Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer In Dogs
Bladder cancer in dogs can be somewhat tricky to diagnose since the most common symptoms of the disease mimic those of other urinary tract conditions such as stones or infections. If your pup has developed bladder cancer you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Urinating small amounts very frequently
- Difficulty urinating
- Discolored or bloody urine, or
- Persistent urinary tract infections that are resistant to treatment
In later stages of bladder cancer some dogs experience lameness do to the cancer spreading to the dog’s bones or lungs.
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms listed above it is important to seek veterinary care for your pet. The symptoms of bladder cancer may be caused by a number serious conditions that require treatment.
Diagnosis Of Bladder Cancer
It’s important to visit the veterinarian at the first sign of urinary problems in your dog. Even simple urinary tract infections can become serious if left untreated. Because bladder cancer signs are similar to those of UTIs, it’s important to involve a veterinarian so the proper diagnostic tests can be performed.
Your veterinarian will recommend diagnostic tests after discussing your dog’s history and performing a physical examination. This typically begins with a urinalysis to evaluate the urine. Blood tests may be recommended to evaluate blood cells and organ function. Abdominal radiographs and ultrasound may be performed to visualize the bladder and surrounding organs.
After diagnosing bladder cancer, staging may be recommended to determine if cancer has metastasized . Staging typically includes diagnostic imaging of the chest and abdomen to look for evidence of cancer in the lungs or other organs. A CT scan or MRI may be recommended at this point.
What Is The Prognosis For Bladder Cancer In Dogs
As with any disease, the prognosis is dependent on the extent of the disease, its location and the treatment chosen.
With surgical intervention, an attempt is made to remove as much of the tumor as possible to increase survival time.
Chemotherapy, in addition to surgery, often further improves survival times. Chemotherapy alone may also have benefits.
Palliative treatments like laser ablation , radiation therapy, and urethral stenting can all help improve a pets quality of life.
With appropriate treatment, many dogs with bladder cancer will survive for 6-12 months after diagnosis.
It is important to recognize that with time, transitional cell carcinoma is almost invariably fatal.
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Bladder Cancer In Dogs: A Guide To Transitional Cell Carcinoma
Dr. Julie Buzby
Hearing a diagnosis of bladder cancer in dogs can be distressing as a dog parent, but integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby is here to help. Learn the signs, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis for the most common type of bladder cancer, transitional cell carcinoma in dogs. Armed with that information, you will be ready to help and support your canine companion in his or her battle with bladder cancer.
Sally was a twelve-year-old female spayed Scottish Terrier who had been the picture of health. But now she was asking to go outside more often, straining to urinate, and had left a large puddle of bloody urine on the kitchen floor. Her family was worried, so they brought her to see me.
I diagnosed my Scottie patient with what I thought was going to be a run-of-the-mill urinary tract infection. However, unlike most UTIs that significantly improve within a few days of starting antibiotics, Sallys problems persisted. After a urine culture, which ruled out ongoing bacterial infection, I moved on to a bladder ultrasound to try to get to the root of my canine patients problem.
Unfortunately, the ultrasound revealed a large mass in the dogs bladder that extended down into the urethra. So I had to break the devastating news to her familytheir dog had bladder cancer.
When To Euthanize A Dog With Brain Tumors
With or without treatment, many dog parents still have to decide when its time to euthanize their dog with a brain tumor. No treatment is a cure, and the disease often progresses to the point where a puppys quality of life is severely declined. Even after seeing how detrimental a brain tumor can be to a dog, its still hard to know when euthanasia is the best option. Here are some signs that its time to think about end-of-life care for your dog.
Along with that goes endangerment to themselves. If a dog develops dementia due to a brain tumor, it may be at risk of hurting itself. For example, a dog with a brain tumor may wander out into traffic because they dont remember that its a danger. If youve noticed your dogs quality of life significantly decrease, you should always consult a veterinarian about euthanasia options.
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Symptoms Of Dogs With Cancer
Cancer in dogs is difficult to identify because they can occur in any part of the body. Its symptoms are diverse and many symptoms overlap with other diseases. The best thing for you to do is giving your pet comes to the veterinary clinic to be diagnosed correctly by the doctor. There are many types of cancers that occur in dogs: benign, malignant, etc. The cancer may develop slowly or unexpectedly, so you dont need to be worried too much.
What Are The Types Of Bladder Cancer In Dogs
The term bladder cancer refers to any sort of cancer that grows in the urinary bladder.
