What’s in a name?

TVTs are also known as:

• Canine transmissible venereal sarcoma (CTVS)

• Canine transmissible venereal tumors (CTVTs)

• Infectious sarcoma

• Sticker’s sarcoma

• Sticker tumors

Transmission: Direct contact with the tumor (whether by sexual contact, touching, or licking of the original tumor)

Manifestation: This cancer appears as an ugly red mass on the genitalia of affected dogs. (Your veterinarian is best qualified to make the correct diagnosis)

Treatment: Chemotherapy; radiation; or surgery to remove the tumor. Let your veterinarian determine the best course for your dog.

Can I get it from my dog? No, this cancer cannot be transmitted from dogs to other animals or to humans.


· It’s one of four transmissible types of cancer among animals—others include a virus spread among Syrian hamsters and another in Tasmanian Devils.

· TVT is considered the oldest documented animal cancer, estimated to be 11,000 years old and with over 2 million mutations.

· The DNA of the original dog (likely to be a Malamute, say researchers) to carry the disease is present in every infection.

· The Russian veterinarian M. A. Novinsky discovered in 1876 the transmissible nature of this disease in dogs.

· There are cases when the tumor appears to disappear from the dog, and raises its immunity to the disease. But this is actually a bigger reason to take your dog to the vet because you don’t know if it’s in remission or if it can continue to infect other dogs.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s February 2017 issue.