Guide to Canine Kidney Cancer

Table of Contents

Overview | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment


"Canine kidney cancer usually is due to a tumor on one kidney or cancer in both kidneys that has spread from other parts of the body. Treatment options usually involve surgery if only one kidney is involved."


Kidney cancer in dogs are extremely rare. When cancer of the kidneys does occur, it has usually spread there from other parts of the body.

The progression of the disease depends on whether one or both kidneys are affected. A dog could have a tumor on just one kidney, if that is the primary site of the cancer. However, if the cancer has spread from elsewhere in the body, it will probably affect both kidneys.

Symptoms of Canine Kidney Cancer

Some dogs with kidney cancer experience no symptoms, at least at first. As the cancer develops they may begin to experience urinary symptoms, such as increased urination and blood in the urine.

Eventually the dog may go into kidney failure. Symptoms of kidney failure include increased thirst, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, breath that smells like ammonia, weakness, depression, and pain around the kidney area.


Your veterinarian will not check for kidney cancer at first, but check for more common kidney problems like canine kidney stones. He or she will perform a physical exam and do some blood work and a urinalysis.

Your vet will also take x-rays and do an ultrasound of the kidney area. Tumors should show up on these tests. Your vet will then take x-rays of the chest area to see if tumors have spread to the lungs or if other parts of the body are affected.

Your vet may also opt to do a biopsy of the tumor. This is a procedure in which a piece of the tumor is removed and examined to determine if it is cancerous and, if so, what type of cancer it is.

Canine Kidney CancerTreatment

If the cancer is confined to one kidney, and if your dog is otherwise in good health, a nephrectomy (removal of the kidney) can be performed. Your dog can live with just one kidney.

If cancer has spread beyond the kidneys and a nephrectomy is not an option, supportive care will be given. The job of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood. When they don't work properly, toxins build up in the body. Part of supportive care will involve subcutaneous or IV fluids to help remove toxins from the body. Steroids or blood transfusions may be given to treat anemia. Sodium bicarbonate may be given to help regulate pH levels in the blood. Survival time will depend on how quickly the cancer spreads.

You could also ask your veterinarian about adding a natural supplement to your dog's diet such as PetAlive C-Caps to support red and white cellular health. While they are not a cure, they could provide some extra support for the immune and renal systems of your dog.  Do not use if undergoing chemotherapy without consulting a veterinarian.sou


How to Treat Canine Kidney Disease
Dzilvelis, Sharon