Canine Melanoma

You have been noticing your dog has odd colored and/or shaped skin lesions, halitosis, weight loss due to loss of appetite, drooling, coughing, tumors on its toes and has trouble swallowing. All right, your dog may not have all these problems, but may have some of these mentioned problems, which are all symptoms of Canine Melanoma. If you notice your dog with a combination of these symptoms, the dog will need to be seen by a veterinarian and the sooner the better.

Canine Melanoma, a cancer found in the mouth, toes, behind the eyes or on the skin, can be malignant or benign. Malignant cancer means the cancer has the capability of spreading and usually does. Canine Melanoma is usually malignant when it occurs in the mouth, toes or behind the eyes. Benign cancer means that the cancer does not spread. Canine Melanoma found on the skin is usually benign.

When a dog exhibiting the symptoms of Canine Melanoma is carried to the veterinarian, a diagnosis will be reached by findings the veterinarian discovers using a physical exam, blood tests, a chest x-ray and a biopsy when the veterinarian believes it is necessary. The physical exam will include the veterinarian studying all the symptoms the dog is exhibiting. Blood tests will be done on blood drawn from the dog, including a blood count and serum chemistry. A chest x-ray will be used to determine the condition of the dog’s lungs. A biopsy may or may not occur, the veterinarian will determine if it is necessary. By using the information gained from each procedure, the vet will diagnose the health problem that the dog is experiencing and treatment can begin.

Treatment of Canine Melanoma includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery will be performed to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Chemotherapy is used including Dacarbazine. Radiation is used as a treatment because it aides in the shrinking of the tumor.

When their veterinarian tells a dog owner that their dog has Canine Melanoma, they are concerned about all aspects of the health crisis they and their animal are facing. The prognosis is usually very high on the list of questions the dog owner will ask. Unfortunately, the veterinarian will have the task of answering this question by explaining that the prognosis is poor if the cancer is found in the skin and even poorer anywhere else.

Canine Melanoma has the possibility of being hereditary and is more prevalent in Doberman Pinschers, Scottish Terriers, Irish Setters, Gordon Setters and Golden Retrievers. Anyone considering one of these breeds should choose their dog breeder carefully, including discussing Canine Melanoma with the breeder. If the breeder is not aware of this cancer and raises these dogs, it may be best to seek out another dog breeder in order to avoid any heartache due to Canine Melanoma.

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