Types Of Skin Cancer In Dogs

Dog Skin CancerSkin Cancer In Dogs

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Skin cancer on dogs is very common.  There are several types of skin cancer in dogs.  It is important to learn the difference in canine skin cancer and benign tumors.  This can be difficult to do on the basis of appearance alone.  The lump or bump may have to be removed by surgery to establish a diagnosis.

The following skin tumors are common in dogs.  They are usually not malignant, but all have the potential to become malignant.

Sebaceous Adenomas are the most common.  They are caused from oil producing skin glands and occur in older dogs.  Cocker Spaniels are affected more than other breeds.  They are light colored and usually less than an inch long,.  They have a cauliflower like appearance.  The skin surface may become ulcerated.  About 25% are low grade cancers.  If any of the adenomas are large, they should be removed.  They are more likely to be cancer.

Mast Cell Tumors are commonly seen in older dogs.  They are prevalent in Boxers and Boston Terriers.  The average dog with a mast cell tumor is eight years old.  The dog tumors may be seen on the lower abdomen, hind legs, and prepuce or foreskin of the penis.  They are less than an inch long and are multi-nodular growths.  When growth is rapid and size is greater than one inch dog cancer is more likely.  Malignant mast cell tumors can metastasize to organs that are close.

Cortisone may be given to decrease the size of mast cell tumors.  Surgical removal is the treatment of choice.

Epidermoid Carcinoma is a hard flat grayish looking ulcer that resembles a cauliflower and does not heal.  The size is variable.  it is most commonly seen on the feet and legs, but can be seen elsewhere.  Due to constant licking the hair may be lost around the tumor.  This dog tumor is malignant and should be removed.

Melanoma is a malignant neoplasm that sets its name from the brown or black pigment that is associated with it.  It often develops in a pre-exiting mole.  When a mole starts to enlarge or spread out, becomes elevated above the surface of the skin or starts to bleed, you should suspect melanoma.  Melanoma skin cancer is more common in Scottish Terriers, Boston Terriers and Cocker Spaniels.  All suspicious moles should be removed.  Melanoma spreads widely and at an early stage.

Histiocytomas occur in younger dogs and are rapidly growing button like tumors.  They are seen on the feet, face, and ears.  They are dome shaped, raised, red irritated-looking and painful to the touch.  Some Histiocytomas grow smaller and disappear on their own in a few weeks.  Others may have to be removed.

If your dog has any canine cancer symptoms such as lumps, bumps, lesions, infections, ulcers, abrasions, diarrhea and loss of appetite, you should make an appointment with your vet.

It is important to check your dog from head to tail on a monthly basis for any signs of skin cancer.  Early detection of dog cancer may be the key to saving your dogs life.

Your pet should be protected from the sun for long periods.

Epiphora Or Excessive Tearing In Dogs

Epiphora in dogsEpiphora or Excessive Tearing In Dogs

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Epiphora or excessive tearing in dogs is when water or discharge from the eye overflows the lids and runs down the sides of the face which causes eye stain.  You will notice a constant wetness to the area under the eye.  The skin may become inflamed and secondarily infected.  Eye discharge in dogs can be caused by simple allergies or can be a sign of serious eye problems or dog illnesses.

Dogs do not cry as people do.  A tearing eye can be a sign of a dog eye infection.

What causes watery eyes?  Runny eyes can be caused by irritative diseases of the lids such as Entropion or Conjunctivitis.  Foreign bodies can cause tearing of the eyes too.

Inadequate tear drainage can cause tearing eyes too.  The dog tears are secreted in normal amounts, but are not adequately drained away.  The overflow is due to an obstruction in the nasolacrimal drainage system.  Causes of the obstruction are:  congenital narrowing or occlusion of one or both of the tiny ducts in the eyelids which collect the tears at the inner corners of the eye, congenital absence of the ducts; scarring of the ducts or the openings, active infection in the ducts or in the main nasolacrimal ducts which causes plugging by cellular debris; and lodgement of a foreign body in the system.

Flushing techniques are used to show the point of obstruction.  Flushing may open the duct and remove the problem.  A minor operative procedure or an opening may have to be done to remove the problem.  Antibiotics and steroids may be given to reduce inflammation.

