It is generally suspected that overexposure to insecticide dips for removing fleas and ticks, sprays used in households and marshlands, and other carcinogenic chemicals contribute to occurrence of canine bladder cancer. These chemicals tend to cling to the walls of the bladder and urethra, leading to the development of cancerous cells.
Bladder cancer in dogs is a life-threatening condition in most cases, largely because the majority of canine bladder cancer is diagnosed as a malignant tumor known as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). It usually originates in the transitional epithelium linings of kidneys, bladder or ureters, and is the most common type of bladder cancer found in dogs.
Certain breeds of dogs are genetically predisposed to urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections in dogs is also a major cause behind the occurrence of the condition. Breeds that are more vulnerable include Shetland sheepdogs, Scottish terriers, West Highland white terriers, beagles, and wirehaired fox terriers. Other factors that influence prevalence of bladder cancer are gender (females are more affected), neutering (neutered dogs are at a greater risk), and obesity.
Symptoms of bladder cancer tend to remain concealed for a long time in pets. Even when the symptoms reveal themselves, they are usually mistaken for a canine or feline urinary infection. More often than not, it is an unresolved treatment of urinary tract infection in dogs that leads to the detection of a tumor in the bladder.
If the dog shows the following symptoms, you should ensure that you include investigations like X-ray and or ultrasound imaging, along with the routine blood and urine tests.
- Difficulty in urination - the dog strains to urinate.
- Blood in the urine.
- Frequency of urination.
- Incontinence or involuntary urination.
- Breathing problems.
UTIs in puppies and adult dogs are routine, and most dogs respond to treatment. Older dogs that do not respond to routine treatment, or those that have frequent recurrence of urinary problems--especially incontinence and blood in the urine-- should be diagnosed further for bladder cancer.
Treatment modalities are not curative and only attempt to control the disease temporarily. Drugs that allow partial relief from obstruction in the urinary tract are prescribed to make life easy for the pet for as long as he lives.