Diagnosing Urinary Bladder Cancer in Dogs

Urinary bladder cancer in dogs may be frequently met in older dogs, and the precise causes of this condition haven't been determined yet. The bladder cancer should be detected as early as possible, so that the dog has increased chances of survival and several treatment options. The diagnostics of urinary bladder cancer can be done based on the symptoms displayed by the pet and several other clinical tests.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer usually has a silent development and there will be no symptoms during the initial stages. However, as the cancer progresses, the dog may start showing a few symptoms that include:

  • Painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Foul urine smell
  • Changes in the patterns of urination (more frequent)
  • Licking of genitals, which can be due to the pain
  • No urination for more than 24 hours, if the tumor blocks the urethra
  • Lethargy
  • Hiding behavior

These symptoms can also point to a urinary infection, so the vet may prescribe some antibiotics. If the dog has bladder cancer, he will not respond to this medication and the symptoms will worsen in time. You should always notice any unusual behavior in your pet.

Urine Test

A urine test can give some hints about the presence of a tumor or cancerous cells in the urinary bladder. The vet will analyze a urine sample and determine if there are other abnormalities in the dog's system. The urine may also indicate if the dog has an infection.

Complete Blood Count

A complete blood count (CBC) can give a more detailed analysis of the dog's condition. If the dog is affected by a cancer, the blood tests will indicate an increase in white blood cells. The blood tests may also indicate if the cancer is more evolved.

X-Rays and Ultrasounds

The vet will recommend x-rays and/or ultrasounds if he suspects there may be tumors in the dog's body. These tests will reveal the location and size of a tumor. Some tumors may not appear on the radiographs or ultrasounds, but if the vet suspects a tumor he may perform an endoscopy.


An endoscopy is a test that can identify tumors in the dog's system. A tiny filming device will be introduced in the dog's mouth and the vet will view the dog's internal organs on a screen. This test may also help the vet detect whether the tumor is extended in other areas.


After the tumor is identified in the dog's bladder area, the vet will have to perform a biopsy of the cells. A few cell samples will be needed to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant. A cytologist can be consulted to get a clear diagnosis.

An early detection of urinary bladder cancer can be treatable, so it is important to get a diagnosis as soon as you suspect something is wrong.