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What is Dog Skin Cancer?

Dog Skin Cancer is also known as Cutaneous and Mast Cell Tumors or MCT. It is a type of cancer that manifests through tumors, the forms of which may be histiocytomas, cysts, perennial gland tumors and warts. There are different forms of this illness as well:

Epidermoid Carcinoma

Dog Skin Cancer is also known as Cutaneous and Mast Cell Tumors or MCT

This is a sort of tumor that usually appears on your pet’s feet and legs. It may appear cauliflower-shaped, or it may look like a hard, grayish and flat ulcer that does not heal. Take care to watch out for these kinds of breakouts on your dog’s skin.

Mast Cell Tumors

These tumors are commonly found on hind legs, on the genital foreskin, and the lower abdomen. This type of skin cancer usually affects older dogs more than the rest.


Melanomas are dark-colored bumps which usually sprout from a mole that’s already there, or a pre-existing mole. For this reason, melanomas are sometimes overlooked until they spread out, or grow elevated above the skin surface, or starts bleeding.

Sebaceous Adenomas

Sebaceous adenomas appear to be less than an inch long. They are cauliflower-shaped and are light in color. They are called sebaceous adenomas, because they grow in the skin’s oil-producing (sebaceous) glands.

All these are the different forms of skin cancer. If any of these signs start manifesting on your pet, it is important to find out as much as you can about them and to seek a proper professional opinion on how best to address it.


Causes of the 4 Types of Skin Cancer in Dogs & How to Prevent Them

This article will discuss the rates, causes and prevention, and age, breed and sex predilection of skin tumors in dogs.

Here’s what canine skin cancer looks like:

  • Epidermoid Carcinoma : Possible cauliflower-shaped, or  hard, flat, grayish ulcer
  • Mast Cell Tumors: Common in older dogs. Frequently found on hind legs, lower abdomen, and foreskin of the penis.
  • Melanomas: Usually dark in color. The mole spreads out, bleeds, or becomes elevated above the skin surface.
  • Sebaceous Adenomas: Usually less than an inch long, shaped like a cauliflower, and light in color.

Rate of Dog Skin Cancer Appearance

Skin tumors are the most prevalent tumors overall, affecting 450 per 100,000 dogs per year. Approximately 30% of all tumors in dogs are tumors of the skin.

Dog Skin Cancer Causes & Prevention

  • Skin cancers are linked to both inherited and genetic abnormalities, and to environmental factors.
  • Mast cell activation occurs with allergic reactions when antibodies bind to the mast cells and release reactive agents.
  • Chronic activation of mast cells that have been compromised leads to their transformation into a cancerous state.

Breeds Predisposed For Dog Mast Cell Tumors Include:

  • Beagles
  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxers
  • English Bulldogs
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Mixed Breeds
  • Pugs
  • Schnauzers

Other brachiocephalic breeds (those having short, wide heads) seem to be prone. Further, these tumors appear in males and females with equal frequency.

Even if your dog’s breed is not predisposed to skin cancer, it is still the most common type of cancer in dogs, and really a disease every dog owner needs to be aware of.

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