Of the different types of lower urinary system cancers in dogs, transitional cell carcinoma is by far the most common. It accounts for up to 90% of all bladder tumors.
The other 10% consist of many other types of tumors, including:
- Infiltrative prostatic carcinoma
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What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Dog With A Mast Cell Tumor
How long can a dog live with a mast cell tumor? Mast cell tumors in dogs have different grades, or levels of severity, and the life expectancy can vary from as little as a few months in a Grade III tumor, to years with a Grade I tumor.
It is very hopeful if the tumor is small, easy to remove, and cancerous cells havent spread far away from the tumor . For Grade III tumors that have spread to other areas, life expectancy is often short with or without surgery, even following treatment such as chemotherapy, or radiation.
Dogs who have been diagnosed with a mast cell tumor are at a high risk for recurrence, meaning even if the cancerous cells have been removed, you should always be on the lookout for more tumors in the future!
When a mast cell tumor on the skin is bumped, moved, or agitated, this can cause the chemicals inside to be released and spread throughout the body, causing problems for your pup. So try not to feel it, and discourage your dog from licking, biting, or scratching it to reduce the chances of this happening.
The traditional treatments recommended by your vet most likely will include surgery, and possible radiation and chemotherapy as follow-up, depending on your pups specific circumstances.
For a mast cell tumor removal in your dog, the cost can range from $500-$1000, depending on your location, options, and other factors.
Urinary Bladder Cancer In Dogs A Naturally Occurring Model For Cancer Biology And Drug Development
Deborah W. Knapp, MS, DVM, is a professor of comparative oncology and a director of the Purdue Comparative Oncology Program at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and a co-program leader in the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research in West Lafayette, Indiana. José A. Ramos-Vara, DVM, PhD, is a professor of comparative pathobiology at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Indiana. George E. Moore, DVM, PhD, is a professor of epidemiology and director of the Clinical Trials Program at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Indiana. Deepika Dhawan, PhD, is a research scientist in cancer biology at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Indiana. Patty L. Bonney, BS, RVT, is a clinical trials coordinator and program associate at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Indiana. Kirsten E. Young, BS, has previously worked in the Knapp laboratory and is currently a veterinary student at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Indiana.
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About Thyroid Cancer In Dogs
Thyroid cancer is considered rare in dogs and its still entirely known what causes it. It occurs when an abnormal cell forms in the thyroid gland, which creates more cells that are abnormal. The cells grow quickly and take over the normal cells, eventually blocking the thyroid gland from working properly.
The most common form of thyroid disease in dogs is lymphocytic thyroiditis.
This condition causes a dog to produce too many thyroid hormones. It can cause weight gain, irritability, thickening of the skin and coat, hair loss , increased thirst , and increased urination .
While the thyroid gland is essential for all dogs the last thing you want is for it to produce too much of a good thing.
Diagnosis Of Bladder Cancer In Dogs
Diagnosing bladder cancer can be difficult since the symptoms are almost exactly the same as bladder stones or a urinary tract infection. Your veterinarian will begin by taking a full medical history and then performing a physical examination. Your dogs abdomen will be palpated as well as a rectal examination. This will help your veterinarian to determine if there is a mass in the bladder, either a tumor or stones.
Your veterinarian will order x-rays and an ultrasound of the bladder. A biopsy of the tumor will be performed to definitively diagnose bladder cancer. A complete blood count, biochemistry panel and urinalysis will also be performed. An ultrasound of the chest may also be performed to see if the cancer has spread.
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What To Feed A Dog With Bladder Cancer
As a dogs cancer progresses, they often become more fatigued and less interested in eating.
You can try to mitigate these side effects by offering a diet full of easy-to-digest fatty proteins like chicken, turkey, pork, fish and eggs. You can also try adding warm broth or meat juices to the food to increase its smell and flavor.
You can also try giving your dog treats or baby food if they are not able to eat their regular food.
For dogs with extreme loss of appetite, small frequent feedings can help them eat more without feeling overwhelmed. If your pet is having trouble eating, you may want to consider using a syringe or tube feeding method to get the food into their body.
Many veterinarians recommend a homemade diet for dogs with cancer because it is easier to digest, higher in protein and nutrient-dense. If you decide to go this route, make sure your pet has a balanced diet by consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist.
Diagnosing Bladder Cancer In Your Dog
In order to differentiate bladder cancer from other possible causes of urinary tract inflammation in your pooch, your vet will need to run a series of tests. These may include X-rays, urine analysis, CBC/chemistry blood tests, and ultrasound imaging to help pinpoint the possible causes of clinical signs.
