Spleen Cancer in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment An In-depth View on Spleen Cancer in Dogs

BY | December 01 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Spleen Cancer in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Spleen cancer in dogs is a condition that needs your full attention as a dog owner due to the various functions of the spleen. More details about spleen cancer will be looked into in this article.

Spleen cancer is also known as splenic tumors and dogs of all breeds and ages are at risk of this disease. The blood filtration and immune system-supporting function of the spleen make it susceptible to the growth of malignant cells. To guarantee prompt intervention and suitable care for their dogs, dog owners must be aware of the signs, diagnosis, and treatment options for spleen cancer. We will go into more detail about canine spleen cancer in this article.

Types

The type of spleen tumor in dogs determines the appropriate treatment approach and prognosis for your dog. Types of spleen cancer in dogs are;

  • Hemangiosarcoma: Hemangiosarcoma is the most common type of spleen tumor in dogs and is difficult to treat because it develops from blood vessel cells in the spleen and spreads swiftly to other organs.

  • Lymphoma: Lymphoma is a form of white blood cell cancer that affects the lymphocytes.  splenic mass in dogs symptoms often occur due to lymphoma.

  • Mast cell tumors: They occur in the mast cells, which are immune cells found throughout the body, including the spleen. 

  • Sarcoma: Spleen sarcomas are an uncommon type of cancer that develops in the splenic connective tissues. 

  • Metastatic tumors: In some instances, cancer originating from other organs can spread to the spleen.

Causes

Several things have been linked to a greater risk of this condition. These consist of the following:

  • Genetics: Breeds of dogs including German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Boxers are more likely to get spleen cancer than other dog breeds.

  • Age: While spleen cancer can occur in dogs of any age, it is most frequently diagnosed in middle-aged to older dogs, typically between the ages of 8 and 10 years

  • Gender: Some studies have suggested that male dogs may be more prone to developing spleen cancer than female dogs, but more research is necessary to understand this association fully.

  • Environmental factors: Dogs who are exposed to certain environmental variables, such as pollutants and chemicals, may be at an increased risk of developing spleen cancer.

  • Immune system dysfunction: Dogs with compromised immune systems or underlying immune-related conditions may be at higher risk of developing spleen cancer. 

Symptoms

Depending on the kind and stage of the disease, spleen cancer in dogs can present with a variety of symptoms. The following are some typical signs to watch out for:

  • Abdominal swelling: Enlargement of the abdomen, also known as distension, is a common symptom of spleen cancer.

  • Weakness and lethargy: Dogs with spleen cancer may sow indications of general weakness and fatigue.

  • Weight loss: Cancerous cells can affect a dog's metabolism and appetite, leading to gradual weight loss over time.

  • Loss of appetite: Dogs with spleen cancer may experience a decreased appetite or complete loss of interest in food. 

  • Pale gums and mucous membranes: Spleen cancer can cause anemia in dogs

  • Difficulty breathing: As the spleen enlarges and tumors progress, they can exert pressure on nearby organs, including the lungs, therefore, leading to breathing difficulties.

  • Collapse or weakness: In advanced stages of spleen cancer, the tumors can rupture or bleed, leading to sudden and severe symptoms such as collapse, weakness, rapid breathing, and pale gums.

Treatment and Management Options

The treatment and management of spleen cancer in dogs depend on various factors. However, here are some common treatment options that veterinarians may consider:

  • Surgery: Splenectomy, or the surgical removal of the spleen, is frequently advised for splenic tumor dogs.

  • Chemotherapy: In some circumstances, chemotherapy may be utilized either as a primary therapeutic option or as an adjuvant to surgery. Chemotherapy employs anti-cancer drugs to eradicate cancer cells.

  • Palliative care: Palliative care focuses on providing supportive treatment to manage symptoms and improve the dog's comfort. This may include pain relief medications like Deramaxx and Carprofen.

  • Follow-up monitoring: Regular monitoring and follow-up visits with the veterinarian are crucial to assess the dog's response to treatment and monitor for any recurrence or progression of the disease.

Prevention Tips

It may not be possible to prevent spleen cancer in dogs completely. To lessen the likelihood of it happening, take into account the following precautionary advice:

  • Constant veterinary check-ups: Make regular appointments with your vet to check on your dog's health in general and to identify any potential problems early.

  • Breed-specific screenings: If your dog belongs to a breed known to be predisposed to spleen cancer, consider breed-specific screenings or genetic testing.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Ensure your dog receives a balanced diet and maintains a healthy weight. Obesity and poor nutrition can contribute to various health conditions, including cancer.

  • Environmental awareness: Minimize your dog's exposure to potential toxins in the environment. This includes avoiding the use of harmful chemicals.

  • Early intervention: Seek veterinarian care as soon as you observe any strange symptoms or alterations in your dog's behavior. Spleen cancer or other medical disorders have a far better prognosis for successful treatment and management when they are discovered and treated early.

  • Stay vigilant: Regularly monitor your dog for any signs of illness, including changes in appetite, weight loss, lethargy, or unusual behavior. 

Spleen Tumor in Dogs Prognosis

Spleen tumor in dogs' prognosis varies depending on the type. The prognosis for dogs with hemangiomas is generally good, especially if the tumor is small and localized. Surgical removal of the tumor through a splenectomy (removal of the spleen) can often result in a complete cure. The prognosis for dogs with hemangiosarcoma is generally poor, as the tumor is often diagnosed in advanced stages or after it has already spread to other organs. The average survival time for dogs with hemangiosarcoma is typically short, ranging from a few weeks to a few months. There are other types of malignant tumors that can affect the spleen, such as lymphoma, sarcoma, or metastatic tumors. The prognosis for these tumors varies on a number of factors, such as the particular cancer type, the degree of cancerous spread, and the patient's reaction to treatment. Remember that every dog and every tumor is unique, and outcomes can vary.

Providing your dog with proper veterinary care, adhering to the recommended treatment plan, and closely monitoring its condition can help optimize its prognosis and quality of life.

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