Canine Spinal Cord Tumors


"Canine spinal cord tumors are common in dogs. They can cause pain from the pressure on the spine. This is a difficult disease to treat, with radiation therapy showing some success. Dietary supplements can help to boost the immune system and should be considered as a supportive therapy."


Canine spinal cord tumors are common in dogs. Most dogs that have a spinal cord tumor are 6 years of age. They are most common in dogs that are medium or large. Spinal Cord Tumors can be seen in larger dogs as young as age 5.

Canine spine tumors can cause pressure on the spine from a tumor that is located in the bone (vertebra), on the spinal cord or in the spinal cord; 50% of tumors are in the bone.

Types of Canine Spinal Cord Tumors

Extradural Tumors

These types of tumors are the most common and result in the spinal cord becoming compressed.

Intradural-extramedullary Tumors

These tend to occur on the nerve covering or nerve sheath and are 1/3 of spinal cord tumors.

Intramedullary Tumors

Least common tumor. It occurs in the glial cells. There are two types of cells that make up the nervous system. Neurons which send and receive messages and neuroglia (glial cells) that surround the neurons.

Peripheral Nerve Tumors

This tumor occurs in the nerve roots.

Symptoms of Canine Spinal Cord Tumors

Dogs that have canine spine tumors may have back or neck pain, limping, a wobbly walking style or a limp.

Diagnosis of Canine Spinal Tumors

X-rays that use dye (myelogram) can show where a tumor is located. An alternative is a MRI or CT scan. Your veterinarian will be looking for the location, shape, pattern of growth and swelling of the tumor(s). Blood tests can be used an an additional point of reference with the veterinarian looking for elevated levels of proteins and/or white blood cells.

Treatment of Canine Spinal Cord Tumors

The decision to treat your dog depends on the number of tumors, the difficulty in reaching or removing the tumor and the ability of your pet to withstand surgery. Tumors that originate from bones can usually be treated with surgery. If the cancer spread from other parts of the body to the vertebra, then the source of the cancer needs to be treated.

You might want to supplement your dog's diet with a supplement designed to boost the immune system and that contains elements designed for canine tumors. PetAlive C-Caps Formula for prevention and treatment of cancer in dogs is made for this purpose plus they are an excellent source of information. Check with your veterinarian so that they can track progress and provide a point of view of whether supplements will help.

Prognosis for Dogs with Canine Spinal Cord Tumors

The prognosis for dogs with canine spinal tumors tends to be poor. Most tumors that start in the spine are not treatable. There have been recent studies that show radiation therapy when used for specific types of tumors can improve the length of time your dog will survive after surgery. Survival times range between 11 and 23 months.


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