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Histiocytoma in dogs… Relax, actually sounds a lot worse than it is!

There are several diseases that our furry friends can be at risk from, and histiocytoma is only one of the many. And while it’s understandable that as a loving pet owner, the last thing you want to hear from your vet is that there is anything wrong with your little guy, as far as things go, being diagnosed with a histiocytoma is all that bad.


It looks horrible, and “technically,” it is a tumor. The good news is that it’s benign (not cancerous) and is usually pretty easy to treat, so relax. That said, however, we figured we’d take a moment and go into a bit further detail describing precisely what a histiocytoma is so that you can get a better idea of exactly what these guys are so that you don’t need to take our word for it, you can see for yourself that your pup is going to be okay. You can finally get a good night’s sleep!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Histiocytoma Defined

A Histiocytoma is a medical term referring to a small lump on your dog’s skin. Now, these “lumps” are generally harmless and will typically disappear as quickly as they appeared, so “typically,” there is no need to worry about them. But by the same token, some of these lumps can be in delicate or painful places, and removal might be your preferred option. In any event, as long as the tumors are not malignant, all should be fine.

What is histiocytoma?

A Histiocytoma is a benign tumor that usually grows around the dog’s face but can appear anywhere on the body. They’re typically pretty easy to identify because they are hairless lumps caused by malfunctioning of Histiocytes in the skin – immune system-based cells that react to things like bug bites or foreign objects in the skin.

That said, however…

Histocytes split into two categories: dendritic cells and langerin cells – and when those cells start to get confused, they can go into overproduction, resulting in a rather ungainly wart-type lump on your dog. While this condition predominantly affects younger dogs, it can also appear in older dogs. The problem is that they’re pretty ugly,  and let’s face it, few will feel all that comfortable with one of these appearing overnight on our dog’s face without having a vet check it out.

Which in our…

Opinion is precisely what you should do because while your self-diagnosis is probably correct, it’s typically best to have a professional check out all these “types” of things. This reminds us that you should be aware that although IndulgeYourPet knows a lot of animals, we are by no means doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.

All we are…

It is a bunch of folks who are passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them. This is why if you feel that your dog may be suffering from a histiocytoma, let’s not just hope that’s all it is; let’s have an honest professional give it a look. This way, if it is a histiocytoma, you won’t have anything to worry about, and if it turns out to be something else, your vet will know what to do!

Treatment Options

As we’ve already stated, just because most histiocytomas aren’t wrong doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious when dealing with this skin condition. These benign tumors can still become infected or bleed; your vet may want to remove them if they become irritating. However, it should be noted that nearly ninety percent of all histiocytomas will disappear on their own over a few months, so consider that before you go through anything liable to cause little Buddy more pain.

Now if…

Your dog’s histiocytoma becomes particularly troublesome, won’t go away or grow, and changes shape regularly. Your vet may want to conduct a microscopic examination to ensure the lumps are benign. As with any tumor, there is always a small risk that it might be malignant (cancer) and that the cells are cancer cells; in this case, your vet will advise you of your diagnosis and treatment options.

To further confuse the matter…

It should also be pointed out that a histiocytoma differs from a histiocytic disorder. A cystoma usually exists alone with no attaching skin concerns, so the term histiocytic disorder was created for that reason. You see, Histocytes can be affected through a variety of other conditions, some of which are more serious than a histiocytoma, including conditions such as:

  • Malignant Histiocytosis,
  • Systemic Histiocytosis,
  • Histiocytic Sarcoma,
  • Histiocytic Lymphoma
  • and Canine Cutaneous Histiocytosis.

This is another reason you should always have a professional check out your pet if you suspect something might be wrong with them.

Commonly Affected Dog Breeds

Many breeds will be affected by this problem at some point in their lives, but species at particular risk include:

Now, we’ll be the first to admit that having a dog that is diagnosed with histiocytoma isn’t going to be the end of the world. In fact, for many pet owners whose pets may be “prone” to developing this condition, it may turn into something they get used to.

That being said, for most of us, the appearance of a histiocytoma for the first time will always be a bit shocking. It will also typically lead to a vet visit, which will lead to a vet bill. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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