Colon Cancer in Dogs

Cancer in dogs can be an unbearable diagnosis to think about. Fortunately some cancers, like colon cancer, are very rare in dogs. However, colon cancer is serious and can have a poor prognosis.

Colon Cancer in Dogs Explained

There are two types of colon cancers that can affect dogs: lymphoma and adenocarcinoma. Lymphoma in a dog will affect the lymphoid tissue in the intestinal tract. An adenocarcinoma will cause a tumor growth within the apocrine glands in a dog, which are located near the rectum. Cancerous tumors can form small polyps that can get up to 3 cm in size. Polyps that are adenomatous can become cancerous.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer in Dogs

A dog with colon cancer will develop diarrhea and will vomit. As a result, he will lose weight, have a decrease in appetite, and can quickly become dehydrated. Weight loss can be attributed to a dog's inability to process food and absorb its nutrients, the loss of fluids, and damage to the intestinal wall because of an infection. Mucous or blood can be found in a dog's stool from gastrointestinal bleeding, and it may be hard for a dog to eliminate waste from his system from being constipated.

The energy levels of a dog with colon cancer will decrease as his thirst and urine output increase. Overall weakness, rashes, fevers and hair loss are also common symptoms of colon cancer in dogs. Personality changes may also accompany the symptoms mentioned.

Diagnosing Colon Cancer in Dogs

A veterinarian, after completing a history of the dog's symptoms and a physical exam, will feel or palpitate the dog's abdomen and order blood samples from the dog to be evaluated to start. The blood tests will search for specific properties and will evaluate the blood's biochemistry. A urinalysis and stool sample will be evaluated to see if there are any co-occurring or secondary illnesses. If deemed necessary, liquid from within the tumor will be drawn out with a syringe and examined.

Further tests will probably be ordered as colitis and irritable bowel syndrome have symptoms that closely resemble canine colon cancer. A veterinarian will most likely take an x-ray image of the dog's abdomen and have an ultrasound conducted to further diagnose the cancer and its type. It is not uncommon for a dog to have to undergo a colonoscopy or biopsy to definitely diagnose colon cancer in a dog.

Treating Colon Cancer in Dogs

A dog with colon cancer will most likely undergo chemotherapy and/or surgery. After surgery, a dog will be placed on a special diet. The prognosis of a dog with colon cancer is dependent upon the type of tumor and if the mass could be removed.

Having a dog with colon cancer is difficult for all parties involved. Knowing information about this rare carcinoma and its symptoms can help a dog owner know when veterinary care should be sought.