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Tumors of the Vagina in Dogs

Vaginal Tumors in Dogs

Vaginal tumors rank as the second most common reproductive tumor in dogs, representing 2.4–3 percent of all tumors in canines. Among dogs, 86 percent of vaginal tumors manifest as benign smooth muscle tumors characterized by fingerlike extensions. These tumors include leiomyoma, a type of smooth muscle tumor, fibroleiomyoma, a tumor comprising fibrous and smooth muscle tissue, and fibroma, a fibrous tissue tumor. While some vaginal tumors in dogs may remain asymptomatic and undiagnosed, others can lead to complications not directly linked to the tumor itself but rather its presence in the body. For instance, uterine leiomyomatas can result in excessive menstrual bleeding. Additional complications may include painful urination and challenging birthing processes.

Symptoms and Types

External to the vagina:

  • Gradual growth around the anus
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Trouble urinating
  • Increased urination (polyuria)
  • Vulva licking
  • Challenges during childbirth

Within the vagina (intraluminal):

  • Protruding mass from the vulva (typically during estrus/heat)
  • Vulvar discharge
  • Urination strain
  • Painful urination difficulty
  • Straining during defecation

Causes

Unspayed female dogs are primarily affected by vaginal tumors, particularly those that have never undergone childbirth.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive physical examination of your dog, considering the history of symptoms and any relevant incidents. They will order a blood chemical profile, complete blood count, urinalysis, and electrolyte panel. Vaginoscopy, utilizing a small camera-equipped instrument for internal examination and biopsy, will be performed to assess the vaginal tissue. Biopsy results, along with cytological examination of vaginal tissue aspirate, aid in identifying the cell type of the vaginal tumor for diagnosis.

Chest X-rays are essential to detect cancer spread. Abdominal X-rays may reveal the vaginal tumor, while ultrasonography, vaginography, and urethrocystography help visualize any masses. Computed tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provide detailed tumor images, assisting the veterinarian in determining surgical options and assessing cancer spread potential.

Treatment

The preferred treatment involves surgically removing the vaginal tumor while concurrently spaying the patient. In cases of sarcomas and malignant mast cell tumors, or for benign tumors that cannot be entirely excised, post-operative radiotherapy is recommended.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will arrange follow-up appointments for your dog’s X-rays, especially if the tumor was malignant and prone to spreading, with intervals possibly as frequent as every three months. Bloodwork will be conducted before each chemotherapy session to monitor your dog’s health status and treatment progress.

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