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What is Tumors of the Vagina?

Tumors of the vagina are the second most common form of female reproductive tumor and can be either benign or malignant. Most vaginal lesions or tumors are non-cancerous leiomyomas or fibroleiomyomas, but certain malignant cancers can develop in the skin of the vagina as well so it is important to alert your veterinarian if you see signs of a tumor on or in your dog’s vagina. Canine transmissible venereal tumors, a type of cancerous canine tumor that can be spread from dog to dog by touch, can form in this area as well.

Tumors of the vagina and vulva are the second most common form of reproductive tumors in female dogs. Unspayed female dogs are more likely to develop these tumors.

Tumors of the Vagina Average Cost

From 40 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$7,500

Symptoms of Tumors of the Vagina in Dogs

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina which can result in discharge, itching and pain. This inflammation can occur separately or concurrently with vaginal tumors. 

  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty giving birth
  • Excessive licking of genital area
  • Mass on the vagina (either visible or palpable)
  • Straining to urinate
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal odor
  • Vulvar bleeding

Types

There are many types of tumors that can affect the vagina and vulvar area on dogs, both benign and malignant. The most common tumors to affect the vagina are leiomyomas and fibroleiomyomas, benign tumors of the smooth muscle that generally do not spread. Fibropapillomas, small bumps that are caused by a viral infection, may also develop in this area. They tend to look similar to other tumors in this area, however they often regress spontaneously after a few months. Malignant tumors are rarer, but squamous cell carcinomas may also develop on the skin in this area, and clitoral adenocarcinoma may affect your canine’s clitoris. Canine transmissible venereal tumors are cauliflower-like, nodular or papillary and can also affect the genital area. They are often inflamed and ulcerated, making it quite contagious particularly if direct contact has occurred during mating, licking or rough play.

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Causes of Tumors of the Vagina in Dogs

The causes of most cancers can be somewhat ambiguous although there are some things can increase the likelihood for cancers to develop.

  • Advanced age
  • Exposure to chemicals 
  • Infection 
  • Radiation exposure

There is a hormonal component to most vaginal tumors. The overwhelming majority of females that develop tumors in the vagina are unspayed, however tumors that do occur in spayed females have a higher incidence of being malignant. The exception to that rule in this group are the canine transmissible venereal tumors (CTVT). These tumors are actually a contagious canine cancer. It is transmissible by direct contact such as the type that is made during mating, licking or rough play. Generally, your canine’s immune system would recognize and eliminate cells from an outside source such as this, however when CTVT cells are introduced a state of rapid growth of the cancer cells begins and will last between three and nine months. Although CTVT is found worldwide, it is more prevalent in tropical and subtropical urban environments.

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Diagnosis of Tumors of the Vagina in Dogs

Initially, your veterinarian will need to get a full medical history of your pet as well as perform a physical examination, including a close examination of the tumors and the area surrounding them. A tissue sample will also be obtained so that it can be examined microscopically, as well as samples of any discharge from the vagina. A complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis will also be requested to reveal any underlying or concurrent medical issues. Most of these growths are fairly simple to identify once the sample is viewed microscopically. To determine if there are other tumors or if metastases might have developed your veterinarian may choose to perform a vaginoscopy. X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scans or may be used to ascertain if any tumors have spread further, and further analysis may be done in the lab to get more information from the tissue sample. If metastasis is suspected your veterinarian may want to biopsy the lymph nodes as well.

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Treatment of Tumors of the Vagina in Dogs

Ovariohysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries, is the treatment of choice in these cases, as well as the removal of the tumor itself. This generally reduces the risk of more tumors forming due to hormonal means as well as allowing for the examination of the abdominal organs to check more clearly for metastasis. Surgery is completely curative for a majority of benign vaginal tumors as the metastatic rate is low. In the event that a benign tumor becomes metastatic more aggressive steps may be required to prevent reoccurrence. Radiation therapy may be recommended to prevent future growth or spread of the tumors. 

Malignant tumors of any type in this area will be treated aggressively. A radical vulvovaginectomy or perineal urethrostomy will be done to remove all possible cancerous tissue. Once the surgeon has removed all that he or she physically can, radiation and chemotherapy will be utilized in an attempt to destroy any new or hidden cancer cells as well as to prevent recurrence. Dogs are more tolerant of chemotherapy than most humans and only around 5% need hospitalization from the treatment itself. Although there is less reported hair loss in dogs than in people some breeds (English Sheepdog, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, and Poodle) are more prone to hair loss than others. 

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Recovery of Tumors of the Vagina in Dogs

Complications from chemotherapy can arise, so your veterinarian will probably want to do regular checks on your dog’s liver and kidney enzyme levels. Pets are often sent home the same day after chemotherapy, and although most of the drug is metabolized within just a few hours, some remnants of it can remain in the blood for a few days. It is important to use gloves when dealing with bodily fluids and maintain good hand washing hygiene. Children, pregnant and nursing women and immunocompromised adults should avoid contact with the bodily fluids during that time. Your pet should be monitored closely for additional tumors during and after their chemotherapy treatments.

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Tumors of the Vagina Average Cost

From 40 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$7,500

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Tumors of the Vagina Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Toy chihuahua

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Kiki has thrown up and had bloodyish diarrhea 3 times each today. She has been drinking water and has an appetite. I noticed a hard black spot above her vagina which has never been there before.

