Cancer in Beagle Dogs

Updated April 17, 2017

Beagles are prone to developing a variety of health issues, including cancer. According to the National Beagle Club of America website, beagles are susceptible to developing bladder cancer and mastosarcoma, or cancer of the mast cells. If you are concerned your beagle has cancer, consult with its veterinarian immediately.


Bladder cancer and mastosarcomas are serious and dangerous types of cancer. According to Dr. Jeffery Philibert of the Pet Place website, the most common type of bladder cancer is caused by a malignant tumour called transitional cell carcinoma. It is usually found on the surface of the bladder and less commonly in the muscles of the urinary tract. Mastosarcomas are created by a clump of mast cells--part of the immune system that defends the body against invaders, such as parasites.


The National Beagle Club of America states that symptoms of bladder cancer include painful and frequent urination and dark urine. In addition, the symptoms will not resolve with antibiotics. Beagles with mast cell tumours may have palpable masses on their skin or gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and bloody stool, if the tumours are in their intestine.


Dr. Holly Nash of Doctors Foster and Smith states that there are no definite causes of mast cell tumours. However, there is speculation that they may be caused by viruses, genetics or environmental factors. Philibert suggests that beagles that have been exposed to pesticide dips may be more prone to developing bladder cancer than those who have not. Sprays used to control mosquitoes in marshy or wetland areas may also cause this type of cancer, as well. Moreover, beagles that have taken the drug cyclophosphamide may also be at risk for developing bladder cancer.


Symptoms of bladder cancer are usually also indicative of other conditions, such as urinary tract infections. Therefore, veterinarians will usually need to take radiographs or complete ultrasounds to look for tumours in the bladder and urinary tract. Mastosarcomas are typically diagnosed by drawing out cells from the tumour with a needle and sending it for a biopsy. The veterinarian can also remove the tumour and send it away for a biopsy.


Surgery may be indicated to remove the cancerous tumours in both bladder and mast cell cancers. However, chemotherapy may also be indicated when the tumours cannot be removed or in conjunction with the removal to prevent the cancer from spreading and reoccurring.

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