Getting panic, or sad is a common gesture when your lovable pet is hurt because of you, anyone else, or by itself. You can’t blame anyone but yourself, your heart aches for it. And the word ‘cancer’ literally feels like someone is pricking a needle in the heart, be the victim is human or your pet.
I am here to tell you about the bladder cancer in dogs, this disease isn’t found much in felines, but many canines are prone to it. Before getting to a conclusion or anything, you do need to check this article out.
There are chances your dog is already diagnosed with bladder cancer, or you are suspecting it and that is why you are here. Also, you might be looking for answers only, whatever it is after completing this article, there will be no stone left unturned about the bladder infections in dogs.
Keep your heart clenched, eyes focused, and mind working. This article may trigger all the emotions. Without further ado, let’s get already on it.
What is Bladder Cancer in Dogs?
First, you need to understand bladder cancer in dogs. Bladder cancer is also known as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) and urothelial carcinoma (UC). It is a tumor that starts off in the urinary tract and can metastasize (spread) to the other parts of the body such as lungs, bone, kidney, liver, lymph, nodes, and other organs of the body.
As it is related to the urinary tract and occurs there first, it is often mistaken as a urinary infection. A thorough check-up is needed to know exactly what it is! Not all the breeds are prone to a bladder infection, but there are specific breeds (which I will discuss in a later section).
As compared to usual cancers, bladder cancer is very rare, but still, among 70 million pet dogs in the US, around 1000 dogs suffer from this infection. There was a time when this disease was incurable, but now with the advancement of technology and medicines available for canines, it’s treatment is possible.
Which Breeds are Prone to Bladder Cancer?
As I said earlier, not all canines are prone to bladder cancer, here is the list of breeds that are highly at risk for this cancer:
- Scottish Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
- Wire Fox Terrier
- American Eskimo Dog
- Shetland Sheepdog
And here is the list of dogs that are also at risk (but not that much):
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Lhasa Apso
- Bichon Frise
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collie
- Parson Russell Terrier
- Rat Terrier
- Russell Terrier
Though the actual reasons for this are not known, in an article related to this in AKC the Dr.Theresa Arteaga (Animal Cancer Center of Monterey) said, researchers have discovered the correlation between obesity, pesticides, and bladder cancer, resulting in the risk in these breeds.
What are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Dogs?
Now you know, what is bladder cancer in dogs, but how will you recognize it? Here are a few clinical symptoms that will tell you whether your pooch is suffering from cancer.
- Frequent urine accidents in the place
- Difficulty in urinating
- Blood in urine
- Uncertain urinating
- Urgency but less urine
These are the symptoms that might tell you the scene, but these are also similar to urinary infection. If the symptoms disappear with the help of dog UTI treatment and your pooch is feeling all well, then there’s nothing to worry about.
However, if there’s re-emergence of the same situation, then it is an alarming situation. You should seek the doctor’s advice and get the testing done.
How to Diagnose Bladder Cancer (TCC/UC) in Dogs?
You can just recognize, but for perfect diagnosis, you will have to get the testing done (as recommended above). Being a pet owner, it is your responsibility to act sensible and practical. Here we have mentioned a few diagnostic methods for TCC in canines.
This test examines the cancer cell available in the urine of the pet with bladder cancer. Though a similar type of cell can form when there is a urinary tract infection (UTI). Urinalysis checks for the secondary infections in the bladder because of tumors and help in evaluating them.
With the help of cystoscopy, the veterinarian will collect the samples from the bladder for biopsy, which will be sent to the pathologist for further examination. In cystoscopy, the vet will insert the scope through the urethra, into the bladder and will collect the samples. During the test, your pet will be given anesthesia.
I must say this is the best and less-pain type of diagnosis. In this diagnosis, the doctor will not only catch the presence of the bladder cancer but will also recognize up to what stage it can go. The term ‘BRAF‘ is the name of a gene that is present in the affected dogs and has a single mutation indicating TCC.
Here the doctor will collect the urine sample (30-40ml) and will keep it under observation for several days. During this time, they will let the cancer cells evaluate in the laboratory. It is recommended to get this test done every four to six weeks for the dogs who are at risk.
What is the Treatment of Bladder Cancer in Dogs?
Gone are the times when TCC was an incurable disease, now it is treatable. Still, cancer is deadly, so it is better to get it diagnosed as early as possible, so get your pooch check as advised.
Here are the treatments that your vet will recommend for your furry ball. The sole purpose of the treatment is to increase the healthy and prosperous lifeline of the dog.
Chemotherapy + NSAID
Most of the veterinarians believe the treatment of chemotherapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) combined is more effective. The alone chemotherapy agents like Mitoxantrone, Carboplatin, Adriamycin, Vinblastine, and others have made a remarkable remission of 20%. Also, the treatment with NSAIDs has the same effect. Hence, together they make the best combination of treatment, giving 40-50% of the result.
Some pets may see a significant change in radiation therapy, sometimes greater than chemo, but it does have a side effect. Common side effects include moist eczema, itching, and hair loss, which may side after a week of radiation therapy.
Here the vet will insert the sophisticated machine, which will send ionizing effects to the affected cells and will eliminate them. All this will be done after giving your pooch anesthesia.
The recommendation of surgery from my side is a big No. Why? Due to its risk and recurrence of the tumor cells within a year after the surgery. However, if there is no spread of the tumor cell in any other organ and is away from the neck of the bladder and urethra, you can go for the surgical treatment. Ask your vet for an ideal solution!
How long can a dog live with the TCC?
The most common asked question is about the aggressiveness of TCC, to be honest with proper treatment and care, the life of a dog can be extended up to 1 or 1.5 years and without treatment, it will live only for 4-6 months.
Can you Prevent the Bladder Cancer in Dogs?
The above question is normal to pop-up in your mind if your pooch is in the section with lower risk. There’s no human being who doesn’t love his companion, who has been with him when no one else was!
There are no definitive measures to prevent bladder cancer. However, if you want to do your part in protecting the furry ball, make sure it is not exposed to insecticides, herbicides, and secondhand smoke.
Always feed him healthy vegetables and fruits, and ask the doctor for the dietary plan. To prevent bladder infection in dogs, one should have a close look at its exercise, weight management, low stress, and proper dental routine.
This is all you need to know about the bladder cancer in dogs, here I penned down all the information including, its treatment and prevention measures. Every vet recommends taking up a pet from the genuine breeder. I recommend you to ask the breeder about its genetic parents and their health history, whether they had TCC or not.
The dogs who are prone to TCC/UC experiences bacterial infections in the bladder, see the doctor as soon as you catch any symptom of it. Get all the tests done to make sure it is safe. For more information on the disease and its diagnosis & treatment, visit Petsnurturing.