Urethral Carcinoma in Dogs

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By Tess Thompson

Urethral carcinoma, a type of cancer derived form the epithelial tissue, is mostly seen in middle aged and older female dogs. Urethral prolapse or protrusion of the lining of the tail end of the urethra through the urethral opening is another urethral disease that is often discussed along with urethral carcinoma. Both urethral prolapse and carcinoma are common conditions in English Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.

Urethral carcinoma is an idiopathic disease. This means that there are simply no known causes for the disease. The suspected villains are probably the carcinogens that pass out through the urethra. These carcinogens may be external or those produced by the liver on metabolizing certain autoimmune medications. There are two types of urethral cancer that are common - transitional cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in dogs, both of which relate to the epithelial tissue.

Symptoms of urethral carcinoma include:

  • Slow, painful urination, caused by muscular spasms of the urethra and bladder.
  • Presence of blood in the urine.
  • Extraordinary urinary frequency.
  • Blood oozing out from the urethra even when the dog is not urinating.
  • Unrestrained licking of the penis.

A physical examination that reveals a palpable mass indicates prevalence of a urethral tumor. Confirmation, however, is possible only through a complete biochemical profile, ultrasound, abdominal X-Rays and ultrasound. Special study X-Rays that allow visualization of the urethra may also be used. Radio opaque contrast material is injected through a catheter inserted in the urethra, which later reveals the anatomy of the urethra in subsequent X-Rays. CT scans, urethral cytology and biopsies are done to clearly establish the prevalence of urethral carcinoma.

While urethral prolapse is treated only if the symptoms affect the quality of life of the dog, urethral cancer requires chemotherapy or surgical removal. Sometimes surgery is required to relieve urinary obstruction, if present. Natural remedies for urethra cancer in dogs can prove to be very helpful in improving the quality of life of your dog.

Cancer is mainly a disease of captivity. Domestic animals live longer than they would in the wild, but they are also more prone to some diseases that are not found in their wilder cousins. Urethral cancer in dogs, though much less common, requires the same of amount of home care and prevention measures as other types of cancers. You will be required to monitor urination and keep a strict check on medication. Cessation of urination can lead to early death, and over-medication of chemotherapeutic drugs can greatly hamper the quality of life of your dog.



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