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Educational Articles

Tumors

  • Lipomas are benign tumors of fat seen in middle-aged to older animals. Sometimes these tumors grow in between muscle layers are called infiltrative lipomas. Lipomas are benign and do not typically behave aggressively. Liposarcomas are the malignant form of the disease. These tumors are usually diagnosed by a fine needle aspiration, though biopsy or advanced diagnostic imaging may be required before surgery. Surgery is the best course of action for pets with lipomas and fat-based tumors.

  • The adrenal glands are responsible for hormone production. Overproduction of these hormones typically manifests as Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism). Typically, these tumors are benign in nature and can be treated medically, though malignant tumors (e.g., carcinomas/adenocarcinomas) are possible. In these cases, surgical excision is generally required. The prognosis for patients with adrenal tumors is generally good if surgical removal is complete.

  • The adrenal medulla is responsible for producing hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. Dysregulated replication of the chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla lead to development of a pheochromocytoma. These tumors produce excess hormone that leads to episodes of hypertension and tachycardia. Early detection via abdominal ultrasound is imperative for surgical success. CT scan prior to surgery is recommended as these tumors have the potential for vascular invasion leading to post-operative complications. Staging is recommended given that approximately 40% of patients will have evidence of spread at time of diagnosis.

  • Anal glands are located on either side of the anus and normally produce secretions that are pushed when feces is evacuated from the rectum. An anal sac tumor is a tumor of made up of cells originating from the glands of the anal sac. These tumors can spread and therefore staging is recommended prior to surgery. To diagnose these tumors, a fine needle aspirate can be placed from the outside and into the anal sac to retrieve cells. After surgery, chemotherapy may be considered. Radiation therapy has also been considered as a primary or secondary treatment option.

  • A basal cell tumor is an abnormal growth/mass resulting from the uncontrolled division of basal cells. There is no known reason for the development of these tumors in cats and dogs; however, certain breeds of dogs and cats are more likely to develop basal cell tumors, including Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, Kerry Blue and Wheaten Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and Siamese Cats. Fine needle aspiration may aid to guide the diagnosis, but definitive diagnoses are typically made via surgical removal and histopathology. There are few reports of local recurrence and metastasis (spread) does not appear to occur. With adequate surgical removal, long-term control is likely.

  • Fibrous tumors, including hamartomas, are a group of benign tumors arising from fibrous and fibrous-like tissues. Nodular dermatofibrosis can be secondary to (or a consequence of) tumors in the kidney or uterus. Fibrous tumors can develop as the result of underlying, repeated trauma (e.g., pressure on the elbows when lying on hard surfaces and self-trauma with skin allergies). Therefore, once a diagnosis has been made, determining and understanding the underlying cause is important.

  • Non-cancerous bone tumors are rare in cats and are mainly due to abnormal development. They include bone cysts and single or multiple lumps of bone in abnormal places (exostoses).

  • Non-cancerous bone tumors are rare and mainly due to abnormal development. They include bone cysts and single or multiple lumps of bone in abnormal places (exostoses).

  • The bone marrow is the soft tissue inside the bones. Before birth, the marrow contains the primary (stem) cells that from all the red and white blood cells. After birth, some types of blood cells, particularly lymphocytes, are made in other parts of the body.

  • Calcium deposits in the skin have a variety of causes. The deposits are usually of minor significance in the young but may indicate serious disease in some older animals