Histiocytoma In Dogs
Our pets are so lovable! Their furry faces, scratch-able ears, and warm cuddles are some of the best parts of pet ownership, but sometimes when you are scratching or petting your dog you may feel a lump or cyst below their fur.
If you have noticed a lump or cyst on your dog it may be a Histiocytoma, a common (and benign) skin tumor that can develop on any breed. While sometimes we may think these dog cysts aren’t very attractive, in most cases, they do not require intervention or removal and resolve on their own.
Still wondering if the lump you found on your pet is worth checking out by your vet? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Histiocytoma?
A Histiocytoma is when an outer layer tissue (skin, the surface of the nose, throat, intestine, or lungs) forms a benign tumor or lump. Most commonly found on the skin on the head, ears, and limbs these small tumors are hard, and can be round like a dome or flat like a button. If the lump feels squishy or fluid filled or is larger than the head of an eraser and continues to grow then it’s time to consult your veterinarian.
Histiocytoma in dogs is most often found when you are petting your furry friend and notice the growth when you are scratching under their fur. Some growths are noticed when you can see it on their face or paws, it is important that once you notice a lump you make not of it and check in periodically to see if it changes, persists, or resolves itself.
Symptoms of Histiocytoma
Signs of histiocytoma include;
While Histiocytomas are common they are not the only dog lump or dog cyst that exists, look out for the following:
Histiocytomas by nature are small (less than 2.5 mm in diameter) not painful and often resolve on their own with no medical intervention needed (think of them like a beauty mark for your dog)
A Histiocytoma tumor is smooth and should not have hair growing out of it, often appearing as a solitary lump although in some cases they will cluster
There should be no hair loss or scabs that form around the lump, if there are this may be a sign of a skin infection or parasite and needs to be assessed by your vet as soon as possible
As you observe the lump it should stay relatively the same size and not move location or change color
The area around the lump should not be inflamed, hot, discolored, or irritated. If it appears that a cyst, lump, or growth is causing discomfort for your dog consult your vet
There should not be any oozing or fluids coming from the lump, these can be signs of an infection and need to be addressed by your veterinarian, especially if you suspect your dog could have had an altercation with another animal or had a puncture wound as a result of an injury
Causes of Canine Histiocytoma
There is no known reason why Histiocytomas develop on dogs, it is known that they type of cell (Histiocytes) are part of the dog’s immune system which acts as a barrier from outside invaders and pathogens. Like all benign tumors, Histiocytomas happen when cells that behave differently than the cells surrounding it build up in a localized area, since the skin cells affected regenerate quickly these lumps often appear and disappear without warning or other symptoms.
Dog breeds susceptible to histiocytoma include;
While all breeds can develop a Histiocytoma the following breeds are known to be especially susceptible:
If your pet has short hair you may notice lumps, tumors, or cysts more quickly than breeds with long, dense coats. If you have a breed with a thick coat make sure to do a skin check with your hands after you brush them, if you feel them wince or whine when you touch or brush certain areas of their skin try to get a closer look by parting their fur, if you don’t like what you see consult your vet.
Treatment of Histiocytoma in Dogs
In many cases the Histiocytoma will spontaneously resolve itself however if you or your veterinarian feel it is necessary, surgical intervention is an option.
Consult your veterinarian if;
Always consult with your veterinarian if you are concerned about the size or look of any skin abnormality on your dog, especially if it is causing them discomfort, is accompanied with a fever, loss of appetite, or noticable behavior change.
Another common lump found on pets is the Sebaceous cyst, a blocked pore (or pimple) that can develop on dogs and cats and may need to be drained at the vet’s office. If it is a Histiocytoma there should not be any fluids oozing from your pet’s cyst and if a lump happens after an injury, laceration, or altercation with another animal (especially non-domesticated animals) this could be a sign of infection and needs to be addressed by your vet as soon as possible.
Preparing for the Veterinarian
When looking at a skin abnormality or tumor your vet will ask you about the history of the tumor, when you first noticed it, how fast it has grown, and if it appears the lump is causing your dog discomfort. Depending on the growth’s size, location, appearance, inflammation, and coloration the vet will assess if the cyst needs to be biopsied, removed, or observed without intervention.
The cost of a Histiocytoma removal and biopsy can range from $300 - $1,200 depending on location and provider. This may or may not include the cost for your initial visit and may increase if your pet has other conditions or is geriatric.
Just as there is no known cause of Histiocytoma there are no known preventative measures for the tumors. As always a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and you, as the pet owner, forming a relationship with a Veterinarian you trust is the best way to keep your pet healthy.
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For other common dog health problems, read our post called: 31 Most Common Dog Health Problems.
Website. (2020). Skin Tumor. Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_dg_histiocytoma
Kuhly P. MD. (2020). Histiocytoma in Dogs. Retrieved from https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/health/histiocytoma
Website. (2020). Sebaceous Cysts. Retrieved from. http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/sebaceous-cysts-cats-or-dogs
Website. (2020). Pyoderma in Dogs. Retrieved from. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_multi_pyoderma