What Are The Early Signs Of Liver Cancer In Dogs
The bad news is there are often no early signs of liver cancer in dogs. As already explained, liver cancer in dogs triggers non-specific signs and only in the late stages of the condition. In such cases, pet owners can expect:
- Weight fluctuations
Therefore, it is important to stay on top of your dogs health and take them in for regular, routine vet visits. Also, if there is a troublesome sign or symptom, schedule an extra visit and have your dog examined.
Causes Of Liver Cancer In Dogs
Hepatocellular Carcinoma causes remain unknown. Researchers and doctors are still observing cases to determine the definite causes.
From genetically inherited cancers, chemically unbalanced hormones, a mutation in genes, prolonged exposure to radiation, and other underlying diseases.
Studies also found that dogs diagnosed with Hepatocellular Carcinoma were also diagnosed with additional tumors. Although tumors that were found were often in the endocrine region and were benign.
Often found in Golden Retriever breeds, German Sheperd, Poodle, Scottish Terriers, and Rottweilers. Dog breeds like Golden Retriever, who is prone to lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma, are found to be prone to Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
Studies that observed dogs with Hepatocellular Carcinoma noticed more male candidates than female ones.
Whats The Cost Of Surgery To Remove A Dogs Tumor
You may be thinking that it costs more to remove a cancerous tumor versus a noncancerous tumor, but the tumor type doesn’t dictate the cost of surgery.
It’s more dependent on the tumors size, location, anatomical makeup and other patient-related factors .
More aggressive-type cancerous tumors usually require a more invasive surgery with removal of more tissue, and they require more surgical skill. Most clinics bill for surgeries based on:
Anesthesia drugs and monitoring
Medications to take home
E-collar and bandages, if needed
Some places will include recheck appointments or follow-up visits in the cost
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Portosystemic Shunts And Other Vessel Abnormalities
Portosystemic shunts have already been described as a congenital defect Liver Congenital abnormalities are conditions that an animal is born with they are often called birth defects. Some of these conditions are inherited and tend to occur within particular families… read more . However, in some cases they can develop as a part of illness. In these instances they are called acquired shunts. They can be caused by high blood pressure in the vessels entering the liver. The diseased liver can be thought of as resisting blood flow into the organ. In this case, new blood vessels open to bypass the liver and connect to the blood system of the rest of the body, where the blood pressure is lower. It is as if the blood system were finding a detour around a traffic jam. Acquired shunts are usually seen in older animals and are more frequent in dogs than in cats.
Signs of an acquired shunt include excessive thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fluid accumulation in the abdomen is common. Affected dogs may also have neurologic signs that come and go. Laboratory tests can identify abnormalities associated with the underlying liver disease. Medical treatment of the disease to minimize the neurologic signs and fluid build-up in the abdomen can result in a favorable outlook for some dogs with this condition.
Can A Dog Survive With A Tumor In The Liver
Dogs cannot survive with a malignant and cancerous tumor in their liver for very long. If left untreated a poor prognosis is often the result.
If the tumor is benign, then it is more of an unnecessary disruption than it is fatal, but malignant liver tumors are incredibly dangerous. If the tumor is not removed from the liver and treated appropriately by professionals, a dog will eventually pass away from the disease.
In some cases, malignant tumors can not be removed such as ones from metastasized cancer along with diffuse hepatocellular carcinoma tumors.
