An owners guide to pancreatic cancer in dogs
Your dog’s pancreas produces hormones and digestive enzymes. Pancreatic cancer in dogs is a very serious medical condition. It is usually fatal. This is because symptoms don’t appear until the cancer is already well-advanced.
This disease causes tumors to develop in the pancreas. This usually causes the dog’s stool to have blood in it. Other common symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Neurological signs can also be present and include seizures and loss of coordination.
If your dog displays these symptoms, you should take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. As mentioned, the disease is usually in an advanced stage before you notice anything and seek treatment. In order to diagnose this disease, the veterinarian will have to perform enzyme and blood tests to check for damage to the pancreas.
Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer in dogs often proves to be difficult to treat. Surgery is one of the primary methods of treatment. However, if the disease has already spread to other areas of the body, surgery will have no effect. Tumors may also cause bowel obstruction as they grow. This will require gastrointestinal bypass surgery.
In addition to surgery, the veterinarian may elect to give radiation and prescription drugs. Most dogs are not given food so that the pancreas can rest and not have to secrete digestive enzymes. Without food, your dog will need to be given nutrients and vitamins by IV.
The prognosis for dog pancreatic cancer is very poor. After displaying signs of disease, most dogs won’t live longer than a year.