Signs & Symptoms of Liver Cancer in Dogs

Updated February 21, 2017

Symptoms associated with liver cancer in your dog can sometimes seem to come and go in the initial stages of the disease. It is important to pay attention to any changes in your dog's behaviour or eating habits and then report these changes immediately to your vet. What can sometimes look like a minor case of a urinary infection could actually be the beginning stages of liver cancer.

Digestive symptoms

Some of the more common symptoms of canine liver cancer are digestive symptoms. Dogs will develop nausea that can lead to recurrent cases of vomiting. Your dog might also have alternating bouts of diarrhoea and constipation and have visible signs of discomfort.

Fluid accumulation

One of the things that liver cancer does to your dog is to disrupt liver functions. When this happens, the fluid that your dog's liver would normally process start to build up in the abdomen. This build-up of fluid in the abdomen is known as ascites, and the easiest way to tell if your dog is experiencing this symptom is if his abdomen seems extended with a fluid-filled sac. Your dog might recoil in pain when you attempt to move or touch the fluid sac.

Urinary symptoms

Your dog can display urinary symptoms as a result of liver cancer. Two of the more common urinary symptoms are an orange colour to the urine and an increase in the frequency of urination. The orange urine might be accompanied by jaundice, or a yellowing of the dog's normally pink skin. It is most noticeable on the inside of the ears and in the gums.

Behavioural symptoms

A dog suffering from liver cancer might start pacing and never seem to want to stop or get comfortable. He might also experience seizures or frequently duck down and press his head against solid objects. Your dog might seem depressed and less active than he used to be.


One of the more important symptoms of liver cancer in dogs is a loss of appetite. Your dog might show no interest in eating, and she might start losing weight. This sudden change in eating habits should be reported to your vet immediately. Even though your dog shows no urge to eat, she might start to drink water constantly--- another important symptom of liver cancer.

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About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.