DOG BLADDER CANCER - It’s one of those dreaded things that usually doesn’t come with a warning that things are about to become worse for your pooch!
Even the thought of pain and suffering caused due to the disease sends chills down the spine. Through this post, we will help you understand the illness including what causes it, common symptoms and the best treatment to help your pooch.
What Is Canine Bladder Cancer?
Dog bladder cancer is a tumor of cells that line the bladder, an organ that collects urine exerted by the kidneys. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, approximately 2% of all the malignancies in dogs can be attributed to bladder cancer. The condition has a poor prognosis as it tends to show symptoms at late stages.
Types of Dog Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is of two types, TCC (transitional cell carcinoma) and UC (Urothelial Carcinoma, with TCC being the common one.
Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC):
TCC is an aggressive and malignant form of cancer that attacks ureters or urethra of a dog. It invades the dog’s ureter thereby hindering the urinary tract and obstructing the normal urine flow. Straining to urinate, frequent urination of small amount, wetting on the floor, blood in the urine are some of the most common symptoms of the TCC.
Transitional Cell Carcinoma originates from transitional epithelial cells, which line the internal parts of the urinary tract. These cells grow within the lumen of the bladder or urethra and can easily spread to the lymph nodes and other body parts. The environmental exposure of your pet and his genetic predisposition tend to cause TCC.
Intestinal cancer (IC):
Adenocarcinoma or intestinal tumor originates from the glandular and epithelial organs of the dog. Cancer also affects other parts of the body including gastrointestinal system (stomach, small and large intestine and rectum) of the canine. Some of the common symptoms of this cancer are:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting of blood
- Black color feces
- Bright red feces
- Urgent defecation
Some Other Less-Common Types Of Cancer In Dogs Are
Leiomyosarcomas usually occur in older dogs. It is characterized by a tumor that occurs in the form of smooth muscle cells and resides in the stomach or at small intestines. Unlike other tumors, Leiomyosarcomas metastasizes at a slower rate but it also affects other organs like liver or spleen.
It’s a slow growing, cancerous tumor which occurs in the connective tissues of the skin as well as under the skin. Although, these tumors can be removed easily with surgery, they have a tendency to reoccur after some time.
What Causes Bladder Cancer In Dogs?
The exact bladder cancer causes are vague. However, factors like environmental aspect, exposure to second-hand smoke, obesity and genetic conditions are most found to be the most common causes of bladder cancer in dogs.
Some other causes that lead to its development are:
Drugs like cyclophosphamide and its metabolized carcinogenic chemical called acrolein are known to cause bladder cancer. So, if you are treating your pooch with these medicines, pay attention!
Dogs bladder cancer is more common in breeds like Scottish terriers, beagles, Shetland sheepdogs, west highland white terriers and wirehaired fox terriers.
Chemicals found in mosquito sprays, flea and tick dips, lawn insecticidal sprays, etc. increases the risk of canine bladder cancer.
Obesity is another factor responsible for bladder cancer in dogs.
Female dogs are more prone to bladder cancers than the male dogs. Since female dogs do not urinate as frequently as male dogs, it increases the risk of developing carcinogens in the urine leading to cancer.
Common Canine Bladder Cancer Symptoms
- Painful or bloody urination
- Breathing problems
- Abdominal pain
- Urgent need of urination with little to no drop or urine passing
- Straining during pee
- Urinary incontinence
- Frequent coughing and vomiting
- Poor appetite
Stages of Bladder Cancer:
Bladder cancer occurs in stages from 0 to 4. The stage with 0-1 is the initial stage where the tumor just starts out. Since it is the primary stage, the dog will show negligible symptoms.
At stage 2 and 3, cancer grows to some extent and starts invading the bladder. At this stage, you will witness that your dog is having trouble urinating.
The last stage is when the tumor has begun attacking other organs of the body. Since it’s the last stage, it becomes difficult to treat cancer at this stage.
Which Breeds Are Predisposed To Bladder Cancer?
As per a study, the Scottish terriers that are exposed to herbicides are at high risk of developing bladder cancer.
While Rottweilers are very powerful, they are one of those dogs who are more likely to have major health issues. Besides having high cancer rate, Rottweiler can also have hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and gastric torsion.
Beagles are also prone to bladder cancer. Some of the symptoms beagles show with bladder cancer is blood in the urine, painful and frequent urination.
Great Dane is popular for its hunting skills, large size, and graceful appearance. However, these dogs are vulnerable to health issues like bladder cancer, cardiomyopathy, osteosarcoma and gastric torsion.
Treatment for Canine Bladder
Bladder cancer in dogs proliferates quickly and is often diagnosed at the advanced stage. So, if your pooch is suffering from it, the vet may propose to you the following treatments:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy in combination with oral-inflammatory medications has proven to be effective in treating the dog.
- Radiation therapy: This treatment is more effective than chemo, but you must understand all the pros and cons of radiotherapy for your pooch before opting for it.
- Surgery: Surgery is helpful if the tumor is easy to locate.
- Cryotherapy: This technique uses freezing liquid or instrument that will destroy the affected cells that need to be removed from the dog.
Just like humans, dogs also need regular health care to have a happy life. But if you find something is not right, take your pet to the vet.