Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

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.

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

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 or mating
  • 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, warty 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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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
  • Genetics 
  • Reproductive status (whether neutered or not)

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 in moist of the world, it is more prevalent in tropical and subtropical urban environments.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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 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 local lymph nodes as well.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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 they should not spread and most are only locally invasive.

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. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Tumors of the Vagina Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$7,500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Tumors of the Vagina Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

Eleven Years

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

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

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

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

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

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Lux

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Licking
Licking At Genitals
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

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

1 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

Was this experience helpful?

Tumors of the Vagina Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$7,500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

advertisement image
ask a vet placeholder
Need pet insurance?