Foot tumors in dogs

Updated November 21, 2016

In dogs, tumours affecting the feet can be either benign or malignant. These growths often come as a surprise to the owner, and require attention by a veterinarian. In some cases the tumour may not be visible, and is only discovered during a routine examination by a well-trained veterinarian.


There are several types of benign and malignant tumours that can affect the parts of a canine foot, including the toes, bones, paw pads and skin. This includes squamous cell carcinoma, histiocytoma, mast cell tumours and epidermoid carcinoma.


The symptoms of a canine foot tumour can vary depending on the type and severity of the tumour. Some tumours may cause bleeding, limping or swelling. Broken nails or solid, raised masses may also be present.


To determine the type of tumour, the veterinarian may perform X-rays and take samples of the tumour. The vet will send the sample to a pathologist, who will determine what type of tumour is present and relay the information to the veterinarian.


Treatment varies based on the type, number and severity of tumours present. In some cases the tumour itself may be removed, while in other cases amputation of the leg may be necessary. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also options if the tumour has begun to spread.


Canine foot tumours will have a varied prognosis. Some dogs that undergo removal of the tumour, foot or entire leg often adapt well to being three-legged and continue to live out their lives. If spreading has occurred, the prognosis may be more guarded.

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