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Dog Apocrine Gland Tumors

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Dog Apocrine Gland Tumors

The most prevalent glands in dogs are apocrine glands. Commonly known as sweat glands or skin glands, they are also a source of common tumors in many breeds of dogs. The majority of these tumors are benign, but there are some that are malignant and can be very aggressive. Along with the presence of the malignancy lies the potential of metastasis to the lungs and regional lymph nodes.


There are several different categories of these tumors. Apocrine adenoma, apocrine ductal adenoma, adenoma of the anal gland, apocrine ductal adenoma and anal gland sac carcinoma. The location of the tumor will classify it as either glandular or ductular. The majority of the malignant tumors arise in older dogs. They are a firm, well differentiated and solitary tumor. The most common place for them to appear is in the dermis, which is the mesodermic layer of skin or deeper parts of the dermis. If the tumor appears as an ulcerative plaque type tumor it is most likely a malignant tumor. They will multiply rather quickly.

This type of tumor will generally appear in the armpit or groin and are often mistaken for a type of dermatitis called pyotraumatic dermatitis. These are worsened by the constant biting, licking and other contact that dogs are prone to do.

Apocrine adenomas will appear of lumps. Some of these lesions can be cystic. They are common in dogs generally between the years of 8-11 years.


As with any cancer the diagnosis is made via a fine needle aspiration. Histopathology is preferred due to the technique used in preparing the slides and the staining of the tissue sections. Proper diagnosis will also determine prognosis, as it will tell the stage of the disease. The technique of histopathology also rules out other specific types of cancers.


The preferred treatment of this type of cancer is excision. If the margins of the removed tumor are clear, no other treatment is necessary. If, however, surgery is not possible, radiation therapy is used and can be effective treatment.


There is no clear cut prognosis. It depends on the findings found by the veterinary pathologist.

There are several other types of apocrine gland tumors. Adenomas of the anal sac are seldom malignant and rare in dogs. It is difficult to determine if they are benign or malignant.

Anal gland carcinomas arise from the apocrine secretory epithelium in the wall of the anal sac. There are some dog breeds that are prone to these as well. English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, German Shepherd Dog, and some mixed breed dogs are amongst the breeds of dogs that have a predilection to anal gland carcinomas or Dog Anal Gland Tumors.

Early diagnosis is important with any of these conditions. By observing skin changes or lumps in your dogs skin is the most important step with any type of Dog Cancer. By making arrangements for a veterinary visit when you see a change will improve the potential recovery.

Suggested Products

ES Clear – Dog Cancer Support Cancer Support Kit for Dogs Nu-Pet Vitamin and Antioxidant Wafers Multi Essential Dog Vitamins Supraglan for Dog Adrenal Gland Dysfunction

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