Symptoms of Gastric Adenocarcinoma (Stomach Cancer) in Dogs

The gastric adenocarcinoma is a malignant tumor that forms in the stomach and may affect canines; typically, dogs affected by stomach cancer are older and there are certain breeds that are more prone to developing this condition. The causes of stomach cancer are not precisely known, but gastric adenocarcinoma has been associated with exposure to smoke, poor quality food and obesity. Canine stomach cancer is a very aggressive form of cancer and may be fatal. The symptoms of gastric adenocarcinoma may be very subtle in the early stages of the disease, so early detection is rarely made.

Early Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

The dog affected by gastric adenocarcinoma may not show any symptoms of the disease. The disease may cause stomach pain and discomfort, but the dog may hide this.

In some cases, the dog may show signs such as:

  • Vomiting, sometimes blood or undigested or food that is not properly chewed
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Problems with swallowing food

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

After the gastric adenocarcinoma starts developing and affects larger parts of the stomach, the dog may show more obvious signs of the disease:

  • Frequent vomiting, even blood
  • Excessive salivation
  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea, may contain blood or be tarry, which is actually digested blood
  • Lethargy, lack of activity
  • Poor condition of skin and coat, which may be due to the fact that the dog vomits and the nutrients are not properly absorbed and the dog is deprived of these nutrients
  • Depression
  • Dehydration

These symptoms may not necessarily point to stomach cancer, as they may indicate parasites, a stomach ulcer or other problems; you shouldn't treat these symptoms with over the counter medication. You should get help from a vet, as gastric adenocarcinoma is a severe condition. Even if the dog is not affected by stomach cancer, it is best that you get a clear diagnosis.

Diagnosis of Gastric Adenocarcinoma

The diagnosis of gastric adenocarcinoma will be made based on the symptoms displayed by the dog, his history and by running a few tests. Blood tests may rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms.

The vet may opt for an ultrasound to detect if a tumor is present.

Ultimately, the vet needs to perform a biopsy of the stomach tissue to determine if the cells in the stomach are cancerous. This test may be performed with a thin tube that is inserted in the stomach of the dog; this tube is also known as an endoscope.

The vet should establish if the stomach cancer has spread to other organs.

Gastric Adenocarcinoma Treatment

Gastric adenocarcinoma may have treatment options that depend on the stage of the cancer; if the condition is detected early, full recovery may be possible. However, the stomach is a large organ and if this is affected, it may not be possible to remove the tumor.

The treatment may consist of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.