Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs, Causes And Natural Treatment

Dog owners will find this informative piece on Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs not just interesting but also helpful.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) generally refers to a tumor of skin cells in Dogs. The disease occurs in dogs just like it does in humans and they almost have near similarities and characteristics.

In fact, the only disparity is the host of the disease. SCC is a common disease that occurs in dogs and it can develop in any location of the skin.

To learn all that you can about canine SCC including Carcinoma in Dogs Life Expectancy, read on.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs, Causes And Natural Treatment

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is skin cancer and it is specifically recognized as a malignant tumor in the epidermal cells of the skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma is considered to be one of the most commonly diagnosed carcinomas in dogs.

The outermost part of the skin known as the epidermis contains scale-like cells called the squamous epithelium.

What Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

It is the rapid growth and replication of abnormal cells originating from the squamous cells in the epidermis that is called squamous cell carcinoma.

Additionally, squamous cell carcinomas in dogs often occur on the skin surface or orally appearing as a white mass or a bulgy lump on the skin, in the mouth, and or nail beds of the toes.

As the disease condition progresses so does the affected location tends to bleed and ulcerate (open).

Types Of Squamous Cell Carcinomas In Dogs.

To further understand this disease in dogs, we will discuss a bit about the various types of SCCs in dogs. This will help dog owners to identify the form and type of SCC their dog has.

The types of squamous cell carcinomas in dogs are based on the body site affected. These are:

  1. Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
  2. Subungual Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
  3. Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

#1. Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

skin Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in dogs
Photo of skin Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in dogs

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma refers to slow-growing tumors that develop in the skin.

It affects typically under-pigmented areas of the skin with scant hair and where there is a high rate of exposure to sunlight.

This type of cancer is very aggressive and it appears commonly on the head, limbs, abdomen (underside), and perineum.

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma appears firm, raised, often ulcerated lesions with nodules that commonly grow outward and have a wart-like surface.

#2. Subungual Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Subungual squamous cell carcinoma is another common cancer that occurs in dogs. It is described as a slow-growing tumor that originates in the epithelial layer of the nail bed.

Also, it can appear on multiple toes and limbs and it can metastasize (spread) to the lymph nodes and lungs.

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#3. Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

oral squamous cell carcinoma in dogs
photo of oral squamous cell carcinoma in dogs

From the name, you can deduce that this type of squamous cell carcinoma commonly occurs in the gums of the mouth or the tonsils of the throat. Depending on the location, cancer can spread to other body areas and may invade the bone.

Causes Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs is a common cancer disease that affects dogs. It has the ability to spread throughout the body which makes this disease terrifying.

As such, it is important to find out the root cause of squamous cell carcinoma, especially why the squamous epithelial cell replicate uncontrollably. Scientists have continually embarked on series of research to come up with a probable cause.

However, the cause of Squamous carcinoma remains unknown with no definite causative agents established.

Like most cancers, SCCs is likely caused by complex several risk factors, some environmental and some genetic or hereditary.

Also, some believe that SCC in dogs is connected to exposure to ultraviolet rays or sunlight because it leads to the development of tumors in areas of skin most exposed to sunlight.

Likewise, there are medical conditions such as compromised immune system and exposure to papilloma-like viruses that are considered to be another factor that leads to Multicentric Squamous Cell Carcinoma Dog and other sites on the skin where squamous cells are present.

In addition, the physical characteristics related to the heightened risk of SCC in dogs include dogs that are short-haired, light-colored skin and hair, and dark-colored coats.

Symptoms Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs.

Every disease including severe ones like cancers, there are symptoms displayed which indicate that there is a change in your dog’s health behavior.

Likewise, there are Symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs that help owners to identify quickly his or her dog has developed the disease.

Also, once symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma in dogs are evident, owners should waste no time taking their dogs to a certified veterinarian for proper diagnosis and satisfactory treatment options.

Symptoms of canine SCC vary greatly depending on the site of the tumor. The appearance and shape of the tumor may be difficult to spot or distinguish from other sores, ulcers, bumps, or lesions.

Also, squamous cell carcinomas may be found anywhere on the body of your dog, especially in areas like the nose, toes, legs, scrotum, and anus.

So, what then are the common symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma in dogs include white growths or skin masses found on the nose, toes, legs, scrotum, or anus.

Swelling and pain of the nail bed as well as loss of nail(s). Ulcerated skin lesion, limping or pain when walking, lameness, excessive drooling, difficulty eating, dysphagia, mild or chronic cough, swollen, bleeding, or inflamed areas in the mouth, loose teeth, oral bleeding, halitosis, among others are major symptoms of Squamous Carcinoma In Dogs.

Diagnosis Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs.

Diagnosing this disease early is very important and an accurate diagnosis will help to find out the extent of the squamous cell carcinoma in dogs. There are several methods of diagnosing this disease in dogs, they are:

#1. Physical Examination.

There will be a need for a physical examination to be performed whereby the dog is examined to find out if there is abnormal growth or sores that are unhealed on the skin and other possible affected areas.

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Also, palpation of lymph nodes is performed to spot any swelling, which may indicate the presence of disease or infection.

#2. Cytology.

Cytology is another method of diagnosing squamous cell carcinoma in dogs. It typically is an examination of a single cell type and it is performed using fluid specimens.

To do this, a microscopic examination of tissue is performed to determine the type of tumor.

The tissue used may be taken by means of fine-needle aspiration with cytology, punch biopsy which is the basic technique for obtaining skin samples, or complete removal of the suspected tumor.

Also, a sample of lymph fluid may also be analyzed to confirm the presence of squamous cell carcinoma.

#3. Medical imaging.

