We love our family, and for many, their dog is not just a pet - they’re family! If you have noticed your companion is ill, it is understandably a cause for concern. The reality can be devastating, especially if the diagnosis is cancer.
While bladder cancer in dogs is unusual, it is a problem faced by thousands of owners. As such, you could be wondering how it happens, how often it affects dogs, how you can identify it, and what steps should be taken to treat your dog.
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In this article, we are going to explore the answers to these questions. It is our objective that you feel better equipped and more confident to handle such a difficult situation.
For a comprehensive look at cancers affecting dogs, check out our complete guide to dog cancer for more information.
How Common Is Bladder Cancer in Dogs?
As mentioned, bladder cancer in dogs is rare. In fact, it only comprises approximately 2% of all cancers in dogs. Invasive transitional cell carcinoma (otherwise known as TCC or urothelial carcinoma), is the most common cancer that affects the bladder.
An interesting thing to note is that although TCC can occur in any breed, this cancer more predominantly affects specific breeds such as Terriers and Beagles. Bladder cancer also tends to affect middle aged or elderly female dogs at higher rates.
Although there are less aggressive types of bladder cancer, dogs unfortunately rarely get this less aggressive (or lower grade) form, meaning that this cancer is much more deadly if diagnosed.
What Causes Bladder Cancer In Dogs?
Since this cancer seems to more commonly affect certain breeds, researchers believe that these dogs may have a genetic predisposition that increases their risk.
Still, there are no clear answers yet as to what may cause it. Some studies have shown that there may be a correlation between bladder cancer and exposure to petrochemicals and pesticides.
Obesity has also been linked to bladder cancer in dogs.
Signs of Bladder Cancer In Dogs
What are the symptoms of bladder cancer in dogs? That’s where it can become tricky. Often, the symptoms of bladder cancer can be similar to when your dog has a urinary tract infection (UTI), such as painful or frequent urination.
Here are some symptoms of bladder cancer in dogs to watch for:
- Frequent urination
- Painful or difficult urination
- Bloody Urine
- Incontinence (lack of control over urination)
- Excessive licking, redness, or swelling of the genitalia
- Decreased appetite
Although initially, bladder cancer may present with similar symptoms to a UTI, instead of improving after taking antibiotics, the symptoms will keep recurring and getting worse.
Bladder Cancer In Dogs: Stages
Ideally, the goal is to identify the cancer before it can metastasize, or spread, to other body parts. As noted already, there are a few key signs to look out for in the early stages. These symptoms change as the disease progresses into the later stages and the critical stages.
Later Stages of Bladder Cancer in Dogs:
- Decreased desire to exercise
- Weight loss
- Difficulty sitting and walking
Critical Stages of Bladder Cancer in Dogs:
- Difficulty breathing or collapse
- Uncontrollable vomiting/diarrhea
- Crying/whining from pain
Bladder Cancer In Dogs: Life Expectancy
Sadly, bladder cancer in dogs tends to be aggressive, with a poor long-term prognosis. In fact, 20-30% of dogs with bladder cancer have tumors that metastasize to other parts of the body, such as the lungs.
If your pet has received a bladder cancer diagnosis, he or she may have anywhere from 4-12 months, depending on the severity of the cancer, and the treatments provided.
Can Bladder Cancer In Dogs Be Treated Naturally?
Although bladder cancer can be difficult to diagnose, when you have a certain diagnosis, you naturally want to do as much as you can to help.
Your pup is part of your family, and you want the best treatment possible. Here at HomeoAnimal, we share those same feelings and are invested into finding natural treatments that work.
With anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties, it preserves the healthy cells while attacking the unhealthy, cancerous cells, all the while reducing the occurrences of secondary infections.
I hope you’ve found the information in this article helpful as you fight your companion’s battle of cancer!