Signs of spleen tumors in dogs

Updated April 17, 2017

The spleen is a vital organ that protects the body against germs in the bloodstream, and filters platelets and worn-out red and white blood cells from the blood. Spleen tumours are a medical condition that affects larger dog breeds as they grow older. Spleen tumours are often indicative of another underlying canine health problem, like spleen or stomach cancer. Knowing the signs can help you get your dog treated closer to the onset of the condition, and alleviate the discomfort and pain associated with spleen tumours.

Distended Belly

Spleen tumours cause abdominal distension, and your dog's belly may feel hard to the touch. You may hear your dog whimpering, because the condition is very painful. Your dog may experience difficulty lying down comfortably, or performing any activity without pain or discomfort. An enlarged spleen can affect your dog's appetite, and it may express little to no interest in food or eating. Due to the discomfort and lack of nutrients, your dog may act weak and lethargic.

Change in Bathroom Habits

One of the prominent signs of spleen tumours is a change in bathroom behaviour. For example, your dog may demonstrate an increased urgency to urinate, and his urine may develop a dark brown colour due to the breakdown of red blood cells or related internal bleeding. Diarrhoea and vomiting are other common symptoms associated with spleen tumours in dogs.

Deteriorating Health

An enlarged spleen can cause spleen tumours to rupture and worsen a dog's health. Dogs may experience significant blood loss, which can cause paleness in the gums and an increased heart rate. Affected dogs appear very weak, and may faint or fall into a coma. According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, seizures can occur if the tumour spreads to the brain. Metastasis is the clinical term for tumour spread; this symptom can also affect the dog's lungs, abdominal organs and bones.

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About the Author

Alyssa Guzman has written online content for eHow and Answerbag since 2010. She is a "journalist of all trades" and writes on many subjects including travel and leisure, animal health, informaton technology, business etiquette and exotic flowering plants. Guzman was a communications studies major at the Florida State University.