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Skin Cancers

There are multiple types of skin cancers in cats and dogs. Melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and mast cell tumors are the most frequently diagnosed skin cancers in veterinary medicine. Other types of skin cancer, such as epitheliotropic lymphoma, can be challenging to diagnose due to their mimicry of other diseases and rare presentation. The best way to determine the type of tumor and its prognosis is to have it examined by your veterinary dermatologist.

Symptoms of skin cancer can include: 

  • Masses or lumps on the skin that grow in size or number over time 

  • Any change to existing masses, especially sudden changes such as color, shape, or size 

  • Erosions that do not respond to management for other skin diseases 

  • Itchiness 

  • Redness 

  • Excessive scaling (dandruff) 

  • Hair loss 

  • Lethargy, inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea 


What Veterinary Dermatology Can Do

Your veterinary dermatologist will take a thorough history of your pet’s signs to determine the best way to diagnose a potential tumor. This may include cytology, fine needle aspiration, and incisional or excisional biopsy. Often, these procedures can be performed as an outpatient procedure with minimal discomfort to your pet. Biopsies are sent for review by a board-certified veterinary pathologist to aid in making a diagnosis of tumor type, severity, and potential for malignancy. This will help guide recommendations for further diagnostics and therapy.  

Management Options for Skin Cancer  

The management course for skin cancer will depend on the type of skin cancer present. In the case of some tumors, surgical removal is curative. Others may require extensive oral therapy or referral to a veterinary oncologist. It is essential to consult with a veterinary dermatologist to determine the best management course for your dog's skin cancer. Skin cancer can be a severe condition, and early diagnosis and treatment are critical for successful outcomes. Our Client Care Specialists are ready to book your appointment today.