My Dog Has a Black Lump on Its Paw. Could It Be Cancerous?

“My 13-year-old corgi mix has a black tumor on his foot that just appeared within the last few months. He sleeps a lot, but he’s at that age…I lost my 18-year-old Cleo a few months ago,” a dog owner named Melissa shared on PetHelpful’s Ask-A-Vet section.

Photo: YouTube/Dogs Naturally Magazine

Dr. Mark dos Anjos’s advice on this case is for Melissa to take her pet to a veterinarian immediately. In order to know what the lump is, a medical procedure called fine needle aspiration will be performed. The needle will obtain some cells and other contents of the lump for diagnosis.

But, based on his observation, Dr. dos Anjos suspected the lump to be melanoma. And it could only be treated by removing the lump and its surrounding tissues.

Photo: YouTube/Dogs Naturally Magazine

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, “Melanomas of the skin may develop anywhere on the body. They can range in size and be pigmented (black) or non-pigmented. This form of melanoma is not typically bothersome, although it can be if it grows in an area such as the armpit or between the legs. Toe (digit) melanomas, however, can be much more painful and concerning for your pet’s health. Melanomas represent almost 25% of digital (toe) tumors in dogs and may cause underlying destruction of the bony parts of the toe, causing significant pain and/or swelling. This may cause your pet to excessively lick or chew the affected toe and may even cause lameness.”

Photo: YouTube/Dogs Naturally Magazine

Aside from the surgical removal of the lump, VCA Animal Hospitals also recommends that tissues that have been removed be sent to a veterinary pathologist for histopathology, especially to determine margins. With the use of a microscope, the veterinary pathologist can check the border between healthy tissue and tumor tissue to see if any malignant cells are still present. If cancerous cells have been left behind, a second surgery and/or radiation therapy may be the next treatment options.

However, Melissa should also be aware that senior dogs are at high risk of anesthesia-related complications. Also, the lifespan of a dog with melanoma, even with treatment, is about 10 to 36 months if the melanoma is quickly removed by surgery.

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