Soft tissue sarcomas are derived from tissues of mesenchymal origin. Although local recurrence following surgical resection is the characteristic challenge in their management, 40% dogs with high-grade tumours may also develop metastatic disease, despite successful local control. Soft tissue sarcoma is a complex disease and there are many uncertainties regarding the biology and optimal clinical management. There are currently no diagnostic tests that can reliably predict the amount of surgical margin required for a particular tumour, so there can be a mismatch between treatment and disease. Historically, the tendency has been to always recommend wide excision margins but this is not fully supported by recent evidence. A selection bias for less aggressive soft tissue sarcomas in primary care practice can account for good outcomes that are achieved despite narrow surgical excision margins. On the other hand, inappropriately conservative treatment will adversely affect outcomes for patients with more aggressive disease. This review provides an update on the current understanding of management of canine soft tissue sarcomas.
© 2016 British Small Animal Veterinary Association.