Moles on Dogs
Dogs normally have moles. These can appear on the skin beneath the fur or on the hairless parts of the belly. It can also appear on the tongue, the gums, and practically any part of the body. Moles on the sclera may even be present.
More often than not, moles are going to be of no concern. Most moles on the body are harmless and benign. It is important, however, to examine any new growth for potential signs of cancer.
Causes and Treatment
Moles naturally occur on the skin, they are brought on by a hyperpigmentation of skin cells. As a dog grows older they may develop more moles. It is important for owners to check these moles out to see if they have the malignant characteristics or not.
Most of the time, a mole is not going to need any treatment, but if it turns out to be a melanoma of if it becomes big enough to cause discomfort, it will have to be removed.
Removal Methods for Moles Include:
- Excision, this involves cutting the mole out of the skin.
- Cryotherapy, this is going to burn the mole off.
- Laser treatment, burns the mole off.
- Chemical removal, a solution is used to dissolve and burn off the mole.
If malignancy is suspected, vets are going to require a biopsy of the cells taken from the skin.
Signs of Malignant Moles on Dog’s Skin
A malignant mole can be differentiated form a benign using the following categories.
- A – Asymmetry, a benign mole is usually symmetrical. To determine if a mole is symmetrical run a line down the middle and compare both sides.
- B – Border, the border of a benign mole is going to be smooth and clearly marked. Ragged edges that bleed into the surrounding skin may signify malignancy.
- C – Color, benign moles are going to be all one shade. Malignant moles tend to have more than one shade; there may be areas of lighter or darker pigmentation on skin. It can appear as a mix of tan, light brown, blues, pinks, or grays.
- D – Diameter, benign moles on dogs are usually smaller than one to two inches. Bigger moles need to be checked out.
- E – Elevation – Malignant moles are usually raised and have a rough or bumpy surface.
Another sign that a mole may be cancerous is evolution. If it changes in appearance within a short period of time or it grows, it needs to be checked by a doctor.