Tumors of the Endocrine Glands in Dogs

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial
Published: September 30, 2009

Oncocytoma in Dogs

The endocrine glands are responsible for secreting hormones directly into the blood and lymph nodes. One type of tumor that can grow within atypical cells found in the endocrine glands and epithelium (the tissue lining the cavities of the body) is the oncocytoma, a rare and benign tumor that can affect dogs.

As a benign tumor, an oncocytoma does not metastasize, and also tends to be minimally invasive. Concern arises according the location of the tumor, as its presence may restrict movement, blood passages, or airways. Though this is rare in dogs, when it does occur, the tumor is commonly found in the area of the larynx. However, the tumor is also commonly found around the kidney, and can occur wherever there are endocrine glands and epithelium.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms depend on the location of the tumor mass. In some patients difficult breathing and change in voice may be seen if the tumor is present in the larynx.


The exact cause is unknown.


You will need to give a detailed medical history to your veterinarian, including background symptoms, time of onset, and the frequency of the symptoms. One of the main indications is a change in your dog's tone of voice – a change in the bark. Your veterinarian will perform a detailed examination of your dog's larynx – the area of the voice box. Standard laboratory tests will include a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. The results of these tests are usually normal unless a concurrent disease is present.

If it is indicated, your veterinarian will also take x-rays of larynx and lungs to see if there is any metastasis, which would indicate a different type of tumor. For a more detailed examination, your dog will be lightly sedated and your veterinarian will examine the larynx internally using a laryngoscope (a tubular diagnostic tool that is inserted into the laryngopharynx). During this procedure, your veterinarian will take a sample of tissue from the mass and send it to a veterinary pathologist for evaluation. The biopsy sample should enable your veterinarian to establish a definitive diagnosis.


After the diagnosis has been established, your veterinarian will schedule the surgery to remove the tumor mass from larynx area. During surgery, maximum care and efforts will be directed towards saving the larynx functions.

Living and Management

After a surgical resection of the tumor mass has been performed, the overall prognosis for most patients is excellent. After a complete resection, a cure is usually achieved in affected patients, as this tumor very seldom metastasizes. However, if a complete resection can not be achieved, you will need to watch your dog for any symptoms of a recurrence, which will require a second round of more aggressive surgery. Again, even with a partial resection, prognosis is generally excellent due to the benign nature of this tumor. Once surgery has been performed successfully, however, no follow-up will be required and your dog may go on to live a normal life.

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