Recent advancements in medical technology, including a urine bladder tumor antigen test, may be implemented to diagnose bladder cancer. In the instance that the test results are positive, your vet will run additional tissue biopsy tests and ultrasounds to arrive at a definitive diagnosis, as well as an appropriate form of therapy.
Throughout the course of treatment, your vet may need to repeat such diagnostic tests in order to see if the therapy has been effective or needs to be adjusted. Below, a general summary of tests, diagnostics and treatments your vet may implement:
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What Is A Transitional Cell Carcinoma In Dogs
Since the vast majority of bladder tumors are transitional cell carcinomas, lets take a closer look at this tumor type.
In this case, the tumor arises from transitional cells, which are the specialized cells that normally line the inside of the bladder. When some of these cells become neoplastic , the result is a transitional cell carcinoma. Sometimes a TCC is also called a urothelial carcinoma .
The most common place for a transitional cell carcinoma to occur is in the trigone region of the bladder. This is the area at the neck of the bladder where the ureterswhich connect the kidneys to the bladderenter the bladder and the bladder narrows into the urethra. Unfortunately, a tumor in this area cannot be removed surgically.
Causes Of Bladder Cancer In Dogs
Since bladder cancer in dogs is rare, there has not been enough research conducted to conclusively report the cause of bladder cancer. Researchers do know that there are three dog breeds that seem to be more susceptible to developing bladder cancer: the Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Shetland Sheepdog.
Researchers also know that in the Scottish Terrier, those exposed to certain herbicides were at a higher risk of developing bladder cancer. This research concludes that certain herbicides can cause bladder cancer in dogs.
Other research suggests that genetics also play a role in the development of bladder cancer. This suggests that there is a specific gene that is passed from parent to offspring that predisposes them to bladder cancer.
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Other Signs Of Thyroid Cancer In Dogs Include:
- Facial swelling
- Lump or painless swelling in the neck area
- Bleeding or discharge from the eyes or ears.
In the rare occurrence of hyperthyroidism, the dog may experience a rapid heart rate with an abnormal rhythm. Signs include rapid heart rate and abnormal rhythm.
Dogs with hyperthyroidism will also have increased hunger and thirst. Muscle tremors are also possible.
When To Euthanize A Dog With Bladder Cancer
Regardless of treatment, if the tumor completely blocks the passage of urine, an unpleasant, painful death is imminent within one to two days.
If your dog is struggling to pass urine, humane euthanasia should be considered to alleviate current pain and prevent future suffering.
Other symptoms that can tell you that its time to euthanize your pet include poor appetite, disinterest in drinking, difficulty defecating, withdrawal from family life and a lack of interest in activities that used to bring your dog joy.
Keeping a quality of life diary for dogs with bladder cancer is very helpful.
Every day, rate your dogs ability to eat, drink, urinate and defecate on a scale of one to five. Also give an overall rating for pain control, anxiety, activity and interest family life.
When you notice a sustained, downward trend in one or more of these criteria, have a conversation with your veterinarian to determine if more treatment is available or if its time to consider euthanasia.
© 2011 Home to Heaven, P.C. Content may not be reproduced without written consent from Home to Heaven, P.C. Content updated by Jennifer Coates, DVM 5/2019
Dr. Jennifer Coates
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Survival Times And Dog Cancer
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as the dog cancer vet because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include Ask the Vet segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dogs Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE . He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.
I think there are various aspects to this scenario that deserve attention.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Dog With Thyroid Cancer
The life expectancy of a dog with thyroid cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer, but in general, dogs with thyroid tumors may live anywhere from six months to several years.
Older dogs are generally less likely to survive longer than younger dogs, based on other diseases that may be present. The prognosis is usually better for thyroid tumors that are small and not too invasive.
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Breeds Predisposed To Thyroid Problems
Golden Retrievers are at increased risk of developing two types of canine thyroid cancer: anaplastic thyroid cancer and lymphocytic thyroid cancer. One reasons for a higher prevalence in Golden Retrievers has to do with genetics. Some Golden Retrievers may have a higher concentration of thyroid cells due to a mutated gene.
Its important to note that while environmental exposures may play a role, it doesnt mean they are responsible for all cases related to Golden retrievers. About half of these dogs wont develop any tumors at all during their lifetime.
Half of all thyroid cancers in dogs are diagnosed in the following breeds:
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Standard Poodles
- Mixed-Breed Dogs
Although these dogs may be more likely to develop thyroid cancer, it can occur in any breed.