Canine Colon Cancer Symptoms

Canine colon cancer symptoms are very similar to symptoms produced by other conditions or diseases in dogs. When these symptoms are discovered, it's very important to begin monitoring for frequent recurrence, decline of general behavior and worsening of symptoms. There is no cure for canine colon cancer, and while some dogs may respond favorably to one or more treatment options, this disease is almost always fatal.

Canine Colon Cancer

There are two common types of canine colon cancer. Adenocarcinoma is diagnosed when one or more tumors grow from the apocrine glands, which are present on either side of the rectum. When the lymph nodes or lymphoid tissues in the gastrointestinal tract are affected, this is referred to as lymphoma or lymphosarcoma. There are many treatment options, and success rates will depend on stages of the disease, overall dog health and response to individual treatment.

The Colon

The colon is another name for the large intestine, sometimes referred to as the lower intestine. The lower intestine has the job of collecting any fibers and waste products not digested by the small intestine to be used by the body. When this matter enters the colon, one of three things happens. It is either absorbed as water for use by the body, stored as a waste product to be eliminated via stool or broken down for further digestion. Healthy bacteria in this region create certain chemicals that the body uses to nourish the cells of the colon and maintain pH levels, which prevent toxins from being reabsorbed by the body. When this process is interrupted, due to colon cancer or other gastrointestinal deficiencies, certain symptoms will persist and affect the overall health of your dog.

Canine Colon Cancer Symptoms

Canine colon cancer exhibits symptoms which are very similar to irritable bowel syndrome and colitis. While either of these conditions can lead to colon cancer, or be present because of it, a full examination may be warranted.

  • Constipation or struggle to pass feces may be one of the first signs.
  • Blood or mucus may be present in the stool, and urination could be frequent due to increased thirst.
  • When the digestive process is interrupted due to gastrointestinal problems associated with colon cancer, a dog who seems to be healthy with no change in eating habits, could begin to experience vomiting and weight loss. This is due to the loss of nutrients and vitamins as food is not digested properly.
  • Colon cancer can also lead to hair loss, skin rash, behavioral changes, high fever and muscle weakness.

Diagnosis of Canine Colon Cancer

Determination of the presence of canine colon cancer should be made immediately upon discovery of possible symptoms. Abdominal x-rays and urinalysis may initially be performed. The veterinarian may also take blood tests, such as a complete blood count or serum biochemistry, to determine the exact cause of the symptoms. If canine colon cancer is suspected, a colonoscopy or biopsy may be necessary to pinpoint an exact diagnosis.