Canine melanoma is the most common malignant tumor found in the mouth.1,2 It also is seen on the skin and in the nail bed and footpad1 and is the most common neoplasm of the dog’s eye.3
Melanoma tumors of the mouth can grow rapidly and quickly spread to lymph nodes, liver, lungs and kidneys.5
1Bergman PJ, et al. Development of a xenogeneic DNA vaccine program for canine malignant melanoma at the Animal Medical Center. Vaccine 2006;24:4582-4585.
More Info 1
Unlike human melanoma, melanoma is not caused by sun exposure.* The name comes from the fact that melanoma originates in the cells associated with melanin, but the most dangerous canine melanomas, especially oral melanoma, have no connection to sun exposure.
Skin tumors are common in older dogs — but are often benign. Skin tumors are less common in cats — but are usually malignant. (In dogs, melanoma is much more deadly when in occurs in the mouth or other tissue.)
As a rule, the name of a cancer comes from its cell of origin or primary site.* So all tumors growing from melanocytes are called melanoma, whether they are found on the skin, mouth, footpads or eyes.