Experts in Cat and Dog GI and Immune Disorders
Natural, Safe and Effective

Understanding Malignant Tumors in Dogs

Your veterinarian just called and told you the small lump they removed from your beloved dog is cancerous as he suspected but, worse, it is a malignant tumor. Your heart is in your throat, you ask him for a prognosis. To your surprise, he says the surgery was curative but you need to keep an eye out for new growths, as they need to be removed right away. You are flabbergasted that a malignant tumor can be cured with surgery alone. How is that possible when everything you have ever heard about malignant cancer usually is accompanied by a solemn death knell?

Comprehending what your Vet is saying

Comprehending what your vet is explaining to you or what you are reading helps you to make the right decisions for your pet.

The proper name for cancer is neoplasia, meaning new growth. In its simplest form, cancer is simply an overgrowth of new cells and the body begins to suffer when the nutrients required to feed the cancer cannot be met by the food intake but are taken from the lean tissue instead. Often the first symptom we see in our pets suffering from cancer is weight loss; this is an indicator that the cancer is already sucking its nutrients directly from its host.

Malignant Tumors

Malignant tumors have three goals in life: to live, to grow, and to take new ground. Unlike benign tumors that grow slowly, and that most often have a uniform shape and do not spread, malignant tumors grow quickly, are irregularly shaped and often have long tentacles that make surgical removal more difficult. Worse, they metastasize or spread through the lymphatic or circulatory system so what started as a mammary tumor can become lung, spleen, or bone cancer. There are hundreds of types of malignant tumors in dogs and they run the gamut on degrees of invasive, aggressive, and lethal behaviors.

Stage and Grade

Stage and grade are two words that are thrown around in oncology but few vets take the time to explain the difference. Stage describes where the particular tumor is at in regards to growth. An early stage or stage I tumor is small and non-spreading where as a grade IV tumor is big, may be part of a cluster of tumors, and has invaded another part of the body. Stage I tumors have a far better prognosis then stage III or IV tumors. The term grade refers to the aggressiveness of the tumor. A grade I tumor means the tumor is not aggressive so the likelihood of it spreading is rare. A grade IV tumor is extremely aggressive, making treatment far more difficult.

Types of Malignant Tumors in Dogs and their Symptoms

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and is six times more common in dogs then in cats. Overexposure to the sun considered the most likely culprit, especially in short haired dogs. Common skin cancers include squamous cell carcinomas or SCC, hemangiosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, and mast cell tumors.

SCC is most often seen in areas of little pigment or thinly furred areas such as ears, face and the forehead area. They start as non-healing sores or lumps and without treatment, eventually metastasize to the internal organs.

Hemangiosarcomas are usually associated with the spleen, however, they can develop as skin cancer. They begin as red or black spots on the skin.

Fibrosarcoma begins in the connective tissue in the skull, spine, ribs and pelvis. Over time, it will wrap around the tissues, inhibiting movement.
Mast cell tumors start as small lumps that seem benign in nature. However, they can spread indiscriminately and are considered the most lethal of all the skin cancers. Treatment usually involves surgery to remove the lump.

Mammary tumors are the most common form of cancer in unspayed females with over half being malignant tumors. Spaying a female dog before her first heat cycle precludes any chance of mammary tumors developing and each heat cycle she goes through increases the risk of developing this invasive from of cancer. Symptoms include small lumps in the mammary tissue and prognosis is dependent on how quickly treatment is administered.

Oral tumors in dogs are most often malignant. Unfortunately, by the time they are found, quite often they are far advanced and little can be done for the dog, as surgery to remove the tumor is difficult if the tumor has spread into the nasal cavity or eye area.

Nasal Tumors Sneezing, difficulty breathing, nosebleeds, or a discharge from the nose can indicate a nasal tumor. They are rare but almost exclusively malignant and treatment is difficult, much like oral tumors.

Bone cancer is unfortunately common in large and giant breeds and usually starts at the site of a previous injury or vaccination. Pain, heat in the area, limping, swelling, and lethargy are the most common symptoms.

