Causes of Bladder Cancer in Dogs

Causes of bladder cancer in dogs can vary widely. Bladder cancer in canines is the most common type of urinary tract cancer in dogs, and can be a life-threatening situation. Bladder cancer in dogs accounts for about 1 percent of canine cancers. Currently, the most common type of canine bladder cancer is invasive transitional cell carcinoma, otherwise known as TCC. 

The prostate, kidneys, urethra, and urinary bladder are all a part of the urinary tract in dogs. The possibility of cancer developing in any of these areas is present, but cancer of the bladder is by far more common than cancer of any other urinary areas. TCC occurs when a mass or tumor develops in the bladder and causes harm to the bladder wall. This type of cancer can also interfere with the flow of urine. TCC can spread to other organs in the body such as the kidneys, liver, lungs, and prostate. Because canine bladder cancer is often not caught in time, it is usually a fatal diagnoses. 

What Causes Canine Bladder Cancer?

There are various possible causes for canine bladder cancer. Certain carcinogenic medications are known to cause bladder cancer in dogs because they contain harmful chemicals. There is also evidence that suggests that insecticides or other harmful chemicals can lead to this type of canine cancer. 

Female canines are much more likely to develop canine bladder cancer than male dogs. Overweight or big dogs are also more prone to developing this type of cancer. Breeds that are more prone to bladder cancer include Beagles, Scottish Terriers, Wire Hair Fox Terriers, Airedale Terriers and Shetland Sheepdogs. This does not mean that other breeds cannot get bladder cancer, because any breed can become infected. 

Symptoms of Canine Bladder Cancer

The classic signs and symptoms of canine bladder cancer include the following:

  • Bloody urine
  • Strain while urinating
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Involuntary urination
  • Problems breathing

Most of the signs of bladder cancer do not occur until the condition is in the advanced stages, which makes this type of cancer more serious and life-threatening than many others. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. If the condition is caught earlier, the prognosis is always better. 

Diagnosing Bladder Cancer in Dogs

Your veterinarian will perform various tests including x-rays, urine testing, and testing for the classic signs of bladder cancer in dogs. Once the cancer has been officially diagnosed, pet owners will need to follow close instructions to treatment options. 

Treatment Options for Bladder Cancer in Dogs

If the disease has not spread to other organ throughout the body, surgery will be performed to attempt to remove the tumor before it does spread. Even so, there are certain areas of the bladder that cannot be operated on when a tumor is present, and the mass will need to be away from the urethra and bladder neck area. 

If surgery is not an option, radiation is occasionally used to treat this cancer. Most cases of canine bladder cancer are treated with drugs and medications, however. Pain medications may also be recommended.