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Bladder Cancer in Dog

"Bladder Cancer in dog is a relatively uncommoncondition, but whenever it occurs surely causes obstructive uropathy which is a blockage in the urinary tract. It can also cause secondary bacterial infections that can cause the condition to worsen. Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of dog bladder cancer, but it is possible that other benign and malignant forms too occur as well. Clinically, symptoms of bladder cancer usually resemble a urinary tract infection. When repeated attempts at treatment cannot clear what is thought at the time to be an infection, then a veterinarian will explore further using advanced techniques such as biopsy and radiography to determine if bladder cancer is the underlying cause of the dog's condition. Surgical elimination of tumors is the preferred treatment plan but is not effective if the cancer has metastasized, which means that it has spread. Chemotherapy on the other hand is effective, but hasn't been recognized as an approved therapy. The prognosis depends upon the type, location and stage of cancer; collectivelyit is termed, “Poor”."

Types of Bladder Cancer in Dog:

Many researchers believe that dog bladder canceris a relativelyuncommon condition. Whenever it occurs, it does not remain restrictedto the urinary bladder only, but it affects almost all parts of thelowerurinary tract including the urinary tube, urethra and surrounding areas.

Malignant or fast growing forms of canine bladdercancer are more frequently found vs.benign or slower growing forms.

Transitional cell carcinomas are the most commontype ofbladder cancer. These may occur either as a single mass on the innersurface of the bladder or as several papillary like projections.Transitional cell carcinomas originate from mucosa and with timediffuse into deeper tissues and which results in an infiltration ofother parts ofthe lower urinary tract.

Metastasis (spreading of the cancer) is a commonphenomenon forcarcinomas, with cancer frequently moving to associated lymph nodes andthe lungs.Along with transitional cell carcinomas, other types of bladder cancerin dog are squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcomas, adenocarcinomas,rhabdomyosarcomas and osteosarcomas. These may also occur as secondarybladdercancers, which means the cancer spread from another area of the body tothe bladder.

Clinical Symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Dog:

Dog bladder cancer causes severe uropathy (urinarytract disorders) and commonly, intractable secondarybacterial infections. Thus the clinical symptoms resemblea urinary tract infection.

The most canine bladder cancer common symptomsinclude painful urination, difficult urination andblood mixed in the urine. An owner might observe a change in thepattern of urination. Urination may become more frequent, but with areduced volume every timethe dog urinates. If a secondary bacterial infection has taken hold,then mucous will be mixed into the dog's urine.

An obstruction in the urinary bladder is one ofthe most common symptoms caused bycancerous masses. The urinary bladder may become enlarged and uremia(when urinary waste products are found in the blood) then may becomemore common. Dogs will experience severe abdominal pain, withconditionsbecoming more complicated if secondary bacteria invades the bladder.

Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer in Dog:

Symptoms and a dog's history can suggest thepresence of a dog urinary tract disease, but it isnever possible to confirm bladder cancer in dog clinically, fromsymptoms alone. The recurrenceof clinical symptoms after repeated symptomatic therapies and thepresence of severeabdominal pain associated with urinary tract problems should besuspected for a possible cancerous development.

A detailed urinalysis and the use of advanced techniques such as abiopsy can help when confirming the presence of disease.An examination of the urine can confirm the presence of canceroustissues in the urine. Secondarily intractable bacterial infections canalsosuggest possible cancerous development.

A cysourethrogram, urethrogram or ultrasonographycan help inestimating the size, anatomical and morphological changes in a canineurinarybladder. Moreover, metastasis or the spread of the canine cancer isusually estimated throughthe use of radiography.

Treatment of Bladder Cancer in Dog:

If possible, surgical removal of any tumors orcancerous tissues is the mosteffective mode of treatment. It is very important that the location andseverity of cancerous development should be confirmed prior toundergoing anoperation. Transitional cell carcinomas usually occur at the part ofthe canine bladder called the trigone ofthe bladder.

Chemotherapy on the other hand using drugs such ascisplatin and piroxicam can beeffective and can prolong the life of affected dogs, and those in whichmetastasis has occurred, although this approach has not been identifiedas a prioritizedand approved treatment option for bladder cancer in dog.

Natural remedies and drugs used for symptomatictreatments areeffective only if cancerous tissues have been eliminated. In case, adog with bladder cancer is incurable, chemotherapeutics and naturalremedies which contain anti-oxidants such as C-Caps Formula, can help in onlyimproving the quality of life and provide some help in prolonging thelifespan of the dog. Other natural remedies such as UTI-Free Formula, can provideadded bladder support, especially in dogs with severe symptoms.

Due to the metastasis or potential of the cancerto spread, and the recurrence of cancerous tissues, the prognosis fordogs with bladder cancer is “Poor”.

References:

MerckVeterinary Manual (Merck & Co. 2008)

R. K. Sharma, et all. Pathology of Cancer (SudhantPress, India. 2005)

Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Morrison, Wallace B. “Cancer in Dogs and Cats” –1998

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