Cancer of the lymph system in dogs is common. There are two types: lymphoma that affects the entire body and another that involves the alimentary, thymic, and cutaneous glands. It can include a variety of body systems and symptoms include enlargement of the lymph glands, depression, weight loss, and anorexia.

Abdominal tumors are uncommon but are usually malignant and early diagnosis is rare. Symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea or constipation, vomiting blood, bloody stools, pain or discomfort when moving, difficulty getting comfortable when lying down and stiffness of movement.

Lung cancer is not common in dogs except as a secondary cancer from another form of cancer that metastasized to the lungs.

Treatment for Malignant Tumors in Dogs

The treatment of malignant tumors in dogs is a difficult decision to make for owners and understandable, we all want our favorite companions to live long, healthy lives with no pain or suffering. Research and education about your dog’s cancer are your most important resources right now. 
Take some time to make the right decision and always keep your pet’s welfare at heart.

Depending on what stage and grade the cancer is, most veterinarians will suggest surgery to remove the tumor and chemotherapy to kill any remaining cells. Alternatively, many people opt to treat the cancer holistically feeling that whatever days the dog has left should be comfortable and happy days versus the pain of surgery and discomfort of chemo.

The decision is your own and you know your pet best, contact a holistic veterinarian to get a second opinion and start a treatment plan that best fits you and your pet.

Related product: Advanced Immune Restoration for Dogs

Treatment for Malignant Tumors in Dogs

The treatment of malignant tumors in dogs is a difficult decision to make for owners and understandable, we all want our favorite companions to live long, healthy lives with no pain or suffering. Research and education about your dog’s cancer are your most important resources right now. 
Take some time to make the right decision and always keep your pet’s welfare at heart.

Depending on what stage and grade the cancer is, most veterinarians will suggest surgery to remove the tumor and chemotherapy to kill any remaining cells. Alternatively, many people opt to treat the cancer holistically feeling that whatever days the dog has left should be comfortable and happy days versus the pain of surgery and discomfort of chemo.

The decision is your own and you know your pet best, contact a holistic veterinarian to get a second opinion and start a treatment plan that best fits you and your pet.

31 thoughts on “Understanding Malignant Tumors in Dogs”

  1. Hi Steve,
    My dog just had a mammary tumor removed. It was cancerous but the doctor said everything was removed and she should be fine.
    The reason she got it as per your article seems to be because we haven’t spayed her until age 7, after she had gone thru many heat cycles. She is 9 now.
    Would you please advise on post operation care so we ensure the cancer doesn’t come back. Our vet has not been very responsive and only after 10 days left a message to say that the cancer was fully removed.
    The dog is still very lethargic but responds very well to food and short walks we take her for.
    Any dietary advise or supplement suggestions would be rgrately appreciated.

    • Hi Mila,

      We get very good results with our Advanced Immune. I will email you the comprehensive protocol we use.

  2. Hello Steve,
    My schnauzer Rolls Royce had a grade 2 mast cell tumor removed 3/16/17 with clear margins..he was doing great until another tumor was spotted the first of May I was told by the vet after aspiration that it appeared to be an infection from the surgery from a it has grown to @ 5cm he has been on antibiotics now for 2 weeks with no change…when it was checked on May 18th he had complete bloodwork done also which was very good…I chose not to do chemo & radiation but to treat him with a cancer diet apocaps and organic foods & supplements. I just had the new lump re-aspirated by the same vet different doctor waiting for pathology to come back on Wednesday. The doctor from 5/18 did not send off just said it appeared to be an infection. Thank god my doggie at the moment is happy eating very well and is active. The last doctor said she didn’t think it was a mast cell…what else could it be?? What else can I do? Are all fast growing tumors fatal?

