When it comes to cancer in dogs’ urinary systems, bladder cancer is the most common. Today, we’ll delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatments for bladder cancer in dogs as shared by our experienced Plains Veterinary Oncologist.
Dog Breeds with High Rates of Bladder Cancer
While bladder cancer can affect any breed, there seems to be a genetic predisposition associated with the disease, especially in Scottish Terriers. Additionally, other breeds at an increased risk include Shetland sheepdogs, beagles, West Highland terriers, and wire hair fox terriers. It’s worth noting that middle-aged and senior female dogs of these breeds appear to be most vulnerable.
Causes of Bladder Cancer in Dogs
The exact cause of bladder cancer in dogs remains unknown, but there appears to be a connection between genetic predisposition and chronic exposure to common lawn care chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.
Recognizing the Signs
Diagnosing bladder cancer in dogs can be challenging due to its similarity to other urinary tract conditions. Frequently, the symptoms mimic those of stones or infections, making it vital to look out for specific signs. If your furry friend has bladder cancer, you may notice they urinate small amounts frequently, experience difficulty urinating, or have accidents in the house.
Other indicators of bladder cancer include discolored or bloody urine and persistent urinary tract infections that are unresponsive to treatment. In later stages, lameness may occur due to the spread of the disease to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones.
Diagnosing Bladder Cancer
During a routine examination, the veterinarian may suspect bladder cancer if they detect a tumor in the dog’s abdomen. To confirm the diagnosis, various diagnostic tests can be performed.
Prognosis and Available Treatments
Unfortunately, the prognosis for dogs with bladder cancer is not very promising. Dogs who do not receive treatment typically have a life expectancy of about 4-6 months, whereas those receiving treatment can live for an average of 6-12 months.
Treatment options for bladder cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these. While complete surgical removal of the tumor is often not feasible due to its location, partial removal may temporarily alleviate symptoms. Pet parents should be aware, however, that the tumor will eventually regrow.
The CADET Braf Test for Determining Risk
The CADET Braf test helps veterinarians detect a specific gene mutation associated with bladder cancers in dogs. It can be particularly useful in identifying bladder cancer before symptoms become apparent. This test also provides valuable information about the extent of the disease, the most suitable treatment approach, and the dog’s response to chemotherapy treatment.
If your dog belongs to a breed with a higher risk of bladder cancer, don’t hesitate to ask your vet about the CADET Braf test.
Note: The information provided here is for informational purposes only and does not substitute professional veterinary advice. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please schedule an appointment with your vet.
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