Canine transmissible Venereal Tumor (TVT)

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  1. The first thing you should know about canine transmissible venereal tumor is that TVT is not transmissible to humans!

  2. The second thing you should know about TVT is that it is almost always located on the genitalia of dogs. In male dogs, the tumor affects the penis and foreskin. In female dogs, it affects the vulva. Rarely, the mouth or nose are affected. The tumor may arise deep within the vaginal, or nasal cavity and be difficult to see during cursory examination.

  3. The third thing you should know is that the tumor is transplanted from site to site and from dog to dog by direct contact with the mass, usually during mating.

  4. Lastly you need to know that you should never do a Google image search for “canine transmissible venereal tumor” unless you have a strong stomach.



Canine transmissible venereal tumors (TVT) are cauliflower-like in appearance. They range in size from a small nodule (5 mm) to a large mass (>10 cm). Because of a rich blood supply, TVTs appear pink to bright red. The surface is often ulcerated and inflamed and bleeds easily.



TVT is spread by the physical transfer of living cancer cells between dogs. This usually occurs during mating, but TVT may also be transferred by licking, sniffing or parturition (giving birth).

TVT is usually seen in young, sexually active dogs from an environment with a high concentration of free roaming dogs with poor control of reproduction. Females are more susceptible than males.



Signs of genital TVT include:

  • bloody discharge from the genitals
  • abnormal odor
  • excessive licking
  • in some cases urinary retention from blockage of the urethra

Signs of a nasal TVT include:

  • nasal nosebleeds
  • other nasal discharge
  • facial swelling
  • enlargement of the lymph nodes.



  • Surgery may be difficult due to the location of these tumors. Surgery alone often leads to recurrence.
  • Chemotherapy is very effective for TVTs. The prognosis for complete remission with chemotherapy is excellent.
  • Due to the high cost of chemotherapy treatment it may be necessary to humanly euthanize the animal


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