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What If Your Dog’s Liver Cancer Is Operable
“Thrilled to have had ONE additional year…IN January 2*0*1*2, I was informed that my girl, GRETA who is closest to me, sleeps by my side, accompanies me most anywhere, etc had TWO to FOUR weeks to live at the most..I was told she had inoperable liver cancer that had already spread to her lungs and was quite widespread. I was shocked and devastated that my girl that I had taken special care of since she was about 1 yr was now going to leave way before I had hoped…Barely being able to comprehend the bad news, I prepared for the last few weeks with her. BUT, my FIRST phone call was to Susan Davis who recommended the necessary supplements to wage WAR and give it a good fight. I listened to everything Susan told me to use and feed her…AND NOW we have surpassed the ONE YEAR mark!!! Greta has slipped down hill as of late and I realize the time is near but I AM COMPELLED to inform and shout from the mountaintops, NEVER give up and PLEASE Try holistic/homeopathic remedies!” – Rhonda, California
Function Of The Liver
The liver in humans, dogs, and most creatures is there to act as a filter to help the body remove toxins and potentially dangerous substances. By doing so, it aids the body in retaining energy, vitality and overall general health. The liver has a dual blood supply from the hepatic artery and the portal vein so it can perform its function at top efficiency. Yet, this also makes it vulnerable to encountering cancer cells from other areas of the body through the blood supply.
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Poisons Affecting The Liver
Because of the livers function in metabolizing drugs, some drugs have been associated with liver dysfunction in dogs. The specific signs and effects depend on the drug and dosage. In many cases your veterinarian will be aware of the potential for liver disease when prescribing these drugs and will monitor your dog for any signs of decreased or altered function.
Other substances that are toxic to the liver include heavy metals, certain herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, rodent poisons, aflatoxins , amanita mushrooms, cycad plants , and blue-green algae. These can cause life-threatening liver damage.
If your dog has had an accidental overdose of a medication, has had an adverse reaction to a medication , or has eaten a poison Poisoning , a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. If necessary, the veterinarian can take steps to minimize absorption of the drug or poison. Depending on the situation, the veterinarian may induce vomiting, administer activated charcoal, pump the animals stomach, and/or administer an appropriate antitoxin.
You Can Do Everything Right And Still Get Cancer
Heres the shocking truth about my dogs cancer: Ive done just about everything right as a dog mom. When Kanga, an eight-pound Maltese, came to live with us at age 13 weeks, I took Dr. Dresslers advice:
- Never, ever fed her commercial dog food
- I gave her EverPup* every day starting at age 2 when it first arrived on the market.
- Shes had daily walks, most days on the beach.
- We give dozens of pets and snuggles a day.
True to breed, her teeth are awful but otherwise, shes been almost disgustingly healthy. She just turned ten in October, but routinely gets mistaken for a puppy.
So what happened?
Your dog can fight cancer with food!
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Clinical Signs To Look For
Because of the livers location and its various functions, signs of liver cancer in dogs can be both physical and behavioral. The liver sits near the end of the rib cage, and so a mass can make a dog look full or pot-bellied. However, many dogs with bigger bellies are just overweight, so this sign alone is not necessarily a cause for alarm. In terms of behavior, a dog with liver cancer may slow down and become lethargic. A tumor pushing on a dogs stomach can also cause him or her to vomit or demonstrate a decreased appetite, resulting in weight loss. Because of the full feeling, a dog may also struggle to get up, similarly to if the dog has eaten too much. However, these can also be signs of other issues, not just liver cancer.
It Was A Good Death But The Pain Is Real
My life has been inexorably changed by her death.
I consider myself an expert griever. Ive had to do it many times, for many types of losses. Im one of those highly sensitive people that feel things very deeply, and so Ive had to learn how to process and incorporate loss to just live a normal life.
Most of the losses Ive mourned were complex and gnarled. This one was utterly simple. It was like a French swordsman had been called to take my head off: cleanly, quietly, swiftly, when I was looking the other way.
Ive spent the last three weeks looking for my head and trying to stitch everything back together.
I dont want to belabor the aftermath for you, because I know you are dreading that day with your own dog, and honestly, there is a book I want to write about grieving a dog.
So Ill just send you these posts I made for my loved ones. Heres the one I wrote immediately after we returned home on July 26:
Things were better a week later, when I had my first real visit from Kanga in a dream. Heres that post:
Dear reader, thank you for reading.
Much Aloha and warm wishes to you and your dog. Were all in this together!
