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Canine tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma – a multi-centre retrospective review of 44 clinical cases



Objectives: To review the presenting clinical signs, treatment and survival of dogs with tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma and, if possible, to identify useful prognostic indicators.

Methods: Medical records of 44 dogs were reviewed retrospectively. Clinical signs, clinical stage, time of diagnosis, treatment and outcome were recorded. Data were analysed using the Kaplan-Meier, log-rank, Student's t test, Kruskal-Wallis test and Chi-square/Fisher Exact test as appropriate.

Results: The most frequent clinical signs were cough (12 dogs, 27%), enlarged lymph nodes (11 dogs, 25%) and dysphagia (11 dogs, 25%). Anorexia and lethargy were less common but were significantly associated with a poor outcome. No matter what treatment modalities were used, survival times were short and median survival time for all the dogs in the study was 179 days. However, there were a small number of long-term survivors.

Clinical Significance: Dogs with tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma that suffered anorexia and lethargy had shorter survival times than patients without these clinical signs. Although surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy seem to increase the median survival time of dogs diagnosed with tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma, there is no highly effective treatment for canine tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma.