The most common type of bladder cancer found in dogs is Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC).
TCC is an aggressive malignant cancer that invades the bladder walls causing obstruction to the urinary tract which in turn affects the natural flow of the urine. The cancer will normally spread to the lymph nodes and to other organs such as the lungs and liver.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Dogs
Symptoms of bladder cancer in dogs often go undetected for months and are normally mistaken as urinary tract infections. The symptoms of canine bladder cancer include:
- Blood in the urine
- Difficult and painful urinating
- Coughing and breathing difficulties
- Increased frequency of urinating
- Incontinence urinating
- Smaller amounts of urine are passed
- Recurring urinary tract infections
If your dog shows the symptoms above, ask for extra tests to be done just in case it is cancer.
Treatment for Bladder Cancer in Dogs
Surgery is often not considered unless there is a tumour that is of size and localized. In the case of TCC, surgery is unlikely to be effective as the entire bladder wall is affected and the cancer will often reoccur after surgery.
Intravenous chemotherapy with a drug called Mitoxantrone is usually the most effective treatment for dogs with bladder cancer. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as Piroxicam are taken orally along with the chemotherapy to try to stabilize and shrink the tumours. Piroxicam alone has is capable improving and extending the lifetime of the affected dog and also provides relief of bladder pain.
Radiation therapy can be quite effective over a long period of time. Small amounts of radiation are induced each day over a 3 – 4 week period. It is often used after other therapies as a method to destroy the last remaining cancerous cells.