Signs of liver cancer in dogs

Written by natalie murillo
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Signs of liver cancer in dogs
Liver cancer in dogs is often accompanied by lethargy. (dog image by Michal Tudek from Fotolia.com)

Cancer in dogs that originates in the liver, as opposed to cancer that spreads to the liver from other areas, is most often a type of cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma--a malignant tumour in the liver. According to a PetMD article titled, "Cancer of the Liver in Dogs," dogs that develop liver cancer are typically male and over the age of ten. Canine liver cancer occurs across all breeds and occurs with a variety of signs and symptoms.

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Jaundice

The whites of a dog's eyes may begin to yellow, along with its gums and possibly its skin. This is the result of an abnormally high level of bile acids in the dog's bloodstream.

Loss of Appetite

A dog with liver cancer may become disinterested in food, not finishing its usual portion or even refusing to eat at all. This symptom can be accompanied by weight loss.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Stomach upset in a dog suffering from liver cancer can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, which can be mild to severe in nature. Weight loss can result from this symptom of liver cancer as well.

Increased Thirst

Also known as polydipsia, excessive thirst can be a sign of canine liver cancer. A dog may show a high interest in drinking large amounts of water, even in the absence of an appetite for food. Increased urination can accompany the symptom of excessive thirst.

Weakness/Lethargy

A dog with liver cancer could sleep more than usual or show little interest in moving around or even favourite activities such as going for a walk. It may seem to have difficulty rising from a lying position, and its movements in general can slow and become more hesitant.

Swollen Stomach

The stomach of a dog with liver cancer can appear visibly swollen due to a build-up of fluid in the abdomen or a condition known as hepatomegaly, in which the liver becomes enlarged.

Seizures

In advanced cases of canine liver cancer, toxins can build up in the bloodstream and travel to the brain, which is called hepatic encephalopathy, according to WebVet. This condition leads to seizures or other types of inflammation of the brain.

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