  3. Hello Steve
    My Mia just had a mammary tumor removed 6/30/2017. The vet just called me this morning and said it was cancerous, but that all of the cancer was removed and that she should be fine. We just have to keep on eye on her and keep getting her checked to make sure it does not come back. I did not have her sprayed until she was 7 and now she is almost 12. Any advice on post operation care so that the cancer will not come back. Mia is almost back to her normal self. She does not seem to be in alot of pain. Any advice that could help Mia would be greatly appreciated. THANK YOU Marie

    • Hello Marie,

      We have the Advanced Immune Protocol, which is very effective against all types of immune failure. I will email you the details.

  4. Hello Steve,
    My dog has a lump below but not attached to her nipple. The vet confirmed it is a very small, pea sized/shaped tumor and presurgical bloodwork will be done in a few days. She is getting the tumor removed August 8th and being spayed at the same time to hopefully avoid this happening again. Just in case it is cancer, could you email me the details to the Advanced Immune Protocol please?

    • Almost all immune related problems, including cancer, encephalitis, and all the rest, come from drugs (mainly vaccines), food (GMO corn and soy especially), and household chemicals (cleaning agents and chlorinated and fluoridated water), and flea and heart worm chemicals.

      Our strategy is to upgrade the food quality, stop all vaccines, eliminate the drugs and chemicals, and add in safe, natural food-based supplements that are scientifically proven to raise immune competence, that are beneficial for all animals, young or old, sick or healthy. Along with our email tech support, our strategy has been very successful in re-establishing normality.

      Start with this package which contains items with all dog friendly flavors so that the items can be accepted in the food of most dogs

    • We work with a wholistic view of health. If there is an issue with the spleen, there are treatments that can target that directly, we do not have such treatments. With that said the Advanced immune restoration protocol does help to reduce inflammation and raise the entire body’s ability to cope with any weakness in the body. By raising the vitality of the animal, the body should then be able to heal itself. I highly recommend this protocol for any issues where the immune system is decreased.

  5. Please can you advise. 7 weeks ago we were told our dog had a mass between liver and kidney and is invading the vena cava.they gave us 2 weeks to 2 moths for my dog to live.
    We are just approaching the 8th week and my dog is still running after squirrels at the park he has no appetite loss or any other symptom except his veins in his side’s are protuding from his body. I have 10 days holiday booked for 10 days and am wondering to euthanasia
    How long would you say in your professional opinion could he have an extra couple of days? Month?

    With kind regards

  6. Our dog, age 11 years and 11 months, went from seemingly perfectly healthy to near death in only two weeks, and was euthanized at surgery. Her symptoms were mild, and she did not get better or worse for 13 days, so we treated her symptoms. Then when she worsened, she was rushed in for an ultrasound that found a huge mass deep in her abdomen, so she was rushed into surgery where her tumor had wrapped around and was ligating the mesenteric root where the main artery that feeds the intestines is located. The tumor was deemed non-resectable. We ignorantly had the dog vaccinated six months before symptoms showed. This is horrible.

  7. Hello Steve, my dog was diagnosed with an oral tumor underneath her tongue. She was given a few months to live but her breath is unbearable and she keeps drooling sort of brown liquids. She chokes on her food so we put it up on a bowl so she doesn’t have to Bend down. But she still is crazy and runs around with a ton of energy!? We are heading to Hawaii for spring break on Monday and we don’t know if the tumor will burst while we are gone. Should we put her down before hand? Or hope that she stays well while we are gone? Please reply -Lisa

    • I never recommend putting an animal down. They know how to die and do not need any help from us. Also, recovery is always possible. I have seen many cases come back from near death to live more years.

  8. Good Afternoon,

    I have a French Bulldog, she is almost two years old. A faint hump began to develop on the top of her back. It is only on the one side and has since continued to grow. I was referred to a neurologist soon after we realised it was growing. I got x-rays and blood work which both came back normal. She went for a CT scan and the vet who interpreted the scan said it appears as if there is a tumour that is growing in her muscle. On the CT scan it appears as a mass of muscle. They are unsure if it is cancerous or not, and advised me to see an oncologist for further examination. She does not appear to act any differently, she is high energy and happy. The lump has continued to grow and feels hard like a flexed muscle. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

