Diagnosing Canine Color Cancer

Canine colon cancer is a medical condition that affects senior dogs more frequently than younger dogs, and has been linked to a deficient diet and frequent gastrointestinal problems. Colon cancer may be diagnosed in several stages: the symptoms should be considered first, and then a few tests should be performed to confirm the suspected diagnosis.

Symptoms of Canine Colon Cancer

A dog with colon cancer may have different symptoms ranging from chronic diarrhea to vomiting and lethargy. Other symptoms may include:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Straining to defecate
  • Chronic constipation
  • Unusual color of feces, either tarry black, yellow or light brown
  • Additional symptoms if the cancer has spread and affected other organs. These symptoms may include coughing, if the cancer has affected the lungs.
  • No response to regular constipation or diarrhea medication

Feces Test

The symptoms the dog displays may point to several different gastrointestinal problems, including parasites or infections. A feces sample test can help the vet identify the possible problem. If the feces test does not yield conclusive results, the vet will perform further tests.

Urine Test

A urine test can let the vet know if there are any urinary or intestinal infections that may cause symptoms similar to colon cancer symptoms. Any abnormalities will alter the urine, and the urine test results can be interpreted by the vet.

Blood Tests

A complete blood count (CBC) is typically the following course of action. The blood tests can show if there are any imbalances in the dog's body. If the dog is affected by a colon cancer, there will be more white blood cells and a deficit of red blood cells. Additional abnormal results may be found, depending on how advanced the cancer is.


If the blood tests and the symptoms give the vet reasons to believe there may be a tumor, cyst or polyp in the dog's colon, a colonoscopy will be required. The vet will introduce a small camera in the dog's rectum and will observe the colon and identify possible growths. If there is an unusual growth, this may not necessarily be a tumor or cancer.

X-Rays and Ultrasounds

X-rays and ultrasounds are helpful if the vet has identified a tumor, cyst or polyp in the dog's colon during the colonoscopy test. These tests will show where the tumor is located and whether it has extended to other parts of the dog's body.

The detection and diagnosis of canine colon cancer is a vital step in helping your pet. You should pay attention to your dog's symptoms and behavior. An early detection of colon cancer may increase the dog's chances of survival and if caught early enough, colon cancer is still operable.