Kidney Cancer Symptoms in Dogs

Cancer symptoms in dogs vary with different types of cancer. Most of the symptoms are indistinct especially at the onset of the cancer. Kidney cancer in dogs generally affects older pets and is also known as renal neoplasia or renal adenocarcinoma. All breeds of dogs are equally susceptible to renal cancer although such cancer is rare in dogs.

Kidney Cancer in Dogs

There are 2 types of kidney cancer namely, primary and secondary kidney cancer. Primary kidney cancer is one in which the kidney is the primary site of the cancer and generally involves only one kidney. Secondary kidney cancer is one that has originated elsewhere in the dog’s body and has metastasized to the kidney. This type of cancer generally involves both kidneys.

Cancer that has spread to both the kidneys is not curable and supportive care is given to improve the quality of the affected dog’s life and provide relief from suffering. Kidney cancer is generally very aggressive and grows rapidly, spreading to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer in Dogs

At the onset of the cancer, most dogs experience none of the symptoms associated with the disease. As the cancer progresses, symptoms of urinary problems are experienced and the affected pet can succumb to renal failure. Some of the symptoms are mentioned below.

Dog Kidney Cancer and Loss of Appetite

Dogs with kidney cancer may display poor appetite and gradual loss of weight as a result of the lack of appetite. This in turn results in low energy levels, debilitation and lethargy. The pet is unwilling to take part in any physical activity and shows little interest in his immediate environment.

Increased Urination in Dog Kidney Cancer

Frequent urination and passing of large amounts of urine is one of the symptoms of kidney cancer. However, this symptom is also common to several canine diseases and it’s essential for the vet to rule out other diseases before testing for renal cancer. The pet also displays excessive thirst as a result of the excessive urination.

Blood in the Urine

Hematuria or blood in the urine is a sign of a urinary problem. Generally, blood in the urine is due to an infection or the presence of kidney or bladder stones. However, if the presence of blood in the urine continues even after the administration of antibiotics and even if stones are eliminated, further tests should be done to rule out renal cancer. An ultrasound can generally confirm the presence of a tumor in the kidney.

Kidney Failure

Symptoms of kidney failure include:

  • constant thirst
  • increased urination
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • loss of weight
  • hematuria 
  • anemia
  • vomiting
  • depression
  • bloating of the abdomen
  • pain in the back or abdomen
  • the emanation of an ammonia-like odor from the pet’s breath

Dogs that have tumors in only one kidney can survive after the removal of the cancerous kidney as long as the cancer has not metastasized to other parts of the body. If both kidneys are affected by the cancer, supportive care to improve the quality of the pet’s life is the best option as such forms of cancer are incurable.