Canine melanoma, a look at melanoma in dogs

Canine melanoma is a cancer that occurs on your dog’s skin, toes, or in the mouth. This very serious cancer can also occur behind the eye. If the skin is affected, it is usually benign. However, if other areas are affected, the cancer will probably be malignant and spread. So, what are some of the symptoms?


Two of the most visible symptoms of melanoma in dogs is the appearance of skin lesions with odd colors or shapes. If the mouth is affected, your dog may develop bad breath, drooling, coughing, and trouble swallowing. This leads to loss of appetite and weight loss. Tumors can also develop on the toes.


The first step in diagnosing canine melanoma is a physical exam. This is usually followed by analyzing a blood sample to get a complete blood count. The lungs will also need to be checked, so an x-ray is necessary. In some cases, the veterinarian will elect to perform a biopsy of the tumor.


Your dog will have three treatment options when dealing with this disease. Without treatment, the disease will progress rapidly. Surgery involves removal of the tumor. Sometimes, all of the tumor can’t be removed, so only part of it will be done. The other two treatment options for this disease include chemotherapy and radiation to reduce the size of the tumor.


As mentioned earlier, melanoma in dogs is a very serious cancer. The prognosis is usually poor. Dogs usually have the best chance of survival if the disease only affects the skin. Even with treatment, the tumor can still spread. Also, a successful treatment doesn’t guarantee that the cancer won’t recur.