Bladder Cancer in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention


Bladder cancer is a rare disease in dogs. This is why it is difficult to diagnose it. However, the disease must be treated quickly, before it becomes serious. How does bladder cancer manifest itself? What are the treatments offered? How to reduce the risks? Here is everything you need to know about the disease.

Bladder cancer explained

Bladder cancer is also known as invasive transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). This type of disease is rare. You should know that one in five dogs is affected by cancer, or 20%. Among them, only 2% will suffer from bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer in dogs can take different forms and be more or less serious. Here are the different types of known bladder cancer:

  • Squamous cell carcinomas;
  • Adenocarcinomas;
  • Rhabdomyosarcomas;
  • Leiomyosarcomas;
  • Fibrosarcomas;
  • Hemangiosarcomas;
  • Lymphomas.

Bladder cancer can develop in dogs of all breeds. However, some are more affected. This is the case with dogs of the Terrier and Beagle family. Bladder cancer is more common in bitches and therefore in females. Older dogs are also more concerned.

Bladder cancer can be more or less aggressive. Unfortunately, dogs are in a large majority of cases affected by carcinomas, which is the most aggressive form. The vital prognosis is rarely more than a year.

Symptoms of bladder cancer in dogs

Symptoms of bladder cancer are similar to those of urinary tract infection. Affected dogs suffer from the following symptoms.

  • They urinate frequently.
  • They suffer from incontinence.
  • There is blood in the urine.
  • Urination is difficult.
  • Urination is painful.
  • They eat less.
  • They lose weight.
  • They lick each other’s genitals.
  • The genitals are swollen and red.

When the cancer is at an advanced stage, other symptoms can appear. Among them are vomiting, loss of energy, weight loss, difficulty in sitting or walking. When in pain, the dog moans. You have to worry and quickly consult a veterinarian.

How to diagnose bladder cancer?

Because the signs of bladder cancer are the same as cystitis and other urinary tract infections, it is very difficult to diagnose. More often than not, the vet thinks of an infection, prescribes antibiotics and wastes time!

To identify bladder cancer, an ultrasound must be done. Only this medical imaging examination can highlight the presence of a lump. If a tumor is identified, know that it is not always malignant! It could be :

  • polyps,
  • leiomyomas,
  • fibroids,
  • hemangiomas.

Treatments for bladder cancer in dogs

Bladder cancer in dogs can be treated. However, the success of the treatment depends on the early diagnosis. The sooner the cancer is detected, the better the chances of recovery.

When cancer is found after an ultrasound, you have to think about treatment. This is chosen according to the severity of the disease. If the tumor is very invasive, then palliative support will be offered. It allows to accompany the dog until the end by reducing pain and improving well-being. If the tumor can be operated on, surgery is the best option. You should know that the animal must be able to withstand the operation. Sometimes, if the cancer is at an advanced stage, surgical treatment cannot be offered.

Causes of bladder cancer and prevention

Because some dogs have predispositions, it is important to watch them for the slightest sign. As we have already said, the earlier bladder cancer is diagnosed and therefore treated early, the more chance the dog has of getting out of it. It may be interesting to learn about the genealogy of the dog.

A healthy lifestyle also limits the risk of developing cancer. It is important to offer your dog balanced meals and fresh water. Physical activity promotes the well-being and proper functioning of the body. It must be adapted to the dog and daily. A healthy lifestyle will reduce obesity, a proven risk factor.

Finally, as a precaution, we must reduce exposure to petrochemicals and pesticides. Pay special attention to the cleaning or gardening products you use. You have to bet on organic, natural formulas and grandmother’s remedies. All aerosols are to be avoided.