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Tumors

  • Melanocytes are cells that produce a pigment called melanin. A melanoma is an abnormal production of these cells in a dysregulated manner that forms a nodule, mass, or other form of lesion. Melanomas of the skin may develop anywhere on the body and are not typically bothersome. Toe melanomas, however, can be much more painful and concerning for your pet's health. Melanomas are often black in color but some do not produce pigment (amelanotic melanoma). Fine needle aspiration or biopsy may be used for diagnosis. Melanomas of the skin and toes are treated surgically and radiation therapy may be discussed.

  • The phrase 'multidrug resistance mutation 1 (MDR1)' refers to a specific mutation that can occur at a gene known as the MDR1 gene, also known as the ABCB1 gene. Many herding breeds (most commonly Collies and Australian Shepherds) have a mutation at the MDR1 gene that makes them more sensitive to the negative effects of certain medications.

  • In some cases, chronic inflammation of the nose (rhinitis) leads to proliferation (hyperplasia) and formation of polyps in the nose or throat. These polyps are not cancerous but may need removal.

  • Neuroendocrine cells produce specialized chemical substances called neuroendocrine hormones. These hormones affect the rates of specific chemical reactions in nearby cells or in other tissues throughout the body.

  • Oral papillomas (warts) are benign tumors of the epithelial lining of the mouth and throat caused by papillomaviruses. The esophagus may also be affected in severe cases.

  • Squamous cell carcinomas are malignant cancers originating from the lining cells of the mouth. They are locally invasive and often recurrent.

  • Like us, dogs can develop oral masses. Some will grow slowly and won't spread to other locations (benign), while others will spread to different areas of the body causing great harm (malignant).

  • Osteosarcomas are somewhat rare in cats and progress slowly. Osteosarcoma is very painful. The most common location where osteosarcomas develop in cats is the hindlimb. Amputation is by far the most common treatment. Chemotherapy is not generally pursued without evidence of metastasis, given the relatively long-term control with surgery alone.

  • Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, is common in large breed dogs and is very aggressive, with upwards of 90-95% of patients having micrometastasis. Osteosarcoma is very painful. Lameness or a distinct swelling may be noted. Amputation is by far the most common treatment with chemotherapy following surgery. Radiation therapy may also be an option.

  • Ovarian tumors are quite rare in North American pets, mainly due to routine spaying practices. Several types of tumors can arise from the tissues of the ovary. How the tumor will affect your pet is entirely dependent on the location and type of tumor. By far, ovarian cancer is most commonly diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound or during a spay procedure. Full staging is recommended prior to surgery to determine if the cancer has metastasized. Treatment for solitary masses without evidence of spread typically involves ovariohysterectomy. If metastasis is present, chemotherapy should be considered, however its efficacy is not completely known. Without evidence of spread, ovarian tumors carry a good prognosis.

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