My Dog Has Cancer – How Long Will She Live?
An animal cancer diagnosis can be heartbreaking. It can provoke feelings such as fear, sadness and denial – emotions which may leave us shaken to their core.
Knowing your dog’s prognosis is vital in order to make informed decisions. Your veterinarian will give you an estimate for their survival; they may even refer you to a veterinary oncologist for further diagnosis and care.
As owners are devastated by a cancer diagnosis for their beloved pets, it can be heartbreaking. Their minds race with worrying over prognosis and hopeful anticipation about whether treatment will work.
Cancer is a devastating illness that can impact dogs, cats and other animals. With various forms and stages available to us today ranging from easy treatments like vaccines for some forms to incurable ones that weren’t available two decades ago; prognosis varies significantly according to tumor location and type. While certain cancer types may be easier than others to manage effectively for treatment; other forms require more complex solutions than before.
As part of their physical exam, veterinarians typically order X-rays to check for tumor signs in your pet and ask about its history of health or other medical conditions. They will then perform a biopsy of the tumor which involves taking small pieces to be studied under microscope to ascertain the stage and grade of cancer; typically lower grades yield better prognoses.
An unexpected diagnosis of cancer for your pet can be terrifying, but understanding their prognosis will enable you to make better decisions about their care. In this article we’ll focus on Hemangiosarcoma; an aggressive cancer with rapid growth rates which often leads to death.
Hemangiosarcoma is a malignant tumor formed by cells lining blood vessels. It most frequently affects dogs’ spleen, liver, skin and heart; although any organ can be affected. These tumors tend to bleed easily as their lack of normal connections between blood vessels makes them vulnerable; hence its first sign usually being internal bleeding with signs such as weakness, appetite loss and pale gums as possible symptoms.
Hemangiosarcoma tumors tend to be highly aggressive and spread quickly to distant parts of the body. Their prognosis depends on where and how quickly the cancer spreads – tumors found in organs like the spleen and liver have poor prognoses, while tumors in skin or subcutis tissue generally fare better; complete surgical excision with chemotherapy treatment can provide patients with life expectancies of 6-10 months.
Cancer of the lungs
when their dog is diagnosed with cancer, many owners assume the worst and fear that this marks its end for their beloved animal. But this may not necessarily be true – depending on its type and how soon it was identified; certain cancers can even go into remission through chemotherapy treatment.
Lymphoma is an increasingly prevalent form of canine cancer that can strike any breed at any age. Usually beginning in lymph nodes visible outside the body and spreading laterally, some breeds such as standard Poodles and Golden Retrievers seem particularly susceptible.
Bone cancer can be effectively managed in its early stages if diagnosed early enough and treated quickly, but once spread can become increasingly challenging. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation may all be utilized to ease pain in bones. For this reason, if you suspect your dog has bone cancer it is essential that X-rays be regularly taken and blood work as well as fine needle aspiration (fNA or biopsy) may also be required as diagnostic tests.
Cancer of the liver
Cancer can be a devastating disease for dogs, but La Mesa Veterinary Hospital’s veterinarians can provide insight into their prognosis for various forms of cancer and how long your pet might survive after being diagnosed.
The liver is an essential organ in the body, filtering blood and processing nutrients and medications ingested through digestion into ready-to-use chemicals. Tumors found in the liver are typically an indication of another cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the organ; Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the more prevalent forms of metastatic cancer found here; more common among older dogs but can affect younger animals as well.
Lymphoma can cause swollen glands and typically affects dogs near their neck or shoulder area or behind their knee. Low-grade lymphomas tend to live several years after treatment while high-grade forms may prove fatal within months if left untreated. Meanwhile, malignant melanoma is the most frequently diagnosed oral cancer among canines; low-grade cases often survive up to 18 months before progressing and being detected late stage.
Cancer of the kidneys
If your dog’s cancer is detected early and hasn’t spread, his prognosis for recovery should be promising. Seek diagnosis and treatment immediately; often a simple test can reveal what kind of lump or bump exists and its significance; though many lumps and bumps could simply be cysts or inflammation, leaving untreated cancer can quickly spread through its network of veins and tissues.
Note that chemotherapy doesn’t work on all cancers. Renal cell cancer, transitional cell carcinoma and urothelial carcinoma are just three examples that are particularly resistant. These cancers form on the lining of tubules (very small tubes) inside of kidneys where blood enters to remove waste and make urine. Urine then travels through an ureter into bladder before leaving body through long tube called ureter and out through body through bladder exit ureters into bladder for disposal.
Most dogs respond well to chemotherapy treatment and experience minimal side effects, though fatigue, lack of appetite, diarrhea or vomiting may occur occasionally. Your hospital’s veterinary oncology team can assist in selecting an effective chemotherapy protocol tailored specifically to the type of cancer in your pet.
Cancer of the pancreas
As it can be heartbreaking to hear that your pup has cancer, hearing this news from your vet should not be seen as hopeless. While most dogs who develop cancer die of it in time, individual pets’ prognoses depend on its spread rate and severity.
Most canine tumors can be effectively removed, and early diagnosis often means better prognosis for your pet’s specific disease. That is why it is vital to be proactive and visit the veterinarian whenever any unusual symptoms emerge, to make sure your dog stays in optimal health.
Adenocarcinoma, the most prevalent form of pancreatic cancer, is a highly malignant tumor with aggressive traits that often spreads quickly before diagnosis – this may occur in lymph nodes, liver and spleen locations or, rarely, to organs like brain and bone.
Over the last several decades, cancer treatments for dogs have seen tremendous advancements, such as chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy. Early detection is key; keeping an optimistic perspective will allow you both to make the most of what time remains with each other.
Cancer of the spleen
The spleen is an integral organ in the lymphatic system and plays a significant role in immune defense. Unfortunately, its fist-sized size makes it vulnerable to cancer spread from other parts of the body (most often lymphomas and leukemia). While some people live without their spleen altogether, precaution should still be taken against infection.
Hemangiosarcoma (HSA), which begins in the spleen, is an aggressive form of cancer which quickly spreads throughout the body and is difficult to treat. Doctors traditionally employed radiation and chemotherapy on dogs with HSA; however, these treatments were ineffective as they damaged both healthy cells as well as cancerous ones and often led to side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in dogs receiving them as treatments.
Average survival times for dogs diagnosed with HSA of the spleen is two months without treatment, while when given surgery and chemotherapy can live for over one year – which represents a dramatic improvement over their median survival times of 86 days when receiving no other treatments. Therefore, new treatments have proven their worth. If your pup has HSA cancer, consult your veterinarian about available treatment options as well as its prognosis.