Canine Bladder Cancer Prognosis

Bladder cancer can affect dogs of all ages, but it is more frequent in senior dogs. The cancer may manifest through symptoms such as painful urination, blood in the urine or frequent secondary infections. The bladder cancer prognosis is variable and will depend on a number of factors. The dog may be totally cured if the tumor is removed and doesn't grow back, but it may also happen that the dog lives less than six weeks.

Factors Influencing Bladder Cancer Prognosis

The prognosis for dogs affected by bladder cancer will depend on a few essential factors:

  • The stage of the cancer
  • The type of treatment applied
  • The response to the treatment

A dog with bladder cancer can live between six weeks and two years. In the best case scenario, if surgery is possible and the cancer is totally removed and never grows back, the dog can have a normal life expectancy.

Stage of Cancer

Bladder cancer can be detected from the early stages if the dog displays symptoms. If this is done and treatment is applied, the chances of survival for the dog will be increased. If the bladder cancer is in an intermediate stage, the dog may still have high chances of survival, provided surgery is possible. When the cancer is more advanced and has already involved other organs, the prognosis is poor. The bladder cancer can metastize to the lungs or lymph nodes within six weeks. Detecting the tumor as early as possible is vital, so make sure you keep an eye on your pet's elimination habits and seek help if you find anything that is out of the ordinary.

Treatment Applied

The type of treatment applied may also influence the prognosis of dog bladder cancer. There are a few possible bladder cancer treatments:

  • Surgery and the removal of the tumor and neighboring cells. Surgery is not always an option, as the tumor may be in an advanced stage or have a location which makes the surgery unsafe. However, if the tumor is fully removed and no cancerous cells come back, the dog can lead a normal life.
  • Chemotherapy can be given if surgery is not possible, or it can be done after the surgery. The drugs will slow down the development of the cancerous cells. If used in conjunction with surgery, the prognosis can be favorable. If used without any other supplementary treatments, the chemo can only delay the advancement of the disease, which will eventually spread (this may take up to two years).
  • Radiation treatment, which can reduce pain but will not change the dog's life expectancy.
  • Corticosteroids such as prednisone can be used in dogs with bladder cancer, but these will not improve the prognosis; they will only improve the dog's life quality.

Response to Treatment

The way the dog responds to the treatment cannot be controlled. Some dogs may recover completely after surgery. Others may experience new tumors, located in the bladder or in other areas of the body. Dogs will respond differently to chemotherapy. Some dogs may show great improvement, while others won't.