosis is not good. If you notice any growth in your dog, take him to the vet as soon as possible to assess the growth.
Mast cell tumors
Mast cells are found in the connective tissue of dogs, near the surface of the skin. Mast cell tumors are technically known as mast cell tumors, and are generally single tumors, although they can appear in multiple masses. If the tumor is well-differentiated – that is, it has cells similar to normal cells – the dog may lose hair at the site of the tumor, but the growth rarely bleeds. These tumors grow slowly, usually between 1 and 4 cm in size. If the tumor is undifferentiated or contains cells that are not similar to normal tissues, it may grow very quickly and ulcerate, causing the animal pain clearly. The surrounding area may brown and contain fluid. Symptoms of internal mast cell tumors include vomiting, loss of appetite, and black stools.
Most mast cell tumors occur on the trunk or in the area between the anus and the genitals. In females, this is between the vulva and the anus. In males, it is located between the scrotum and anus. Other sites where mast cell tumors may develop are legs, feet, neck, and head. You may notice an enlarged lymph node around the site of the tumor. Mast cell tumors rarely develop internally, so you will not be able to see them. Tumors that grow in the anal/genital area, nail bed, mouth, or gag tend to be the worst predictor of disease progression.
While any dog may develop mast cell tumors, some breeds are more likely to do so. These include the beagle, boxer, Boston Terrier, Bullmastiff, English Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel, English Officer, Golden Retriever, Char-B, Schnauzer, and Labrador Retriever. Mast cell tumors appear equally in males and females. It often appears in ancient fangs.
Diagnosis and treatment
The vet will take a tumor biopsy to determine the type of cell to grow and determine the stage of the disease. She will also perform an ultrasound and x-rays to determine the size and location of the tumor. Surgical removal of the tumor is always indicated, along with the removal of any affected lymph nodes. Your dog may also undergo chemotherapy and radiation. The diagnosis of a dog’s condition depends on the degree of the tumor and its level of invasion.
What is the survival rate for dogs with mast cell tumors?
The prognosis for completely and completely removed first- and second-degree tumors and treatment with radiotherapy after surgery is also excellent with approximately 90-95% of dogs that do not repeat the tumor within 3 years of receiving radiotherapy.