Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs (Lung Cancer) in Dogs

Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs (Lung Cancer) in Dogs

Health & Safety

Adenocarcinoma of the lungs is a malignant form of cancer that negatively impacts a dog's lungs. It is an aggressive form of cancer that can quickly spread to other parts of the body which includes a dog's brain, bones, lymph nodes and eyes. Sadly, any dog can develop adenocarcinoma of the lungs more especially when they are over ten years old, although studies have shown that one breed is more susceptible than others when it comes to developing lung cancer.

Breed Most at Risk

As previously mentioned, studies have shown that any dog can develop this form of cancer especially as they get older, but the one breed that seems to be the most susceptible is as follows:

  • Boxer Dog

Symptoms Associated with the Condition

When dogs develop the condition, it is their respiratory systems that are the most affected. However, symptoms can vary depending on which part of the body has been most negatively impacted by the cancer too. With this said, the most common symptoms associated with the disorder are as follows:

  • Difficulty breathing - which is known as dyspnea
  • Rapid breathing - which is known as tachypnea
  • Pain
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Progress weight loss
  • Coughing up blood which is known as haemoptysis
  • Lameness which is caused when a dog's bones are affected by the condition
  • Muscle wastage
  • Fever
  • Swollen abdomen which is referred to as ascites

The Causes

Why some dogs develop adenocarcinoma of the lungs remains unknown and as such more research is needed to establish why this is so. However, studies suggest that dogs are more at risk if they live in an urban environment and if their owners smoke although this still needs to be confirmed. With this said, it is always safer to not smoke around any pet to reduce the risk of them developing any health issues associated with cancer.

Diagnosing the Condition

A vet would ideally need to have a dog's full medical history and be told how the onset of any symptoms first presented themselves so they can come to a preliminary diagnosis. The vet would thoroughly examine a dog suspected of suffering from adenocarcinoma of the lungs and would typically recommend carrying out the following tests to help confirm a diagnosis:

  • A complete blood count
  • A full biochemistry profile
  • X-rays of a dog's chest
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan to establish if the condition has spread to other parts of the body
  • MRI scan to establish if the condition has spread to other parts of the body

Treatment Options

A vet would normally refer a dog suspected of suffering from the condition to an oncologist who would be in a better position when it comes to recommending the best course of treatment. The three treatment options available for dogs suffering from lung cancer are as follows:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy

However, any treatment would depend on the severity of a dog's condition and how far the cancer has spread throughout their body. Other considerations that need to be taken into account include the following:

  • A dog's age
  • The overall condition

Living with a Dog with the Condition

Sadly, when dogs are diagnosed as suffering from lung cancer, the prognosis is never good with most succumbing to the illness within a year. With this said, if a dog responds well to a treatment the vet might have set in place, their survival time could increase, but it's important to keep a watchful eye on a dog's quality of life even when they are being treated for adenocarcinoma of the lungs and if this is negatively impacted in any way, it’s often that much kinder to put them to sleep rather than let them suffer.

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