Canine Liver Cancer
- Liver cancer is either primary, meaning it developed in the liver itself, or metastatic, meaning it originated in another location and has spread. Tumors are classified as benign or malignant. Malignancies are harder to treat and form multinodular masses, contributing to that "honeycomb" shape.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
- Several of the symptoms are similar to other illnesses and include excessive thirst, increased urination, lack of appetite or anorexia, vomiting and weight loss. Jaundice may also occur. A diagnosis begins with a blood test to check liver-enzyme levels, followed by an ultrasound or biopsy.
- If cancer is primary and benign the first option is surgery, and chemotherapy is not always required. However, when cancer is metastatic, especially when it involves multiple lobes, surgery may not be an option. This form requires chemotherapy and the prognosis is generally "grave."
- Dogs with liver cancer require a special diet. Commercial dog foods provide too many carbohydrates, which actually feed the cancer. Prescription diets or homemade options are better. Special diets should contain increased amounts of good fats and decreased amounts of proteins.
- Complications from conditions like hypothyroidism, diabetes, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease and Cushings's disease may contribute to possible liver problems over time. In such cases it is important to work closely with the veterinarian, and to have your dog evaluated right away if it is exhibiting symptoms.