Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs: Signs, Causes, And Treatment

Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs is a malignant tumor in the epidermal cells of the skin. This Cancerous growth can affect both the body’s interior organs and its external tissues.

Due to the excessive proliferation of aberrant cells that originate from squamous cells in the epidermis, this type of skin cancer has acquired its name.

On the skin, in the toenail beds, or in the mouth, squamous cell carcinomas in dogs may present as a white skin mass or a raised lump. As the illness worsens, the lump could bleed or become an ulcer. The most frequently discovered carcinomas in dogs are squamous cell carcinomas.

types of squamous cell carcinoma in dogs

Depending on where in the body it is, squamous cell carcinoma might have different effects. Among them are:

cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

These are skin-related tumors with a modest growth rate. They tend to appear in sparsely populated, pigmented areas under direct sunlight and are extremely aggressive.

A wart-like surface covers the tumor, which frequently spreads outward. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma typically affects the head, abdomen, limbs, and other body parts.

Bloodhounds, Keeshonds, Standard Schnauzers, Standard Poodles, Basset Hounds, and Collies are just a few of the breeds whose senior dogs are more likely to develop cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Dogs with shorter coats who are exposed to the sun for extended periods of time are more likely to develop tumors.

Oral squamous cell carcinoma

In the mouth, throat, gums, or tonsils, this kind of tumor is frequently observed. They have the ability to infiltrate bones and spread.

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Shetland Sheepdogs and English Springer Spaniels are two breeds that have been reported to develop this tumor; older, neutered females are more likely to do so.

subungual squamous cell carcinoma

This slow-growing tumor is typically located close to the nail. The toes and limbs are where they typically appear, however they can occasionally spread to the lymph nodes and lungs.

Subungal squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most prevalent cancer types in dogs, accounting for around 50% of all carcinomas.

Giant, Standard, and Miniature Schnauzers, Gordon Setters, Standard Poodles, Scottish Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, and Briards are among the breeds reported to be predisposed to Subungual squamous cell carcinoma. Females are more likely to develop them than males, and it mostly affects breeds with black hair.

causes of squamous cell carcinoma in dogs

Given the variety of genetic and environmental factors that may be involved, it can be challenging to pinpoint the precise cause of squamous cell carcinomas in dogs.

Some of the risk factors that could make it more likely for your dog to get squamous cell carcinoma include the following:

  • Exposure to UV radiation or sunlight: Squamous tumors typically appear in skin regions that receive the highest solar exposure (UVA and UVB radiation). In other words, outdoor dogs, those that spend a lot of time in the sun, and those who reside at high altitudes are more likely to develop them.
  • The risk of tumors can also be increased by medical problems such as an immune system that is impaired and the papillomavirus.
  • Age: Age does in fact raise the risk of squamous cell carcinoma. The average age at which squamous cell carcinoma is diagnosed is between 6 and 11 years old.
  • Breed Susceptibility: Squamous cell carcinoma is more prevalent in some breeds of animals. For instance, squamous cell carcinomas on the toes are more common in large-breed black dogs.
  • Dogs with short hair, light-colored skin and hair, and dark-colored coats are more susceptible to developing tumors.
  • Physical traits can also increase the risk of developing tumors.
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symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma in dogs

The symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma vary according to the location of the tumor; they are often difficult to recognize because they frequently resemble sores, ulcers, and pimples, among other things.

The toes, anus, nose, legs, and scrotums are the main locations for the symptoms, though they can appear elsewhere in the body.

Other typical signs include:

  • A raised wart-like lump
  • Sores in areas where the hair is white in color
  • Skin masses
  • Erosive and ulcerated skin lesions
  • Swelling nails
  • Loss of the nail
  • Limping or pain when walking
  • Lameness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Mild cough
  • Swollen, bleeding areas in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Oral bleeding
  • Bad breath

Treatment of squamous cell carcinoma in dogs

Squamous cell carcinomas in dogs are treated differently depending on the location, size, and extent of the tumor.

Surgery removal is the most popular type of therapy. However, sores can be treated with topical medicine if they are identified before developing into malignancy.

Radiation or chemotherapy may be used as a form of treatment if a tumor cannot be removed surgically. The best course of action will be decided by the veterinarian.

Caring for your dog after a treatment

Malignant tumors can occur, therefore it’s best to keep your dog safe and abide by all the instructions your vet gives you in order to stop them from happening again. There may be several of these regulations:

  • Administer the recommended drugs to your pet at appropriate hours
  • Limit your dog’s physical activity. After the operation and treatment, it should be able to rest. A cage rest could be advantageous.
  • Observe your dog’s hydration and feeding habits. It should eat all the necessary nutrients.
  • To avoid overexerting your dog, take it on brief walks only unless the vet orders otherwise.
  • Any lesions or sores may need to be treated with tropical medicine.
  • Cut back on the time your dog spends in the sun. Especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and if it cannot be avoided, apply sunscreen to your dog.
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian right away if you see any new sores or masses so that treatment may begin as soon as possible.
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