A squamous cell carcinoma is a malignant tumor of the upper layers of the skin.
Tumors of this kind mostly grow extensively and destroy the upper layers of skin. This is the reason why this type of tumor is often mistaken for a poorly healing or incrusted wound. Squamous cell carcinomas often occur on the limbs as well as the on the edges of the ear. They also often develop in mucous membranes. Unfortunately, they are one of the most common tumors of the oral cavity that are usually only discovered in later stages of the tumor.
In cases where sqamous cell carcinoma develops on the upper layers of skin, it is usually the result of too much exposure to sunlight. Therefore, dogs with a light or thin coat are more often affected. The cause of carcinomas of the oral cavity is often unidentifiable.
Treatment is usually the complete removal of the affected lesion. For this procedure an adequate piece of healthy skin around the edges of the carcinoma has to be removed to prevent a recurrence of the tumor. If this treatment is not feasible, chemotherapy is available as an alternative method of treatment.
The sooner a squamous cell carcinoma is treated the better the chances of recovery. Consult a veterinarian if a wound or lesion exhibits a conspicuously slow healing process.