    Thank you,

  9. Hi, My dog Lily is a 8 yrs old 10 pound Multi-poo. She is a rescue who came from an abusive home. She suffers from occasional mild seizure. She also has tummy issues with gas (re-flux). At times she is in pain, shaking & refusing to eat. (on a L.I.D). She is taking Pepcid-AC and that seems to be helping. Lily also has a slight heart murmur. Recently she developed L rear 5th digit swelling. She was treated with oral steroids, antibiotics and antiseptic shampoo. There has been no change so the vet took x rays & a biopsy. X-ray shows no evidence of underlying bony involvement. Differentials for this include infectious/inflammatory processes as well as malignancy. Cytology interpretation : moderate chronic suppurative inflammation squamous cell proliferation w/moderate dysplasia. Concern for squamous cell carcinoma. I was then advised to take her to a cancer center for a second opinion. They did not see Lily but reviewed the x-ray and cytology report. They recommended that her toe be removed. I am concerned that this could be inflammatory in nature instead of something she would need surgery for. I don’t want her to go through unnecessary surgery without exploring other options. She also has terrible separation anxiety & I’m not interested in putting her through undue stress. So far Lily is happy & back to her usual self. Quality vs quantity is my motto. I love her dearly & want to do what is best for her & also what is in within my means. Please advise! Thank you.

    • Hello Mickie, A comprehensive approach is the best chance of success. This is regardless of dog cancer or IBS, or IBD. Since this discussion is quite long, I will begin by emailing you documents and strategy to move forward.

  10. Hello, My 4 1/2 year old pit bull is currently undergoing antibiotic treatment for a black lump that just appeared on the nail portion of one of his toes. We were told to see if it responds to the antibiotics and return in 2 weeks because the vet thinks it could also be a mast cell tumor, but it was too sensitive to aspirate without putting him under and she didn’t feel that it was necessary to do right now. She did give us a few options and outcomes and had mentioned that if it doesn’t respond to the meds and the pathology shows that it is malignant then we will need to amputate his toe. This seems a little extreme and I’d love to know if there are other viable options before we commit to a big surgery like that. He also has what seems to be seasonal allergies and he tends to get lumps and bumps all over especially during the summer months so I am wondering if maybe this is all linked and if it’s possible this bump on his toe is less frightening than it looks. Thanks!

    • Hello, This is an immune related issue, regardless of the disease name. Along with the single black toe lump, the dog gets lumps and bumps all over. The cause is the key, which I will explain along with my recommendation for food, water, and supplements in an email which I will send off to you.

  11. Need advice on our 13 year old Boxer. We just found out he might have malignant tumor and we need options on what we can do to treat other than surgery. Please help.

    • Hi Anthony,

      We offer Advanced Immune, a comprehensive program to support immune competence that has been very successul in all types of immune related problems.

      I will send you an email

      Vitality Sciwence

  12. My 10 year old Chihuahua who was in perfect health till 2 weeks ago develop a growth on her right gum and a week later a subcutaneous mass on her right shoulder that developed overnight. They were both removed yesterday. Her vet says he thinks he removed all of the shoulder mass but is more concerned about the one on the gum reoccurring. What do you recommend to strengthen her immune system?

  13. I see where you talk about your Advanced Immune Protocol & about your products but where are they on your site? Is this something that is sold only by individual email?

  14. My 11 year 6 months old Dachshund was having difficulty walking. I took her to her vet, and he gave her antibiotics and pain medications. They did not improve her condition. Then, he noticed her nail came off. He said he need to do a biopsy, but when she came out of surgery, he had amputated her right rear toe. The margins were clean 3mm, and he sent her to an oncologist, where she had lymph nodes checked under anesthesia. The lab. tests did not show melanoma. She just had her first of six immunotherapy shots, which is supposed to help her live 1 1/2 years. Without treatment the vet predicted that she will live for five or six months. If the melanoma returns, what are the options for her and how do I keep her comfortable?

Leave a Comment

Your Cart
Left Menu Icon
Your Cart