The Dog Cancer Survival Guide
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Liver Cancer Surgery For Dogs
â This type of cancer is usually treated by surgery if there is only one tumor that has not metastasized yet. Removal of tumors in the liver is known as a lobectomy. Just as in humans, your dog will need diagnostic imaging which could be x-rays, CT scans, ultrasound or an MRI. Blood work and urinalysis prior to surgery will also be needed. Up to 80 percent of a dog’s liver can be surgically removed and still be able to function and will, in fact, regenerate over time. A dog’s prognosis after removal of the tumor can be about one year or more post-surgery. While this is a very invasive procedure, it does have a high success rate of over 90%. One concern will be a dog liver tumor surgery cost in dollars which can be considerable. Surgery can run from about $9,000 to $15,000 depending on whether it also includes additional treatments like chemotherapy and biopsy and imaging services. You can reduce the cost of the surgery by several thousand by eliminating combining chemotherapy or radiation therapy with it but this does bring the chances of success for your dog down.
Other Treatments For Canine Liver Cancer
Other treatment methods include chemotherapy, radiation, and medication. You should discuss all the options with your veterinarian. Sometimes owners are tempted to make choices that are good for them but may not be the best option for their dog. Instead, you must speak for your animal friend and choose a treatment plan that is beneficial to your dog’s long-term prognosis and overall well-being.
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Cost Of Total Liver Lobectomy In Dogs
The average cost for a total liver lobectomy is around $9,000. If an ultrasound paired with chemotherapy or radiation therapy is chosen as a treatment due to lower cost, the bill drops to around $3,000, but survival rates are lowered. If advanced imaging and an FNA biopsy are used prior to surgery, the cost may be as high as $15,000.
Worried about the cost of Total Liver Lobectomy treatment?
Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.
Dog Liver Cancer Prognosis: What To Expect
As with humans, catching the tumor early is key. With hepatocellular carcinoma presenting as a massive tumor, the prognosis is good. Early surgical removal can cure your dog completely.
With secondary liver tumors, the prognosis can be poor. Metastatic liver cancer is very serious as there will be other organs involved. The prognosis here is, sadly, often poor.
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Diagnosing Liver Cancer In Dogs
The diagnosis of liver cancer in dogs starts with a physical examination. In a dog with liver cancer, the vet may be able to notice liver enlargement during abdominal palpation. The dog is likely to show signs of abdominal pain while the vet is palpating.
Once the vet suspects liver cancer, they will order bloodwork and urinalysis to evaluate the extent of the liver dysfunction. Increased liver enzymes are one of the telltale signs of liver abnormalities.
Based on these initial findings, the vet will order additional tests such as abdominal x-rays and abdominal ultrasounds. For a more definitive diagnosis, the veterinarian will perform needle aspirations or biopsy this will also help determine the type of liver cancer.
Dental Surgery For Old Dogs
For example, dental extractions under anesthesia on senior dogs with trench mouth is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. These patients feel so much better afterward. Its like I dipped them in the Fountain of Youth! And thats just one example of how it is possible to improve the quality of life for senior dogs through an anesthetic procedure.
My last story comes from one of our ToeGrips® dog nail grips customers, Cynthia. Recently, she shared with me her story about choosing surgery for her senior dog. With her permission, Im sharing her account and I hope that it helps others who are grappling with this decision.
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Surgical Findings And Histopathologic Conclusions
The mean anesthetic time was 116 +/ 68 min and the mean surgical time was 75 +/ 37 min. At surgery, single masses were visualized in 89/110 dogs 2 large masses, later assessed to be histologically comparable, were recorded in 21/110 dogs. The highest percentage of single masses was seen in the left lateral lobe. Masses were also seen in the left medial lobe , right medial lobe , quadrate lobe , caudate lobe , and right lateral lobe . The mean mass diameter was 11.3 +/ 6.3 cm. Neither tumor location/size nor anesthetic/surgical time had a significant association with survival.
