Welcome to the Canine Cancer:
Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Interactive
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This growing and dynamic data resource will serve to deliver trending data on cancer in dogs within the United States. Using a blend of canine medical records from clinics around the country and dog owner data gleaned from an ongoing Gallup survey, we track instances of cancer within all breeds, types, sexes, ages, and locations of dogs. The research goals of this Registry includes quantitative comparison of tumor types which may reveal unusual cancer frequencies, providing directions for research and generation of hypotheses of cancer causation in a specific area, and suggest leads for identifying risk factors.

Canine Cancer Types

The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) includes eight leading U.S. veterinarians specializing in canine oncology and surgery. One of the SAB’s first and most important activities is driving a consistent canine cancer diagnostic coding system. The SAB is encouraging veterinary clinics to adopt coding practices according to the recently published Veterinary International Classification of Diseases for Oncology Canine Tumors First Edition, or Vet-ICD-O-canine-1, which is based largely on the most recent version of the human cancer coding system, ICD-O-3.2.

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Adrenal Medullary Tumors

These tumors on the adrenal gland are created from abnormal growth of chromaffin cells, the cells that produce hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Apocrine Gland Tumors

Apocrine glands are the major type of sweat gland in dogs, and the distribution of eccrine sweat glands is limited to the footpads. Apocrine sweat gland carcinomas comprise a group of rare malignant skin tumors and tend to occur on the head, neck, and limb.

Baharak A, Reza K, Shahriar D, Omid A, Daruoosh V, Nasrin A. Metastatic apocrine sweat gland adenocarcinoma in a terrier dog. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012;2(8):670-672. doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60118-X


Chondrosarcomas arise from cartilage, and are the second most common primary bone tumor in dogs, accounting for 5-10% of primary bone tumors in dogs. Chondrosarcomas in dogs most commonly affects the flat bones of the body, such as the ribs, skull, nasal cavity, and pelvis.

Esophageal Cancer

The occurrence of esophageal cancer in dogs is very rare; it accounts for even less than 0.5% of all canine cancers. The most common types of esophageal tumors include leiomyosarcomas, fibrosarcomas, osteosarcomas, and undifferentiated sarcomas, all of which are malignant.

Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic exocrine cells work to produce digestive enzymes; dogs diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic cancer have cells in the pancreas that are overproducing. Tumors arise from the epithelial tissues of the pancreas and are mostly adenocarcinomas that are ductular or acinar in origin.

Gastric Cancer

Stomach cancer can develop in several ways, including different types of tumors that can grow within a dog’s stomach. These include malignant tumors such as gastric adenocarcinomas, leiomyosarcomas, and lymphomas, being tumors, and mast cell tumors.


Hemangiosarcoma is a highly malignant cancer arising from cells that normally create blood vessels. It most commonly affects the spleen, liver, right atrium of the heart, and skin.

Hepatobiliary Tumors

Canine liver and bile tumors are rare in dogs, accounting for less than 2% of all canine neoplasms. Hepatobiliary tumors are divided into one of four types: hepatocellular tumors, bile duct tumors, neuroendocrine tumors (carcinoids), and primary sarcomas.


Hyperadrenocorticism (HAC), also known as Cushing’s disease, is a common endocrine syndrome that affects middle-aged and geriatric dogs. HAC is generally caused by tumors of either the pituitary or adrenal glands; however, long-term administration of exogenous glucocorticoids can also cause HAC.

Intestinal Tumors

Intestinal tumors develop as a result of the abnormal proliferation and dysregulated replication of cells anywhere along the intestinal tract, which includes the small and large intestines. In dogs, three types of intestinal tumors are seen: lymphoma, adenocarcinoma, and leiomyosarcoma.

Intracranial Neoplasia

Intracranial neoplasms can be divided into primary and secondary brain tumors. Primary brain tumors arise from the brain, spinal cord, and associated tissues -collectively known as the central nervous system. Secondary brain tumors represent metastasis of a tumor to the brain from any other part of the body.

Intracranial neoplasia. The National Canine Cancer Foundation. Published February 9, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Larynx and Trachea Cancer

The incidence of this cancer is very low among dogs. The reported laryngeal lesions include rhabdomyoma (oncocytomas), osteosarcoma, extramedullary plasmacytoma, chondrosarcoma, undifferentiated carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, mast cell tumor, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. On the other hand, cancer of the trachea consists of lymphoma, chondrosarcoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Lymphoid Leukemia

There are two different types of canine leukemia: chronic and acute. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) often occurs in younger dogs, with the average age of diagnosis being 6.2 years old. ALL is characterized by a high population of lymphoblasts, which are immature lymphocytes. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is much less severe than ALL and primarily occurs in older dogs between the ages of 10 and 12.


