Stomach cancer is rare in dogs, and male dogs are more likely to develop it rather than female dogs.
There are four major types of cancers – leukemia, carcinoma, sarcoma and lymphoma. Leukemia is a malignant neoplasm of the blood-forming tissues, and is thus not associated with stomach cancer in dogs. The other three types of cancer can potentially develop in the dog’s stomach. The specific four types of cancer in dogs include:
- Carcinomas – These are malignant cancers derived from the epithelium tissue. Canine stomach cancer usually has a glandular origin and known as adenocarcinoma. This type of cancer usually spreads to the liver, causing secondary liver cancer in dogs.
- Mast cell tumors – Mast cells are present in the digestive tract, skin, nose and lungs and a part of the immune system. Cancers associated with these are called mast cell cancers.
- Sarcomas – These consist of mostly leiomyosarcomas, which are sarcoma of smooth muscle like walls of the stomach.
- Lymphomas – These are malignant cancers of the lymph tissue.
Stomach cancer may manifest with symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, whining and growling, appetite loss, abnormal behavior and disturbed bowel movement. The course of dog cancer follows practically the same route regardless of where it occurs.
Treatment of gastric tumors depends on whether the tumor has metastasized. Chemotherapy is ineffective against stomach cancer, and radiation is not advisable due to the proximity of delicate organs near the stomach. Therefore, surgical excision is the preferred mode of treatment if metastasis has not occurred — except in the case of lymphomas. Sometimes the tumor is so large that it may restrict the entry of food in the stomach. In such cases, there may be a need for a bypass surgery. Bypass surgery only helps in keeping the dog alive and does not really cure the cancer.
Stomach cancer in dogs tends to metastasize rapidly. It is also prone to recur frequently. Prognosis of stomach cancer is extremely poor in dogs and the pet is not likely to survive for more than six months regardless of the treatment. During the course of the disease and treatment, the dog is liable to experience abnormal weight loss, which may interfere with the ability of the dog to bear cancer treatment. This also inhibits the immune system. Homeopathic cancer treatment for dogs and a diet specifically meant for cancer patients can help a lot in improving the quality of the life of your pet.