Causes of Spleen Cancer in Dogs

Spleen cancer occurs rarely in dogs and the causes of this disease are not entirely known. The spleen is an organ that will store blood and will also supply blood to other organs, while cleaning blood cells as well.

Spleen Tumors in Dogs

Spleen tumors in dogs are rare and can be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors or are masses of cancerous cells. The most frequently met malignant tumor in the spleen in dogs is the hemangiosarcoma. The spleen cancer is aggressive and the dog will have only a few months to live once the tumor starts to spread to other organs.

Older dogs are more likely to develop spleen tumors and certain breeds such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are more exposed.

Causes of Spleen Cancer

The causes of canine cancer are not fully known. The spleen tumor may be genetic, but may also be determined by the dog’s diet of his environment. A toxic environment may facilitate the occurrence of tumors in the dog.

Additional research is necessary to find the causes of spleen cancer, which could make it possible to prevent this condition and possibly find a cure, as the prognosis of dogs with spleen cancer is very poor.

Spleen Cancer Symptoms

Spleen cancer in dogs can manifest through several symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums and mucous membranes
  • Swollen abdomen, in the area where the spleen in located
  • Anemia
  • Hypothermia or low temperature

If the tumor is affected or it ruptures, this can result in internal hemorrhage, which can be deadly. The dog may be in shock or coma and may also experience seizures.

Typically, the symptoms of spleen cancer or the rupture of the tumor are not present until the cancer is in an advanced stage and it has already spread to other organs such as the lungs, liver, bladder or the lymph nodes.

Detecting Spleen Tumors

Due to the absence of symptoms during the early stages, spleen tumor is often detected when it is in metastasis.

A vet exam and a few blood tests, ultrasounds and x- rays can determine if the dog has spleen cancer and how advanced the cancer is.

Treatment and Management

Typically, spleen cancer will cause death in the majority of dogs affected by malignant tumors. This is due to the fact that the tumor is not detected until the late stages, when surgery is no longer an option.

If possible, the spleen will be extracted, but this is not a viable course of treatment if the cancer has spread in the body.

Chemotherapy can be used in dogs with spleen cancer and the medication will stop the development of the malignant cells, however, the treatment cannot eliminate the cancer.

Radiation therapy may also be used.

The dog may live up to 6 months after he’s been diagnosed with spleen cancer, as this type of cancer is very aggressive.