The Facts

  • Mast Cell Tumors are the most frequently recognized malignant or potentially malignant tumors of dogs.
  • Many breeds appear to be predisposed, especially Boxers, Pugs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Boston Terriers.  
  • This cancer type may affect dogs at any age, but is more common in dogs 8 years of age or older.  
  • These tumors may develop anywhere on the body as well as in internal organs.
  • These tumors may develop in multiple areas of the body (at once), in which they typically appear as raised, nodular masses that can be soft or solid upon touch.
  • The tumors may vary widely in size, and appearance alone cannot establish a diagnosis of the disease.
  • Clinical signs of illness can be seen in affected dogs and can include gastrointestinal problems.
  • Diagnosis of these tumors can be difficult, yet aspiration and cytology seems to be the number one choice if cancer is suspected.
  • Treatments include wide, deep surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding tissues, followed by radiation therapy - which may be curative if the number of remaining tumor cells in the affected area is small.