4 important symptoms of liver cancer in dogs

liver cancer in dogs:

According to American Kennel Club statistics, approximately 2-4 million dogs in the United States are diagnosed with cancer each year. Overall, about one quarter of dogs in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer, resulting in an annual incidence rate of 5300 cases per 100,000 dogs. This rate is significantly higher than that of humans, which is 500 cases per 100,000 people.

Canine liver cancer is a type of tumor that grows on the inner walls of the liver, an organ responsible for detoxifying the body, aiding in digestion, and assisting in blood clotting. Tumors in a dog’s liver are usually benign, while the most common malignant liver tumors originate from cancer that has metastasized from other parts of the body. Primary liver cancer in dogs is rare, although there are several types that can impact dogs, including bile duct cancer, neuroendocrine tumors, and mesenchymal tumors. Hepatocellular carcinoma accounts for over 50% of malignant liver tumors in dogs. Most cases of hepatocellular carcinoma can be treated with surgery, and dogs generally have a good prognosis if the entire tumor is successfully removed.

4 symptoms of liver cancer in dogs
4 symptoms of liver cancer in dogs

Symptoms of liver cancer in dogs include loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, excessive thirst, frequent urination, diarrhea, vomiting with blood, jaundice, ascites, abdominal distension, palpable mass in the abdomen, ulcers, disorientation, strange behavior, personality changes, seizures, or coma.

The causes of liver cancer in dogs are not fully understood, although certain factors may increase the likelihood of a dog developing liver cancer. Age is one of these factors, as liver cancer most commonly occurs in dogs over 9 years old. There may also be genetic factors involved. Exposure to toxins or certain medications can lead to liver damage, directly affecting the liver. Chronic inflammation of the liver may also be a contributing factor.

Treatment for liver cancer in dogs typically involves surgical removal of the tumor. This often depends on the type of tumor formed. Large tumors that form a single mass are most likely to be removed through surgery. Up to 75% of the liver can be removed, and the organ can still function normally. Large tumors are also less likely to metastasize, and dogs with this type of cancer are more likely to recover compared to other types of cancer. Nodular tumors refer to multiple masses appearing within the liver, while diffuse tumors affect the entire liver. These types of cancer are usually not operable, and chemotherapy is often ineffective.

There are several types of cancer drugs used in dogs to treat various types of cancer.

Some common types of cancer drugs used in veterinary medicine include:

  • Chemotherapy drugs: These drugs are commonly used to treat cancer in dogs and work by killing rapidly dividing cancer cells. Some examples of chemotherapy drugs used in pets include doxorubicin, carboplatin, vincristine, and lomustine.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs are sometimes used to treat certain types of cancer in pets, particularly in cases where inflammation plays a role in the development or progression of the cancer.
  • Immunotherapy drugs: Immunotherapy drugs work by stimulating the pet’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Examples of immunotherapy drugs used in dogs include monoclonal antibodies and vaccines.
  • Palliative care drugs: These drugs are used to manage symptoms and improve the quality of life in dogs with cancer. They may include pain medications, anti-nausea drugs, and appetite stimulants.

It is important to note that the use of cancer drugs in dogs should always be supervised by a veterinarian, who can determine the most appropriate treatment based on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the overall health of the dogs.

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