Ectropion In Dogs

Ectropion In DogsEctropion In Dogs

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What is drooping eyelids?  Ectropion in dogs is when the dog’s eyelid is rolled outward from the face exposing the eye to irritation.  The condition is usually seen in dogs with loose facial skin such as Spaniels, Hounds, and Saint Bernards.  It is seen in older dogs in which the facial skin has lost its tone and sags.  Saggy eyes can be seen in hunting dogs after a long day in the field.  The upper or lower lid may be affected.

To tighten the lid and protect the eye, plastic surgery may be necessary.  This will  help correct the drooping eyes.

Dogs with long hair around the face are subject to eye irritation.

In some cases the eye lids droop exposing the cornea.

Ectropion can cause conjunctivitis, excessive tearing, inflammation of the cornea and discharge from the eye.

Treament for Ectropion in dogs depends on how severe the condition is.  Mild ectropion may not need to be treated.  Moderate cases can be treated with medicated eye drops.  More severe cases may require surgery.

Entropion In Dogs

entropion in dogsEntropion In Dogs

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Entropion is the most common congenital defect of the eyelids.  It is caused by a long standing disease of the lids or by injury.  Some cases are complicated by blepharospasm which is a spasm of the eyelid.  Entropion in dogs is when the eyelids roll inward and rub against the cornea of the eye.  This causes the dog a lot of discomfort.  Breeds that are commonly affected are:  Chow, Irish Setter, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Bulldog and Great Dane.  It most commonly affects the lower eyelid and breeds with large heads and loose facial skin such as the Saint Bernard and the Bloodhound.  Entropion can be found in the upper lid as well.

It can cause excessive tearing, conjunctivitis, pain that causes the dog to scratch or rub the eye and sensitivity to light.  The constant rubbing of the eyelashes against the eye can cause corneal ulcers, which can cause scarring of the eye and affect the vision of the dog.

Young puppies that have entropion can have lid tacking that will temporarily fix the problem.  Most vets do not like to do surgery on puppies less than 5-6 months of age.

Surgical correction is required for this condition.

Dog Dementia

DEMENTIA DOGDog Dementia

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Dog dementia is also called dog alzheimer’s disease.  Your vet may refer to it as canine cognitive disorder.  It is the most common chronic degenerative nerve problem in old dogs.  Dog dementia is a form of senility that affects the mind of an old dog.  An estimated 68 percent of dogs are affected are 15 or 16, as well as 28 percent of dogs 11 or 12 years of age.  Around 30 percent of dog owners with aging dogs that are 11-12 years old report signs of senility.  At least 75 percent of owners with dogs 15 years or older report signs of dementia.

The symptoms of dementia can vary, but can include decreased attention to surroundings, increased sleep, elimination indoors, anxiety, failure to recognize owner and barking aimlessly.

There is no diagnostic test and no cure for canine dementia.  It is diagnosed on a review of medical history, physical examination and tests calling out other causes of mental decline including, hypothyroidism, heart failure, kidney failure, cancer and adrenal disease.  There are several choices of treatment for dementia in dogs which can slow it’s development.

The drug Selesiline may help pets with a cognitive disorder.  The drug can be effective in up to 80 percent of dogs after at least two months of therapy.  Side effects are rare, but can occur and certain other drugs can not be give at the same time.

There are several natural therapies that help dogs with canine dementia.  Fish oil with omega-3 fatty acids, various antioxidants, alpha lipoic acid and L-carnitine may benefit dogs with Canine Cognitive disorder.

A product called Cholodin has been used successfully to treat dogs with dementia.  Combing Cholodin with natural therapies has delayed or prevented the onset of senile dementia in dogs.  This preventive protocol is begun in all dogs at 5 years of age.

There is success in treating dogs with canine cognitive disorder with a number of nutritional supplements.  Using B complex vitamins to maintain proper neurological function and success using milk thistle and ginkgo biloba.  Antioxidants such as Quercetin and Co-Q10 can be helpful too.

It is important to check heart function

All dogs should eat a natural well balanced diet to prevent excessive oxidation leading to nerve damage.  Most dogs with canine cognitive disorder are middle aged or geriatric.

With early diagnosis, dementia can be effectively treated in most dogs by using natural therapies.  It may be possible to decrease the incidence of or totally prevent dementia by starting your dogs on natural therapies.