Spotting a growth anywhere in your dog’s face or body may be worrying, but before jumping into conclusions, keep in mind that not all growths are dangerous. Histiocytoma, for instance, is a benign skin growth that may occur in dogs (more commonly in those below 3 years of age). But what exactly is histiocytoma in a dog and what should you do if you suspect that your dog has it?

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  1. What Is Histiocytoma in Dogs
  2. Symptoms of Histiocytomas in Dogs
  3. What Causes Histiocytomas in Dogs
  4. How To Treat Histiocytoma in Dogs
  5. How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
  6. FAQs
  7. Final Words

What Is Histiocytoma in Dogs

Histiocytomas in dogs are small skin tumors that are more commonly seen in younger dogs (typically below 3 years old). They can, however, also occur at any age. Dog breeds such as Boxers, Boston Terriers, English Bulldogs, Labrador Retrievers, Staffordshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, and Scottish Terriers appear to be more susceptible to it.

The origins of Histiocytomas come from Langerhans cells. These cells live in the skin, interacting with organisms that come into contact with the skin, and introducing them to other cells of a dog’s immune system. A histiocytoma then occurs when Langerhans cells become tumorous. The immune system eventually sees this growth as something they should eliminate. The process of elimination takes about 2-3 months to complete.

Histiocytomas occur as solitary, round, typically hairless, and raised growths. When it occurs, it can usually be found in the upper half of the dog’s body, more commonly in their head or ears. It can, however, also occur in any part of their body. A microscopic examination or biopsy may be done in order to diagnose canine histiocytoma. It is normally classified as a benign tumor, most of which resolve on their own in a span of 2-3 months without treatment.

Growths may look similar on the surface, so it may be hard for us pet owners to identify them. It is therefore important to have our dog checked when we notice any growth especially because some growths may not be benign. Note that histiocytoma has no relation to histiocytosis, which is a malignant process.

Symptoms of Histiocytomas in Dogs

Typically, dogs that develop histiocytomas don’t have any symptoms other than the sprouting of the pinkish round growth on their skin. They aren’t normally itchy or painful, but such symptoms are possible. Although rare, swelling of lymph nodes may happen. If the histiocytoma is near the eye, it may cause redness or discharge in the eye, which may irritate your dog.

Monitoring your dog may help you detect any symptoms that your dog is experiencing. Pet monitoring products such as the Petcube Cam, for example, is more than just a camera. Its HD and innovative features allow you to interact with your pet and be able to detect anything out of the ordinary. Not to mention, purchasing the camera also gives you access to Petcube’s online vet service, which provides 24/7 vet help anytime you need it.

What Causes Histiocytomas in Dogs

In general, a tumor may develop when there is unregulated multiplication of cells. With histiocytomas, the Langerhans cell (which belongs to the immune system of the skin) is the one involved. While other tumors are more associated with environmental factors, many cases of histiocytomas are due to genetic factors.

How To Treat Histiocytoma in Dogs

Dog Histiocytoma Treatment

Most cases of histiocytoma in dogs heal on their own within 2-3 months without the need for treatment. However, because the process of healing may sometimes cause itchiness, this may sometimes cause secondary infections that need treatment for healing.

Meanwhile, MSD Vet Manual studies consider immunomodulators to help ease the immune system responses in treating histiocytomas, although more research is needed in this area.

Histiocytoma Removal

Are there options for histiocytoma treatment at home? Normally, histiocytoma resolves on its own within 2-3 months without treatment needed. While surgical removal of histiocytomas is the fastest treatment method, it is normally only done in severe cases. If the growth is diagnosed by the veterinarian as indeed a histiocytoma and if it is not painful or does not interfere with your dog’s daily activities, it might be best to let the growth heal on its own.

However, if the histiocytoma (or what appears to be a histiocytoma if not confirmed yet) is still there after 3 months, it might be best to remove it. Also, if the growth has eroded or seems painful, it may be better to have it removed sooner rather than later. While anti-inflammatory medications may seem like a reasonable option, it may cause an interference in the process of regression.

On the other hand, if the histiocytoma is not amenable to be removed or is located in difficult to remove areas such as the eyelid, an alternative option is cryotherapy or the procedure which involves freezing of the growth in order to remove it.

The prognosis is excellent for histiocytomas since it usually resolves on its own, or it can be surgically removed. Also, the growth only has a very tiny percentage (below 1%) of growing back.

How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment

In severe cases when your dog needs emergency surgery, for example, or if they get into any pet emergency situation, it makes a lot of difference to have the assurance that your dog will be treated and cared for while not having to worry about the veterinarian bills. Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund makes this possible.
With a Pet Emergency Fund subscription, you get upto $3000, covering upto 6 pets. For every emergency, they will directly pay the vet clinic so you won’t have to worry about settling the bill. They also provide vet support via their online vet service, allowing you to consult with certified vets for first aid guidance and emergencia triage. Lucky you, we’re offering an exclusive 27% off on subscriptions if you follow this link.


Is histiocytoma in an older dog normal?

While this type of tumor is more common in dogs younger than 3 years of age, dogs of any age may be susceptible to it. Do note, however, that other tumors may look similar to histiocytomas, so it is important to have your senior dog checked with the vet as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.

How long does the histiocytoma dog healing process last?

Usually, histiocytomas resolve on their own within 2 to 3 months without treatment. If it doesn’t go away in that span of time or if it is interfering with your dog’s daily activities, it’s best to consult with your vet for possible treatment options.

Can a dog die from a histiocytoma?

Histiocytoma in a dog is rarely fatal. There is, however, a rare condition named Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), which may lead to the sprouting of hundreds of growths around a dog’s face and body. Oftentimes, dogs with this condition have a poor prognosis.


Histiocytoma in dogs is the sprouting of a benign growth that most commonly affects dogs younger than 3 years old. Usually, it resolves on its own within 2-3 months, not needing any treatment. In some cases, however, surgical removal may be advised, among other alternatives. In general canine histiocytoma has a good prognosis and rarely recurs.

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