Mast cell tumors are neoplasms, abnormal or malignant growth that consists partially of immune cells.
Mast cell tumors appear as circumscribed, button-like structures on the skin. Two or more may appear in the same area or in other parts of the body. Back, flank and the lower extremities are common sites for the tumor. Their size usually measures 1-3 cm (appx. ½ - 1 ¼ inch). Mast cells excrete a substance that triggers inflammatory tissue reactions such as reddening, swelling, and itching. As this tumor has the potential to metastate, it can spread to other skin areas or into the intestines where it produces symptoms of loss of stool, diarrhea or bloody feces.
The underlying cause of mast cell tumors is mostly unknown.
Mast cell tumors are classified as potentially malign. Therefore, in order to ensure complete removal of the tumor, surgical excision of all lesions, and a wide margin of skin, is necessary. Chemotherapy can also be used concurrently or alternatively to prevent a reoccurrence or spreading of the tumor.
If you have noticed suspicious lesions on your dog's skin, consult a veterinarian.