Dog Esophageal Cancer
From Pet Health Learning Center
Dog Esophageal Cancer
The esophagus is the transportation tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach of your dog. Cancer is very rare in this part of a dogs' body. Cancer is much more likely to appear in other areas of the digestive tract than in the esophagus. Neoplasia is a very aggressive type of cancer and spreads quickly to other areas of a dogâ€™s body. Symptoms can appear quite suddenly and immediate attention is necessary.
The most common types of esophageal cancer are fibrosarcoma, sarcoma and squamous cell. Often the symptoms do not occur until there is some type of blockage or involvement of other organs.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms are very variable from dog to dog. Generally there will be difficulty swallowing, nausea and Dog Vomiting and Dog Lethargy. Malnutrition becomes a real threat due to the dog's inability to swallow and/or keep food down. Due to a Dog Loss of Appetite there may be significant Dog Weight Loss. Pneumonia is also a possibility. Due to the dog's inability to swallow properly, they have the potential to regurgitate food and have the potential to inhale.
It is also possible to get pneumonia after a needle biopsy is done.
Diagnosis is done by the veterinarian after an accurate medical history is obtained. This is followed by a physical examination. If the vet feels the need, a needle aspiration may be performed. And open biopsy may also be necessary to gain access to the other organs in the chest.
Normally a veterinarian will prescribe radiographs. They would generally reveal the presence of gas in the esophageal cavity that is produced by the mass. The mass will be further examined with a contrast x-ray. This will give the vet a better picture of the tumor. A biopsy that shows some tissue death may also be performed.
The nature of this horrific condition makes conventional therapeutic options impossible. There have been chest surgeries performed but without success. It is possible to remove tumors that are located at the opening of the esophagus that leads to the stomach.
Attempts can be made to replace the portions of the esophagus that have been removed with sections of the small bowel or the colon. Their success is also limited.
Short term relief is practically all that can be expected. This can be accomplished by a gastrostomy. This is a permanent opening into the stomach through which food is inserted. This will help maintain the desired nutritional levels of the animal.
The prognosis for esophageal cancer is not good. If the lesions are found to be non-malignant, the potential for removal is greater. Due to the extremely high rate of metastasis with esophageal cancer, the success rates of surgical procedures are negligible. Most important points to consider are observing your dog for unusual eating habits. Be aware of an increase in vomiting or lack of appetite. The weight loss associated with this lack of appetite will cause this to happen quickly. Take your dog to the vet at the first consistent sign of any abnormality.