Urinary tract tumors are tumors that cause cancer formation in their region. Urinary tract tumors in dogs commonly cause bladder cancer. In this article, you can find the questions about bladder cancer, which is one of the diseases in which early diagnosis and treatment are very important for life comfort.
What is Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is a type of cancer caused by a urinary tract tumor occurring in the bladder. Urinary tract tumor can be defined as the irregular and uncontrolled growth of cells that make up the urinary system. A urinary tract tumor affects the kidneys, the ureter that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder, the bladder, the prostate, and the urethra, which carries urine out of the bladder.
Bladder cancer in dogs is by far the most common urinary tract cancer. There are different types of bladder cancer. One of these is transitional cell bladder cancer. Transitional cell bladder cancer arises from the cells lining the bladder. Bladder tumors should be differentiated from benign non-cancerous structures such as inflammatory masses or polyps that cause thickening of the bladder wall. Urinary bladder cancer in dogs can reach deep tissues such as the muscle tissue of the bladder wall. Congestion that occurs after the enlargement of the bladder makes it difficult to transfer urine from the kidneys to the bladder or out of the bladder.
There is a possibility that bladder cancer can spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, liver and other organs. Bladder tumors in dogs are divided into two as low-level (superficial) and high-level (invasive) as in humans. People usually have low-level bladder cancer, and this cancer hardly spreads out of the bladder. On the other hand, high-level bladder cancer is more common in dogs and can spread to other parts of the body in a short time.
What Causes Bladder Cancer in Dogs?
The cause of bladder cancer is often unknown. However, in general, bladder cancer in dogs develops as a result of a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Some species have a higher genetic predisposition to bladder cancer. The Scottish Terrier breed is 18 to 20 times more likely to develop bladder cancer than other breeds. Pesticides and pesticides are the leading environmental factors that cause cancer. The main cause of bladder cancer in pet dogs is thought to be smoking by people around the dog. This type of cancer is usually seen in middle-aged dogs. Excess weight also significantly increases the risk of bladder cancer in dogs. Chronic bladder infection or inflammation is also among other factors that increase the risk of bladder cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?
Symptoms of bladder cancer may vary depending on the region where it occurs. The most common symptoms are;
- Difficulty urinating,
- bloody urine
- Feeling the need to go to the toilet frequently.
Recurrent urinary tract infections can be seen together with bladder cancer. In cases where the urethra is compressed by the enlargement of the bladder, it becomes difficult for urine to flow into the bladder. Therefore, it accumulates in the kidney and this causes pain. In addition, symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea can also be seen in bladder cancer. Bladder cancer often spreads to other tissues of the body, including bone. This causes new symptoms to appear.
How Is Bladder Cancer Diagnosed in Dogs?
If recurrent urinary tract infection or urinary tract infection cannot be treated, the suspicion of bladder cancer may arise. In this case, the diagnosis is usually made using imaging methods such as x-ray and ultrasound. Thus, it can be checked whether there is another mass in the kidneys, bladder or urinary tract. Urinalysis and blood analysis are done to evaluate kidney function. In some cases, it is possible to find cancerous cells in the urinalysis. Seeing the kidneys as large and hard during physical examination may also cause suspicion. Tissue biopsy is one of the methods used to make a diagnosis. A piece of abnormal tissue or tumor is examined under a microscope. This examination is called histopathology. In addition to diagnosing cancer with histopathology, it can also be determined which type of tumor causes cancer. Pieces can also be taken from tumors occurring in the bladder by catheterization. Another diagnostic method for bladder cancer is cystoscopy. A small tube with a camera at the end can be brought to the bladder to examine the regions and a tissue sample can be taken for biopsy and a diagnosis can be made as a result of the necessary examinations.
Bladder Cancer Course in Dogs
There are two types of bladder cancer seen in dogs. Among the types expressed as bladder cancer due to low and high level tumors, bladder cancer due to high level tumors is more common. Low-level tumors occur only in the bladder and usually do not spread to other parts of the body. They may not show any symptoms in cases where they do not cause much enlargement in the bladder. However, high-level tumors can spread to lymph nodes, lung, liver, bone, brain, spinal cord and adrenal glands. In order to monitor the progress of the cancer, it is necessary to first determine where it will progress. X-rays are preferred to check the lungs, spinal cord, and hips. The liver, adrenal glands, and lymph nodes are also checked with ultrasound.
Bladder Cancer Treatment in Dogs
Treatment of bladder cancer varies according to the type, level, and location of the tumor. Bladder cancer is usually treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, in some cases, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be required. Tumors that cause bladder cancer are usually seen at the point where the bladder connects to the urethra. Therefore, surgical intervention is no longer an option. Tumors formed in different parts of the bladder other than this region can be surgically removed. In cases where the urine flow is difficult, the first priority of the treatment is to normalize this flow, otherwise insufficient urine flow can be life-threatening.