Canine lymphoma is similar to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that stems from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps the immune system to fight off infection.

Mammary Tumor

A mammary tumor is a tumor of the mammary tissue. They are common in un-spayed dogs and dogs spayed after their first heat cycle. Mammary tumors occur more frequently in breeds such as toy and miniature poodles, spaniels and German shepherds. Male dogs are rarely affected.

Canine mammary tumors. NC State Veterinary Medicine. Published November 22, 2019. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Malignant Histiocytoma

Malignant histiocytosis is an uncommon disease of dogs that is overrepresented in certain breeds, thereby underlining its heritability. It’s an aggressive, tragic disease that involves the abnormal accumulation of a type of white blood cell called the histiocyte.

Mast Cell Tumors

A mast cell tumor (MCT) is a type of tumor consisting of mast cells. Mast cell tumors most commonly form nodules or masses in the skin, they can also affect other areas of the body, including the spleen, liver, intestine, and bone marrow.


Melanomas are tumors of pigment cells in dogs that can be malignant. Malignant melanomas in dogs can be an aggressive cancer. The malignant form of melanoma tends to occur in the oral cavity, mucocutaneous junctions (regions of the body where non-haired areas meet the haired, such as the lips, vulva, and anal regions), and digit/nailbed.

DeBiasio T. What is canine melanoma? Metropolitan Veterinary Associates. Published January 10, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.


Spinal dysraphism is present at birth and is an inherited condition. Myelodysplasia occurs as a result of pre-natal development that is abnormal and malformations of the spinal cord occur. Lesions in the spinal column form and are most severe in the lumbar or lower back region. Puppies will have an awkward gait or will bunny hop on the hind end.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an uncommon, rapidly progressive neoplasm in dogs. The affected organs may include spleen, liver, lymph nodes, tonsils, kidneys, heart and central nervous system. Acute myeloid leukemia is usually manifested as anemia, neutropenia (characterized by a low count of a particular type of white blood cells called neutrophils) and thrombocytopenia (presence of relatively low platelets in dogs).

Nasal Chondrosarcoma

Chondrosarcoma is the second most common primary bone tumor in dogs, accounting for 5-10% of primary bone tumors in dogs. The most commonly affected site is the nasal cavity. A chondrosarcoma of the nasal and paranasal sinuses arises from the mesenchymal tissue, a connective collagenous tissue that is found throughout the body, and metastasizes to other parts of the body, including the nasal bones. It usually occurs on one side of the nasal cavity and extends to the other side over time.

Nasosinal Tumors

Tumors of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses (sinonasal tumors) in dogs account for only approximately 1% of all neoplasia; however, over 80% are malignant, and they carry a poor long-term prognosis. Although these tumors are slow to metastasize, they are locally invasive and, without treatment, euthanasia is generally elected within a few months due to progression of local disease.

Elliot KM, Mayer MN. Radiation therapy for tumors of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses in dogs. The Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire canadienne. Published March 2009. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Nerve Sheath Tumors

Nerve Sheath Tumor in Dogs is an abnormal growth or mass of the skin and soft tissue. The tumor is comprised of Schwann cells that are found in connective tissue known as the myelin, or cover, that surrounds the nerve. Also known as schwannomas.


Osteosarcoma in dogs is a primary bone tumour. It usually arises in the bones of the limbs but can develop in the bones of the skull, spine or ribcage and there are rare cases of this tumour arising in non-boney tissues like mammary glands and muscle.

Canine osteosarcoma fact sheet. Davies Veterinary Specialists. Published October 5, 2021. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Ovarian Tumors

An ovarian tumor is a type of tumor that develops from the uncontrolled disordered growth of cells found within the ovary. The cells of the ovary contain germ cells and epithelial (skin-like) cells amongst many others, and tumors may develop from any one of these cell types. Because many dogs and cats in North America undergo ovariohysterectomy (spay surgery), the incidence of this type of cancer is quite low.

Plasma Cell Neoplasms

Plasma cell tumors develop as a result of the disorganized uncontrolled production of plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of immune system cell that create antibodies used to combat infection and infectious diseases. Some plasma cell tumors are malignant, meaning they are cancerous (e.g., multiple myeloma), and affect one or multiple organs, as well as the bone and/or bone marrow and the gastrointestinal tract.

Plasma cell tumors and multiple myeloma. Plasma Cell Tumors And Multiple Myeloma | VCA Animal Hospitals. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Prostate Cancer

Cancer of the prostate occurs when the cells of the prostate gland grow out of control. The most common type of prostate cancer in dogs is adenocarcinoma.

