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

There are a number of diseases that our furry friends can be at risk from, and histiocytoma is only one of the many.  And while it’s totally understandable that as a loving pet owner the last thing that 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 are usually pretty east to treat, so relax.

That said however…

We figured we’d take a moment and go into a little further detail describing exactly 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 fine and you can finally get a good night sleep!

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

Histiocytoma defined

A Histiocytoma is a medical term that refers to a small lump that appears on your dog’s skin. Now these “lumps” are normally harmless and will typically disappear on their own as quickly as it appeared, so “typically” there is no need to worry about them.


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 actually a histiocytoma?

A Histiocytoma is a benign tumour that usually grows around the dog’s face, but that can appear anywhere on the body. They’re typically pretty easy to identify them because they are hairless lumps that are caused by malfunctioning of Histiocytes in the skin – which are 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 langheran 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.

And while…

This condition predominantly effects younger dog’s it can appear on older dogs as well.  The problem is, that their really pretty ugly and let’s face it, few among us are going to feel all that comfortable with one of these just appearing overnight on our dog’s face without having a vet check it out.

Which in our…

Opinion is exactly 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.  Which reminds us, you really ought to be aware that despite the fact that we here at IndulgeYourPet know a whole lot about animals, we are by no means doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.

All we are…

Is a bunch of folks who are passionate about animals and only wants 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 a real professional give it a look.  This way if it really 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 of histiocytoma’s in dogs

As we’ve already stated, just because most histiocytomas aren’t all that bad this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious when dealing with this skin condition. These benign tumors can still become infected or bleed and for this reason your vet may want to remove them if they become irritating.


It should be noted that nearly ninety percent of all histiocytomas will disappear on their own over a matter of 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, or won’t go away, or grows and changes shape on a regular basis, your vet may want to conduct a microscopic examination to ensure that the lumps are indeed benign.  Because as with any tumor, there is always a small risk that it might be malignant (cancer) and that the cells are cancer cells, in which case your vet will advise you of your diagnosis and treatment options.

Just to further confuse the matter…

It should also be pointed out that a histiocytoma is a different thing from a histiocytic disorder. A cytoma usually exists alone with no attaching skin concerns and it is for that reason that the term histiocytic disorder was created.

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.

Which is yet one more reason why you should always have a professional check out your pet if you suspect something might be wrong with him or her.

Dog Breeds affected by Histiocytosis

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

Now we’ll be the first to admit…

That having a dog that is diagnosed with a 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 ultimately turn into something that they just get used to.

That said however…

For most of us, the appearance of a histiocytoma for the first time is always going to be a bit shocking.  Its also going to typically lead to a vet visit which in turn 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 right 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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