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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Condition Overview

Melanomas arise from melanin-producing cells in the skin. They are more common in Scottish Terriers, Boston Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels.


These brown or black nodules are found on darkly pigmented areas of skin, particularly on the eyelids. Rarely, you will find and un-pigmented melanoma. They also occur on the lips, in the mouth, on the trunk and limbs, and in the nail beds.


Melanomas on the skin are usually benign - those in the mouth are highly malignant. About 50% of nail bed melanomas are malignant and metastasize. Metastases occur in the regional lymph nodes, lungs, and liver.


Diagnosis is made by veterinary examination and biopsy.


The melanoma must be removed surgically, along with a margin of normal tissue. Recurrence is common and difficult to treat. The outlook is extremely poor for melanomas in the mouth.


There is no prevention for this condition.


Please contact your veterinarian if you have questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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