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From your picture, it seems that Kiki is not spayed, and intact female dogs can have more problems with cancer then spayed dogs. If the lump is new and you haven't noticed it there before, it would be best have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can also see why she may be vomiting and having diarrhea, and see if the two things are related or not. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 8, 2020

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toy chihuahua

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Kiki has vomited 3 times and had bloody ish diarrhea 3 times in the past 12 hours. I just noticed a hard black mole looking spot above her vagina and it has never been there before.

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From your picture, it seems that Kiki is not spayed, and intact female dogs can have more problems with cancer then spayed dogs. If the lump is new and you haven't noticed it there before, it would be best have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can also see why she may be vomiting and having diarrhea, and see if the two things are related or not. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 8, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lump On Vagina, Difficulty Peeing, Frequent Urination, Unable To Hold Pee

I have an 11 year old shih tzu / pomeranian And to the last For days she has been having issues peen. She has been having frequent urination trouble making it to her peepee pads and she has a lump right above her vaginae Me my family are disabled and have a very low income and with the cauvet we are very low on income and I don't know what to do she is still very playful good appetite I don't wanna see her suffering she doesn't see my cheese in pain She doesn't whine but she does lick quite frequently her privates can you help

July 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question . Dogs can get urinary tract or uterine infections, and they can hurt and be painful. She does need to see a veterinarian, and she probably needs antibiotics. Some large chain veterinarians offer a 'free first exam' that may allow you to have her seen, which might help. I hope that she is okay.

July 23, 2020

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Lux

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Shih Tzu

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7 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Licking At Genitals
Licking
Lump

My dog Lux is 7 years old and has had 3 litters of puppies (my brother got a male dog, and was being careless about letting him around her while I wasn’t present). A year after her last litter, I noticed one dime-sized lump near her vulva. It didn’t seem to bother her, but it’s grown since then to the size of a penny. The lump isn’t on her skin, it’s underneath, and overall the size (diameter and everything) is the size of a wasabi nut. She’s also licking more in that area. I’m concerned about the expense of treatment, but from this description should I be leaning more towards benign or malignant? It doesn’t hurt her when I touch it, and she doesn’t have trouble urinating.

June 1, 2018

Lux's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without an examination to determine its origin, I cannot really comment plus no Veterinarian can say whether it would be benign or malignant for sure without histopathology. If there has been a change in size or shape, you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination as they will be able to determine whether immediate action should be taken, a needle aspirate or wait and see approach. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 2, 2018

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Maeve

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pit bull terrier

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vaginal Bleeding

We noticed vaginal bleeding from our pit mix earlier today. She is a two year old rescue that has had at least one litter of puppies and was spayed about two months ago. She recovered completely from the spaying. We took her to our vet. He determined that she had a tumor and removed it. This evening she still has bleeding from her vagina. Is this normal following this sort of procedure? All of her stitches are internal but she has not been licking the area or seem at all distressed. Thank you for any assistance.

March 23, 2018

Maeve's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There should be no bleeding, but if there is a small amount it shouldn’t cause alarm but it would be best to visit your Veterinarian before the weekend starts so that you can avoid any out of hour fees in case there is something more serious going on. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 23, 2018

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Binky

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Maltipoo

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14 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vaginal Bleeding

Binky started with blood showing in urine. It has progressed to more blood coming from vulva.. she drips blood and has to wear a diaper. She is still eating, drinking water, moving around. She is urinating and taking poops. She is not spayed. Could she have a tumor? What can I do to help her?

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Isabella

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Yorkie

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12 Days

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

My 12 year old female Yorkie was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma after a mass in her vagina popped out. We took her in for emergency surgery in November of 2018 where the vets removed the mass and sent it out and it came back her results. Her metastasis says 3 on the paperwork. What does this mean? Before knowing about the tumor she had blood in her urine often which we thought was the cause of a UTI, the medications would work on and off but then we found out the cause of all of this was from the tumor. Just two days ago I noted a few drops of light colors blood in her urine. What can be done to stop the light bleeding? Is this the cause of the light spotty bleeding from a re-growing of the same tumor?

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Molly

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Maltipoo

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14 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Execssive Licking
Lots Of Urination

My maltese-poodle is 14 years old not spayed. This morning I thought she had poop on her butt went to wipe it and the membrane was hanging out of her vagina. I went to 3 different vets and they informed me it was a benign tumour. She has a heart mumur and I am a bit worried... They suggested a spay for her but at her age and being under general anesthesia I am nervous.

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Renny

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Boxer Shepherd

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6 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Tumor

We have a six year old female boxer (spayed). She has had two Mast cell Tumors in the past year. One was on her elbow and the other was on her chest. Both were low grade and surgically removed. I just discovered a lump, almost pimple-like like others have described, on her vulva. It is Saturday and memorial weekend so of course our normal vet who we love and trust will be closed. In the meantime, I am researching all that I can. If this is a MCT, is it surgically removable?

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Laila

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Yorkshire Terrier

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Noticed an externally visible nodule on my dogs vagina. Super worried, never seen anything like this. She does lick quite a bit. Shes not spayed and doesnt have much contact with other dogs.

Tumors of the Vagina Average Cost

From 40 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$7,500

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