Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

What is Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma)?

Intestinal cancer is fairly rare in dogs. When it does occur, though, intestinal tumors are normally located in the colon and rectum, though sometimes they can be found in the small intestines. Intestinal tumors can be benign or malignant, though adenocarcinomas are malignant. This means they have the potential to metastasize, or spread to other areas of the body. Most animals diagnosed with intestinal tumors are middle-aged or older, and male dogs have a higher predisposition. Certain breeds, such as Collies and German Shepherds, are more likely to develop adenocarcinoma. Possible symptoms of adenocarcinomas include weight loss, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. The most preferred treatment is surgical removal of the tumor, though chemotherapy and anti-inflammatories may be used as alternatives or in conjunction with surgery. Immediately following surgery the dog should be monitored for complication. In many cases of malignant tumors, especially where the tumor has metastasized, dogs only live for anywhere between 3 and 15 months.

Adenocarcinomas are malignant tumors found in the glandular structures in the epithelial tissue. While intestinal cancer is rare in dogs, most intestinal tumors are malignant and therefore, prognosis is not good.

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $12,000

Average Cost

$7,500

Symptoms of Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

Symptoms of intestinal tumors are usually gastrointestinal signs, and in early stages they may not be distinguishable from other, less serious gastrointestinal diseases. Some of the symptoms of intestinal tumors, including adenocarcinomas, are:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody vomit or feces
  • Ascites (build-up of fluid in the stomach, causing swelling)
  • Feces that appears black or tarry
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Tenesmus (trouble defecating)
  • Hematochezia (feces that appear maroon, resulting from blood)
  • Peritonitis (inflamed peritoneum)

Types

Most intestinal tumors are malignant, though there are some cases where they are benign, particularly in the rectum, though malignant tumors develop in this location as well. Adenocarcinomas are only one type of intestinal tumors. Others include:

  • Lymphoma – cancer of the lymph nodes
  • Leiomyosarcoma – a cancer of the connective tissues in the body
  • Extramedullary plasmacytoma – a mass of neoplastic monoclonal plasma cells in soft tissue
  • Extraskeletal osteosarcoma – rare cancer of the soft tissue
  • Mast cell tumors – cancer of a blood cell involved in the body’s response to allergens and inflammation
  • Hemangiosarcoma – cancer in the lining of the blood vessels, occurring primarily in dogs and cats
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

As with most cancers, the cause of adenocarcinoma is not really known. Male dogs ranging between six and nine years in age are more regularly affected than females and other ages. Breed predilection includes Collies and German Shepherds. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

Your veterinarian may do a number of diagnostic tests to rule out other causes and determine the severity of the tumor so the best treatment option can be pursued. Some of these diagnostic tests include: 

  • Physical exam
  • Abdominal palpation
  • Abdominal X-rays
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Blood test
  • Chemistry profile
  • Laparoscopy (surgery using thin, lighted tube to evaluate abdominal organs)
  • Exploratory laparotomy (surgery involving an incision through the stomach wall to see the inside of the stomach)
  • Aspirate (drawing of fluid from the stomach using needle)
  • Endoscopy (a non-surgical procedure using a tube-like camera to obtain visuals of the digestive tract)
  • Exploratory surgery
  • Histopathology (a study of a tissue sample obtained from the tumor)
arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

  • Surgery is the most likely course of treatment for adenocarcinomas. Full recovery is dependent on complete removal of the tumor, which is often difficult to achieve.
  • Chemotherapy may be recommended as an alternative to surgery, especially in cases where tumors have metastasized.
  • Prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) for inflammation reduction. This may also kill tumor cells for carcinomas.
  • Special diets or other medications may be used depending on symptoms and accompanying conditions.
arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

If the tumor is not completely removed, there should be careful monitoring for complications, such as dehiscence (the wound rupturing along the surgical incision) and septic abdomen (leakage of intestinal contents into the stomach) which will require emergency surgery.  Prognosis relies largely on the severity of the tumor and how much it has spread, but in most cases the prognosis is grim. Many dogs with metastatic adenocarcinomas only live around 3-15 months after treatment. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $12,000

Average Cost

$7,500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Gizmo

dog-breed-icon

Spaniel mix

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

No Appetite Loose Mucous Bowels
No Appetite

My dog has just been diagnosed with intestinal cancer. He also has a heart murmur. He has had x rays and an ultra sound plus the vet did an aspiration. What are his chances of recovery. He is 12years old.n

Nov. 18, 2017

Gizmo's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

There are many variables in this case; the specific type of cancer, level of regional lymph node involvement, any metastasis, local invasion of other issues, successful surgical excision (depending on severity of heart murmur and the results of preanaesthetic blood tests) and chemotherapy or radiotherapy given afterwards. These are really a case by case basis and you should speak with your Veterinarian about Gizmo’s specific case. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 19, 2017

His diagnosis is intestinal adenocarcinoma. The specialist has said it would require surgery. Surgery is going to require taking the tumor out and a part of the colon and then joining them. Would chemo be required after the surgery from what I have been told the tumor is not large. What would his prognosis be if we go ahead with the surgery

Nov. 25, 2017

Gizmo's Owner


Can you update on gizmo? My dog has the same thing.

Jan. 11, 2018

Lsw M.


Any update on Gizmo? My dog has same thing.

Jan. 11, 2018

Lsw M.

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Bonnie

dog-breed-icon

Golden Retreiver

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My 13 year old female golden retriever was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma about 4 months ago. After her spleen was removed She seems quite well at the moment and I wondered the life expectancy, I have heard between 2 and 6 months?

Nov. 3, 2017

Bonnie's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Life expectancy varies widely and the two to six month timeline is where the majority of cases will fall when you are reading literature; life expectancy is something I like to stay out of, especially if I haven’t examined a patient because when I was a student someone tried sue a Veterinarian I was shadowing because the cat lived two days longer than his estimate (needless to say it never progressed further than an initial letter). Life expectancy from reputable sources will normally indicate the life expectancy for cases with and without chemotherapy and will give an indication of the percentage of patients surviving after three months, six months, twelve months and two years. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 3, 2017

My 2 year old pitbull was just let go due to a tumor side of a hotdog wrapped around his intestine. Was there more we could have done?

Dec. 12, 2017

Misty Waddle

Was this experience helpful?

Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $12,000

Average Cost

$7,500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

advertisement image
ask a vet placeholder
Need pet insurance?