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Transmissible Venereal Tumor in Dogs

By Cheri A. Johnson, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Small Animal), Professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University ; Autumn P. Davidson, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Clinical Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis ; Fabio Del Piero, DVM, DACVP, PhD, Professor, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University ; James A. Flanders, DVM, DACVS, Associate Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University ; Mushtaq A. Memon, BVSc, PhD, DACT, Theriogenologist, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Washington State University ; Paul Nicoletti, DVM, MS, DACVPM (Deceased), Professor Emeritus, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida ; Robert C. Rosenthal, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Small Animal, Oncology), DACVR (Radiation Oncology) ; Brad E. Seguin, DVM, MS, PhD DACT, Professor Emeritus, Department of Clinical and Population Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Also see professional content regarding canine transmissible venereal tumor.

Transmissible venereal tumors are cancerous tumors of the genitalia in dogs. The tumor cells are passed from dog to dog during breeding. They form cauliflower-like masses that range in size from small (less than 5 millimeters wide) to large (more than 10 centimeters wide). The surface is often ulcerated and inflamed and bleeds easily. The tumors may be single or multiple. Although they are almost always located directly on the genitalia, they may be passed on to the adjacent skin or the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes. Diagnosis is made by examining tumor cells under a microscope. Transmissible venereal tumors are usually progressive and are treated with a combination of surgical removal, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. The outlook for successful treatment is good, unless the tumors have already spread within the body before treatment begins.