Medical imaging if necessary is requested to further ascertain the location of cancer as well as to check for metastasis and the body area where it has spread to.

Also, medical imaging is important in formulating treatment options, especially when planning surgery and radiation treatment.

In the case whereby metastasis is suspected, chest and abdominal x-rays may be performed to inspect the lungs and other organs.

X-ray of the mouth and jaw is usually required to confirm oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Also, for Digital Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs, x-rays of the leg are required to see if cancer has spread to the bone located underneath.

A CT Scan and MRI examination can be requested to be performed to evaluate the location and extent of the tumor.

Treatment Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs.

There are several treatment options available for Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs. These includes:

#1. Surgical Removal Procedure.

Surgery remains the primary treatment option for squamous cell carcinoma. However, the success of the surgery depends on the size and location of the tumor.

Also, if the sores are diagnosed early before they become malignant.

#2. Radiation Therapy.

Radiation therapy is another treatment option that can be employed. Often, it is recommended in addition to surgery if the tumor cannot be completely removed surgically.

Radiation therapy is frequently used for tumors of the nose and oral cavity. Likewise, it is the best option for small, and early-stage tumors.

#3. Chemotherapy.

Like most types of cancers, chemotherapy is also used in the treatment of squamous cell carcinomas in dogs.

However, the disease is not generally regarded as chemo-responsive, but depending on the circumstances, it can be used as an added treatment option especially if the tumor has metastasized and it’s inoperable or cannot be removed.

The essence of chemotherapy is to slow down the rate at which the abnormal cells replicate and help to make the dog more comfortable.

Other treatment options that can be used include a freezing technique known as cryosurgery and photodynamic therapy which is a type of light therapy. These therapies are helpful the most when the tumor is small, superficial, and has not spread to other organs.

Dog Breed Prone to Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma is common in bigger dogs and they are more susceptible to develop the disease. Also, there is Dog Breed Prone to Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

This makes some believe that there may be genetic factors to the cause of this disease in dogs.

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Following are the list of certain dogs breeds known to have an increased incidence of Squamous Carcinoma Cancer;

  • Scottish Terriers.
  • Pekingese.
  • Boxer Dogs.
  • Poodles and Norwegian Elkhounds.
  • Dalmatians.
  • Beagles.
  • Whippets, and white Bull Terriers.
  • Labrador Retrievers.

The names of Dog Breed Prone to Squamous Cell Carcinoma shown above include dogs that are sparsely haired and have light-colored hair and skin.

Prevention Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs needs to be monitored so that it can be treated at an early stage.

I know most dog owners would rather love to prevent their pet from developing this disease than spend hugely on treatment.

Below are some vital steps you should take to protect your dog from been affected by squamous cell carcinoma. However, it is not a guarantee that your dog will become immune to the disease.

  • Regularly take your dog to the Vet for wellness checkups.
  • Typically apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin before going out.
  • Select a sunscreen that doesn’t contain zinc oxide.
  • Ensure you visit your vet as soon as you find a lump on your dog’s skin.

Since UV rays and or sunlight is believed to play a role in the development of SCC in dogs, it is best to reduce your dog’s exposure to the sun, especially when the sunshine is extreme.

Carcinoma In Dogs Life Expectancy.

Carcinoma in Dogs Life Expectancy is often a concern for most dog owners.

The life span of dogs that develop this disease varies, depending on the size and location of the tumor, as well as metastasis (spread) to other areas.

Dogs that are middle-aged to adults age between 6 and 10 years are prone to develop this disease.

The prognosis of squamous carcinoma can be disheartening, especially because of the ability to spread to other body organs. This makes early diagnosis vital.

Digital Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Dogs.

Digital Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs is common and occur frequently affecting the fore or hind limbs. It can also affect multiple digits. However, this type of cancer is rare in dogs.

Digital Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs is more prone in dogs with an age range between 7 and 9 years.

Also, there is no sex predisposition of Digital Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs, and some breeds such as Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Standard Poodle, and Dachshund at a higher chance of developing the disease. Multiple digits can be affected, and metastases can occur.

Multicentric Squamous Cell Carcinoma Dog.

Multicentric squamous cell carcinoma is a type of squamous cell carcinoma that occurs in dogs. The lesion or sores are cramped to the surface layers of the skin and mouth.

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Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs is malignant cancer that is usually locally aggressive, although they metastasize slowly.

SCC usually appears as a mass or raised lump on the skin surface, in the nail beds of the toes, and or in the gum of the mouth.

The cause of the disease remains unknown however, there are factors believed to be a major contributor.

Overall, ensure you regularly take your dog to visit the vet and call the attention of your veterinarian when you observe any health changes in your dog.

Author: David Arthur

David's lifelong passion for animals blossomed into a dream profession in 2020. He founded Petscareway Inc., a professional pet care company situated in the Texas. Several veterinarians have educated him in Pet First Aid and CPR since 2003. David decided to become a certified Pet First Aid and CPR instructor in 2011 after completing an instructor training course. David decided he had to be a part of ProPetHero when he discovered them in 2016 and saw how they were offering ER veterinarian-led training to everyone. As a result, he became a member of the ProTrainings family, the designers of ProPetHero. He volunteers and fosters for The Boxer Rescue Inc in his spare time, is a health-conscious Boxer breeder, and is a member of the Middlesex Boxer Club and Wachusett Kennel Club. David has served as a mentor to many people in the pet industry and in the small company world. When he's not working or helping, he's competing with his dogs in agility, lure coursing, and conformation trials across the country. David can be seen training with his puppies, hiking with them on trails, or playing in his backyard when he is not at a trial or trying to find a nice home for a Boxer through the rescue.

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