Not all tumors in dogs are bad news. Canine Cutaneous Histiocytoma is a very common benign skin tumor that is seen mostly in young dogs under the age of three years, however it can be seen in older dogs as well. Histiocytoma originates from histiocytes, which are a type of cell. It is usually a firm, roundish, hairless, red and 'angry' looking lump on the skin on any part of the body. It can appear very suddenly and it's appearance can be quite alarming to owners.
It is best to get any new lumps and bumps checked out by your vet, but a histiocytoma is a benign tumor, with means that it does not spread. It is also usually not painful, however some dogs may lick at it just because it is there! The further good news is that in many cases, spontaneous regression occurs, which means that the body's immune system eliminates the histiocytoma on its own. This process can take 2-3 months.
There is also a malignant type of dog cancer that originates from histiocytes, but this form is most commonly seen in middle aged to older Bernese Mountain Dogs. Malignant histiocytosis spreads rapidly through the body and carries a poor prognosis.
Canine Cutaneous Histiocytoma can be diagnosed with a fine needle aspirate biopsy by your veterinarian. After this, your vet may recommend waiting and monitoring the mass to see if spontaneous regression occurs. If the dog is licking the tumor or it is bleeding or infected, the vet may suggest surgical removal of the mass sooner.
Did your dog ever have Canine Cutaneous Histiocytoma? Tell us about it in the comments!