Melanoma cases are increasing in dogs, and it is often not found until it has spread and become aggressive. This is why it is important to know about this specific cancer as well as the signs to look for. We never think it will happen to us or our dog family until it is too late.
Learn more about what dog melanoma is, what the symptoms are, and the treatments by reading our Searcy, AR, animal clinic‘s article below.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that triggers and attacks the pigment cells. It’s also known as pigment cancer or pigment tumors.
The thing about melanoma is that it is not always cancerous. Some tumors are benign, but there is no way of knowing without rigorous testing. The tumors usually appear on the hairless parts of your dog’s body and grows over time. Not all dogs display the same symptoms either.
Sadly, melanoma is common and can easily spread without treatment. It is a fatal type of cancer that is often not found until the cancer has spread and there are more extreme symptoms. Thankfully, there are some treatments that can bring some ease to your mind.
The Causes of Melanoma
The hardest part about melanoma and cancer is all of the unknown. Sadly, at the moment, we do not know the exact cause of melanoma. However, we know that it is a mutation, and some studies suggest there is a genetic component.
This means that if one parent of a dog has had melanoma, the puppy has an increased chance compared to other puppies whose parents did not have this form of skin cancer. It is important to know that the risk is still very low, though.
Symptoms and Signs That Your Dog Has Melanoma
Melanoma is a very visual cancer, which means that you will be able to spot the masses and tumors on top of your dog’s skin. These large masses are red and sometimes they appear like blisters that are bleeding.
Any mass should be concerning. If you see any bumps that appear to have not been there, you should call your dog’s veterinarian immediately to get them medical attention. This is especially concerning if the mass is large and continues to grow over time.
Sometimes masses and bumps can be nothing but scratches, but these open wounds can also develop and grow bacteria. This is an issue since the bacteria can infect your dog’s open wound causing disastrous infections and effects.
Usually, the mass is also located on a hairless point on your dog’s body, like their mouth. This is a common location, which causes both discomfort and pain. While your dog cannot speak and tell you, it is likely that they feel nauseous because of the melanoma.
Once your dog has their diagnosis of skin cancer, try and take a breath. There are solutions that can either elongate your dog’s life or make them comfortable with the skin cancer. There is a chance of death, but the survival rate still exists.
If the cancer has not spread and is visual enough, sometimes your dog’s veterinarian will recommend surgery. This surgery will remove the mass and any other masses they find during the procedure. It is usually the first step in beating cancer, but if it has spread too much, the surgery will not cure your dog’s cancer.
After the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation is necessary to destroy the rest of the cancer cells. This is not always recommended because there are still trials going on. Sadly, the advances that we have in medicine are not enough for cancer treatments to be affordable for our furry friends. Always consult your veterinarian first.
Usually, if the treatment does not work, your veterinarian will recommend pain remedies and medications. If the cancer is too severe, all you can do is try and provide your dog with comfort and a good rest of their life. Since anxiety plays a huge role in the life of sick dog’s, you should give your dog anxiety reducing supplements that help them cope with their nervousness and pain.
Reach Out to Our Searcy, AR, Animal Clinic with Any Concerns of Your Dog Having Melanoma
All in all, no one wants to hear that their dog has melanoma or some type of cancer. It is heartbreaking and hard because of the changes that occur to a dog’s body when battling cancer. Thankfully, we can try and catch the disease and harmful cancer quickly while looking for the signs and symptoms.
Pet owners should immediately call and schedule testing if there are any masses found on their furry friends. Bumps and masses could be a tumor and even non-cancerous tumors can cause pain and problems depending on their size and location.
To schedule an exam with our Searcy, AR, veterinarian, please give our animal clinic a call at (501) 268-5381.
Thank you for choosing Liles Animal Clinic as your pet's veterinarian in Searcy, AR. We are committed to providing exceptional veterinary care from your pet’s first days to their final moments. Our veterinary clinic facilities have been designed to assist us in providing routine preventive care for healthy pets, early detection diagnostics for aging pets, and complete medical and surgical care for pets at all life stages.