Button Tumors in Dogs

Updated November 21, 2016

Button cell tumours are benign growths that look like red, round lesions on dogs. Button cell tumours often grow rapidly, but may disappear on their own within one to two months. These tumours are not painful but may need to be removed if they interfere with grooming or bathing.


Button cell tumours are also known as histiocytomas. These tumours are small and usually occur in dogs from 1 to 3 years of age and are most common in short-haired breeds. There is no known cure for button cell tumours.


The symptoms associated with button cell tumours in dogs are small, red lesions that appear anywhere on the dog's body. This type of tumour may ulcerate but is not usually painful. The areas that are most commonly affected by button cell tumours are the head, ear flap and neck.

Causes And Diagnosis

The cause of canine button cell tumours is unknown. Veterinarians usually diagnose this type of tumour visually because of their distinctive appearance. The diagnosis of canine button cell tumours can be confirmed by a needle aspiration. Once a sample of the cells is extracted from the tumour, the veterinarian examines them under the microscope. The cells from this type of tumour appear round. The veterinarian may also confirm the diagnosis by removing the tumour and examining it under the microscope.


The treatment recommended for button cell tumours may depend on the size and location of the tumours. According to Web MD Pets, button cell tumours in dogs may disappear on their own without treatment. Tumours that are persistent may need to be removed for further evaluation.


Button cell tumours are not malignant but may form ulcers. If these tumours ulcerate and cause itching and irritation, a bacterial infection may develop. Dogs that have a secondary bacterial infection may be treated with topical antibiotic creams. Dogs that have chronic bacterial infections as a result of button cell tumours may benefit from tumour removal.

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About the Author

Tracy Hodge has been a professional writer since 2007. She currently writes content for various websites, specializing in health and fitness. Hodge also does ghostwriting projects for books, as well as poetry pieces. She has studied nutrition extensively, especially bodybuilding diets and nutritional supplements.