The liver is a major organ that helps in detoxification of the body. Carcinogenic and toxic compounds consumed by dogs pass through it, which can potentially cause primary liver cancer in dogs. Liver tumors in dogs occur in many different forms. Canine hepatic tumors may be primary tumors, derived from the liver itself, or they may be metastatic, derived from another body tissue and spread to the liver from that tissue. Liver tumors may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).
Causes of Liver Cancer in Dogs
Dog liver cancer can be caused due to ingestion of toxic chemicals, heavy metals and exposure to carcinogens. Examples of possible carcinogens include chemicals in some commercial pet food (food additives, artificial coloring and flavors), certain pesticides, dyes, etc. After the pet dog consumes these toxic chemicals, they pass liver for detoxification process, thus increasing the chances of developing liver cancer.
Symptoms of Liver Cancer
If your dog has a benign tumor the tumor will not spread and he will show no symptoms, unless it has ruptures or bleeds.
If he has a malignant tumor he may show some or all of these symptoms.
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Increase thirst
- Increase urine
- Fluid in peritoneal cavity (abdomen)
- Pale gums
- Difficulty breathing
- Ataxia (no muscle control)
Surgical treatment is recommended for cats and dogs diagnosed with primary liver tumors but not metastasis to the liver. There are not many treatment options for animals who have multiple liver lobes affected.