Can dogs get skin cancer?
Yes, dogs can get skin cancer. Tumors affecting the skin or subcutaneous tissue (the tissue just under the skin) are the most commonly seen tumors in dogs. Fortunately, many such as lipomas (fatty tumors), sebaceous adenomas, and papillomas (mole-like growths) are benign, meaning that they won’t spread to other parts of the body.
Malignant tumors (tumors that will spread) such as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and mast cell tumors are occasionally found, however. A veterinarian can diagnose a tumor in a dog with a biopsy--which involves removing a small amount of tissue from the tumor and examining it closely--or needle aspirate cytology, in which the veterinarian uses a needle to remove a microscopic amount of cells from the tumor in order to examine cell structure. These samples may need to be examined by a veterinary pathologist.
If you have concerns about any lesions, bumps, or growths on your dog’s skin, your veterinarian can examine and test them. If you have further concerns, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary oncologist.