A Dog Tumors (or neoplasia) is defined as an increase in the volume of a tissue or organ due to the abnormal proliferation of its cells.
Types of Dog Tumors?
A tumor can be visible and palpable when it develops on a superficial tissue (skin, udders, oral cavity …) or be visible only with the use of imaging means if it develops deep on an organ or internal tissue (kidneys, lungs, bladder, blood vessels.
All tumors are not cancerous. In reality, there are two types of tumors :
Benign tumors are localized and circumscribed in an organ. They do not invade the entire body because they do not form metastases (they are not cancerous). Most of the time, they are content to repress neighboring tissues by their volume, without invading them.
However, depending on their location, they can be sometimes annoying or painful or even serious if they are compressive or obstructive of the light of an organ (case of tumors of the brain or heart.
Some examples of benign tumors encountered in dogs:
- Lipoma: subcutaneous tumor containing fat cells,
- Histiocytoma: cutaneous tumor,
- Neoplasms of the sebaceous glands,
- Osteoma: benign bone tumor,
Malignant tumors are cancerous. They consist of cells that grow anarchically and are able to spread throughout the body.
Among the malignant tumors, the distinction is made between primary tumors born at the level of an organ or tissue and secondary tumors formed by the migration into the bloodstream of tumor cells derived from the primary tumor. Secondary tumors correspond to cancer metastases.
Some examples of malignant tumors encountered in dogs:
- Mastocytoma: The cancerous tumor of the skin or intestines,
- Squamous cell carcinoma: cancer that can affect the respiratory system, skin, fingers … of the dog
- Lymphoma: malignant tumor of the lymphatic system,
- Sertolinomas and seminomas: testicular tumors,
- Hemangiosarcoma: A cancerous tumor that can affect multiple organs and develops from vascular cells,
- Insulinoma: A tumor of pancreatic cells responsible for insulin secretion,
- Osteosarcoma: long bone tumor,
- Chondrosarcoma: a bone tumor that develops from cartilage cells,
How to differentiate a benign tumor from a cancerous tumor?
The only observation of the shape, location and growth rate of a tumor does not in any way to know if it is cancerous or not.
To know whether a tumor is benign or malignant. It is necessary to go through a histopathological analysis performed by a specialized veterinary laboratory. It can only be practice from:
- a sample of cells from the tumor called a puncture. The needle aspiration is performe using a large. Very fine needle, either directly in the case of cutaneous tumors or guided by ultrasound in the case of tumor on an internal organ. This procedure is practically painless for the animal. So that it seldom requires sedation or general anesthesia. Unless the dog is not very cooperative or if the site of the tumor is difficult to access.
- or a sample of a small piece of tissue called a biopsy. This technique requires general anesthesia. The biopsy can be done at the same time as the scheduled surgery to remove the tumor.
If the histological analyzes indicate a cancerous tumor, the veterinarian will continue the examinations by making an assessment of extension. This assessment aims to determine whether the cancerous tumor has spread to the dog’s body. And may include blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, MRI or CT scan and other biopsies. The extension assessment will help the veterinarian to put in place the most appropriate treatment for the case of the sick animal.
The treatment of the tumor will depend on its benign or malignant nature.
Surgery is the tool of choice for the treatment of all tumors, benign as malignant. If however the location and size of the tumor make it possible.
Surgery involves removing the tumor under general anesthesia from the animal. This procedure is called surgical excision of the tumor.
The healing of the animal if the tumor is benign or its remission if the malignant tumor has not yet had time to spread in the body,
to relieve the animal if the cancerous tumor has already metastasized.
Surgery may be preceded or followed by other complementary treatments. Such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy can be used to treat benign tumors such as cancerous tumors. And also it consists in irradiating the tumor cells with ionizing radiation in order to destroy the abnormal cells. It is used alone in the case of tumors inaccessible to surgery. In addition to surgery or chemotherapy.
The radiotherapy sessions require that the animal is immobilized under general anesthesia and are only practiced in two centers in France located in Maisons Alfort and Villeneuve d’Asq.
Chemotherapy is a possibility of treating cancerous tumors. It can use in addition to other tumor treatments.
It consists in administering to the animal, by injections or by tablets, drugs which cause the destruction or the stop of the multiplication of the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is only practicing in veterinary practices authorize to administer. These treatments and require, at each session. So it hospitalization of the animal for at least 48 hours. This hospitalization aims to collect dog excrement and urine made toxic by the chemotherapy treatment.
This treatment, like that by radiotherapy, is long and expensive. Therefore Its cost as well as that of the preliminary diagnosis. Can take care of by a subscribed health insurance for your dog. But beware, insurers can refuse to ensure an old or sick animal. Therefore better to ensure his animal while he is still young.
Increasingly, herbal medicine is positioning itself as an alternative treatment to the conventional treatments of cancerous tumors presented above. It can accompany conventional treatments by helping the body of the animal to withstand the effects of these heavy treatments or even substitute for chemotherapy and radiotherapy.