Stomach cancer in dogs is one of the most lethal diseases, both because of the aggressiveness of the symptoms, and because of the poor effectiveness of the treatments. However, identifying the signs of this condition in its early stages can extend the life expectancy of those affected.
Despite being one of the most serious pathologies, statistics show its low representativeness in the group of canine neoplasms, less than 0.5%. Even so, it is convenient for pets to follow a preventive healthy lifestyle, as a poor diet can lead to their appearance.
Stomach cancer in dogs is more common among different varieties of Belgian shepherds, the Flanders boyboy, the chow chow, the akita or the keeshond. The control of these races should be more exhaustive, especially if chronic gastrointestinal disorders are observed.
Types of stomach cancer in dogs
Although there are different varieties of gastrointestinal cancers, they all have a symptomatology and a prognosis of high severity.
- Adenocarcinomas. They are tumors that originate in the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, and that can spread to other organs. The stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum are the most affected areas. It usually affects dogs older than six years and its severity makes it very difficult to treat.
- Leiomyosarcoma Specific tumor of organs with one or several cavities such as the stomach, uterus or respiratory tract. It specifically affects the walls: it can spread to lymph nodes, liver, spleen or kidneys in the most severe cases.
- Lymphoma. The name of this tumor is due to its link with lymph nodes and lymphocytes and, among other organs, it can affect the stomach. It has a higher incidence in dogs between six and nine years old, with boxers, San Bernardo or bulldog as the most prone.
- Mast cell tumors. Mast cells are cells belonging to the immune system that act in processes of inflammation and response to allergens. Despite being present in almost all body tissues, the walls of the digestive tract have a high concentration. When they affect the stomach, the excessive secretion of heparin and histamine with the consequent stomach ulcers, in addition to other autoimmune problems.
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Stomach cancer in dogs is characterized by a symptomatology of vomiting, anorexia and weight loss. Blood vomiting, expulsion of black feces due to the presence of degraded blood, anemia, lethargy, bloating and abdominal discomfort may also appear.
In general, disorders associated with gastrointestinal tumors usually coincide with those of chronic gastritis, hence the complexity of diagnosis.
The correct determination of the disease usually occurs when it is highly developed, which makes the treatment of the animal difficult. The urinalysis, blood and feces, abdominal x-rays after ingestion of contrast substances and ultrasound to detect inflammations are part of the identification protocol. In cases of dissemination to other organs, an endoscopy may also be necessary.
Except in cases of lymphoma, most often the tumor is removed. Once practiced, the veterinarian will guide the type of diet that best suits the degree of deterioration suffered, for which he will assess whether the weight loss has been very drastic.
Usually, It is usually this low weight that leads to the weakening of the animal’s immune system, which combined with an advanced age tends to advance death.
Even if genetic predisposition is one of the most important factors When developing the disease, prevention always tends to reduce its incidence. Therefore, following an adequate lifestyle with the necessary food and exercise will contribute to improving the quality and life expectancy of the dog.
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