Cysts or Cancer on a Dog's Face

Written by jennifer gittins
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Cysts or Cancer on a Dog's Face
Cysts or cancer can affect dogs of any age, breed or gender. (dog image by Krzysztof Gebarowski from

It is not unusual for an owner to see a new growth on their dog’s face and immediately jump to the conclusion of cancer. Fortunately, not all growths are cancerous. Dog owners who notice any new growths on their dog’s face should seek the opinion of a trained veterinarian.

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When an abnormal cell reproduces, it can result in a malignant growth, also known as cancer. A cyst is considered a non-cancerous tumour that contains oil and dead skin cells.


Both cysts and cancer can affect any portion of a dog’s face. This can include the nose, eyes, eyelids, skin, or lips of the dog.


Since there are several different locations and types of cancer that can affect a dog’s face, there are a vast number of potential symptoms including unusual skin lesions, ulcers or other visible changes such as the appearance of the tumour itself. A cyst may produce a cheese-like discharge when it ruptures.


To determine if a growth is cancerous or a simple cyst, it may be necessary for the veterinarian to take a sample of the tissue for further testing. Test results may take a few days.


Cysts may or may not resolve on their own. Some may require medication while others may require surgical treatment. Canine facial cancers may require surgical removal, radiation therapy or chemotherapy, depending on the severity of the condition.

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