Prostate cancer in dogs (prostatic adenocarcinoma). PetMD. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Pulmonary Tumors

Lung tumors fall into 2 different categories:

  • Primary lung tumors are tumors which originate in the dog’s lung. Although primary lung tumors are rare, when they do occur in dogs, a large percentage are cancerous. Sadly, primary lung tumors often spread to other parts of the dog’s body including the lymph nodes, chest cavity, bones and brain.
  • Metastatic lung tumors are tumors originating from a cancer elsewhere in the body which has spread to the pet’s lungs.

Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital. Plains Veterinary Oncology | Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital. Accessed April 26, 2022.


Studies show that large, deep, fast growing rhabdomyosarcoma tumors tend to be malignant. They can metastasize in organs such as the liver, kidney, spleen, adrenal glands and lungs.

Salivary Gland Cancer

A salivary gland tumor is an abnormal proliferation and dysregulated replication of cells within the salivary gland. Salivary gland tumors occur most commonly in the parotid gland (located by the base of the ear) in dogs. The most common type of salivary gland tumor is a malignant (cancerous) tumor called the adenocarcinoma.

Salivary gland tumors. Salivary Tumors | VCA Animal Hospitals. Accessed April 26, 2022.


Soft tissue sarcomas are a broad category of tumors including those that arise from the connective, muscle, or nervous tissues in dogs. These tumors are the result of abnormal production of these cell types in an uncontrolled manner.

Soft tissue sarcomas. Soft Tissue Sarcomas | VCA Animal Hospitals. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Sebaceous and Modified Sebaceous Gland Tumors

Sebaceous glands are microscopic glands found below the skin. Tumors of the sebaceous and modified sebaceous glands are quite common in dogs. They include nodular hyperplasia, sebaceous adenoma, sebaceous ductal adenoma, sebaceous epithelioma, meibomian adenoma, meibomian ductal adenoma, meibomian epithelioma, hepatoid gland adenoma, and hepatoid gland epithelioma.

Sebaceous and modified sebaceous gland tumors. The National Canine Cancer Foundation. Published February 9, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Spinal Cord Neoplasia

In dogs, neoplasms commonly affecting the spinal cord include osteosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, meningioma, nerve sheath tumor, and metastatic neoplasia. Nephroblastoma occurs in young dogs (5–36 months of age), with German Shepherd Dogs affected most commonly. This tumor is consistently located within the dura mater between T10 and L2, causing progressive paraparesis.

Thomas WB. Neoplasia of the spinal column and cord in animals – nervous system. Merck Veterinary Manual. Published April 18, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a tumor of skin cells. Because this type of cancer arises from squamous cells, tumors can develop anywhere that these cells are present. This can include the nail bed, paw pads, abdomen, back, ears, or the nose, including the nasal planum (top edge of the nose).

Thyroid Gland Neoplasia

A thyroid tumor develops as a result of abnormal replication or growth of the cells that make up the thyroid gland; specifically, the glandular tissues. Benign (non-cancerous) thyroid tumors are referred to as adenomas, while malignant (cancerous) thyroid tumors are referred to as carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. In dogs, most thyroid tumors (about 90%) are malignant but nonfunctional, meaning they do not cause excessive thyroid hormone production.

Thyroid tumors. Thyroid Tumors | VCA Animal Hospitals. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Transitional cell carcinoma in dogs

Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is a cancerous tumor most commonly found in the urinary bladder and the urethra. It is most often seen in older small breed dogs such as Scottish terriers, West Highland white terriers, dachshunds, and Shetland sheepdogs and rarely identified in cats.

Pet Hospital. BluePearl. Published September 25, 2019. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Urinary Bladder Cancer

The most common type of urinary bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). This is a tumor of the cells that line the inside of the urinary bladder. Other less common types of tumors of the bladder may include leiomyosarcomas, fibrosarcomas and other soft tissue tumors.

Hospitals BPP. Bladder cancer in dogs – Bluepearl Pet Hospital. BluePearl. Published April 6, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Uterine Tumors

There are two types of uterine tumors in dogs, which are leiomyomas (noncancerous) and leiomyosarcomas (cancerous). Although uterine tumors are rare in dogs, leiomyomas are the most common of the two, and are found in the smooth muscle of the walls of any organ, such as the uterus.

Wag. Tumor of the uterus in dogs. Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost. Published June 9, 2016. Accessed

Vaginal and Vulvar Tumors

Vaginal and vulvar tumors are the second most common canine female reproductive tumor after those of the mammary gland. They constitute 2.4% to 3% of canine neoplasia. Unlike mammary gland tumors, vaginal lesions are non-cancerous in nature and originate from the smooth muscle tissues. Non-malignant vaginal and vulvar tumors reported in the veterinary literature are leiomyomas, fibroleiomyomas, fibromas, polyps, lipomas, sebaceous adenomas, fibrous histiocytomas, benign melanomas, myxomas and myxof