Most liver lobe tumors were HCC and HCA . Other masses identified included hemangiosarcoma , cystadenoma , nodular hyperplasia , fibrosarcoma , hematoma , leiomyosarcoma , cholangiocarcinoma , lipogranuloma , and metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma . Tumor type had no significant association with survival. The KMSCs for HCC, HCA, and hemangiosarcoma are provided .
This Kaplan-Meier survival curve compares survival associated with hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatocellular adenoma, and hemangiosarcoma. While no significant association between tumor type and survival was found, survival times associated with hemangiosarcoma appear less than those associated with hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatocellular adenoma.
Presurgical Considerations For Liver Tumors
The liver is a very vascular organ. Intraoperative hemorrhage has been reported in 25% of patients undergoing liver lobectomy, with major hemorrhage recorded as being secondary to trauma to the caudal vena cava, occurring in over 7% of cases.2 Before surgery, coagulation profiles, blood type, and crossmatch as appropriate should be evaluated. Surgery should only be performed in facilities with access to blood products. Fortunately, an increased bleeding tendency has not been clinically observed in most dogs with liver masses.
It is important to monitor blood glucose levels during the intraoperative period. Hypoglycemia has been associated with hepatocellular carcinoma,20 and severe metabolic deficits have been implicated as contributing to morbidity in dogs undergoing resection of approximately 70% of the liver.21
Most contemporary anesthetic agents are safe to use in patients undergoing liver lobectomy however, drugs metabolized by hepatocytes should be avoided when possible.22 Perioperative antibiotics are generally recommended for liver lobectomy, as intestinal bacteria and endotoxins are delivered through the portal system for hepatic clearance. An antibiotic that covers Staphylococcus species and enteric bacteria should be chosen. The authors most commonly use cefoxitin, though there is limited direct primary literature on the subject.
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Inflammation Of The Gallbladder
Inflammation of the gallbladder can be caused by bacterial infections, cancer, trauma to the liver, gallbladder obstruction, or blood clots. In some cases, the wall of the gallbladder is damaged, and bile leaks into the abdomen causing severe abdominal infection and inflammation, which can be fatal. Loss of appetite, abdominal pain, jaundice, fever, and vomiting are common signs. The dog may be in a state of shock due to abdominal inflammation.
The inflammation can also spread to the surrounding branches of the bile duct and the liver. Diagnosis is based on blood tests and ultrasound findings and can be confirmed by biopsy for bacterial cultures and tissue analysis. Treatment usually consists of removal of the gallbladder and appropriate antibiotic medication to treat infection. The outlook is good if surgery and appropriate antibiotics are started early but is less favorable if diagnosis and treatment are delayed.
None Are So Old As Those Who Have Outlived Enthusiasm ~ Henry David Thoreau
Pic taken last week, Buzzy ready to cruise in a 56 T-Bird.
Buzzy has certainly not outlived enthusiasm. However, in the last month, I noticed he has gotten much slower on our daily walks and decided it must have something to do with his latest large lipomas. Buzz didnt have the best hips in the world as a 2-year-old and now he had a huge fatty tumour hanging directly under his hips. It had gotten so big it affected the way he walked and the weight of it dragged him down. I decided to see if it was possible to drain the large unwanted protuberance without putting Buzz under a general anaesthetic. The answer sadly was no.
However, I woke up the next morning with a strong need to do more for Buzz. Yes, he was almost 16 years old but his blood values where that of a 5-year-old PLUS he was still crazy with joy for life. I thought today his body would withstand surgery but next year at this time I may not have that option and the size and weight of this tumour would be what finally ends his life.
Was I crazy? Should I be considering surgery for Buzz? I consulted my longtime friend Dr. Leslie and she said even though I may, in fact, be slightly crazy my idea to help Buzz wasnt. She said I could go to a clinic that performs laser surgery it will be a much faster surgery as they just zap the blood vessels and the recovery will be better because the laser is less invasive than traditional surgery.
Today I am grateful to have Buzzy safe and sound recovering at home.
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