Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $3,000 - 15,000

Average Cost

$8,500

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What is Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma)?

Primary liver cancer accounts for less than 1.5% of all tumors in dogs. The most common type of cancer to originate in the liver is hepatocellular carcinoma. This cancer is believed to form on stem cells in the liver and it can grow to be quite large. It is responsible for about 50% of the liver tumors found in dogs. In some cases, the tumor can be identified as a palpable mass in a dog’s stomach. Often dogs present the typical symptoms of liver disease, but some tumors can be non-symptomatic for quite some time. Eventually, the tumor will cause serious abdominal hemorrhage. This type of cancer is slow growing; however, left untreated, it will cause cell death and cirrhosis of the liver and eventually lead to end-stage liver disease. It can metastasize to other areas of the body, most commonly to other organs in the abdomen, but this is less likely than with more aggressive forms of cancer. Surgery is possible with many tumors, and dogs have a good chance of recovery as long as the entire mass is removed. More diffuse tumors, including several lobes or even the entire liver, are much harder to treat. Cancers on the left lobe usually have a better chance of being successfully removed. This type of cancer is more common in older dogs, around 10-12 years of age.

Cancers often spread to the liver with metastasis, but primary liver cancer is rare in dogs. The most common tumor to originate in the liver is hepatocellular carcinoma. This is a slowly developing cancer. Many cases are treatable with surgery, but it will depend on the type and location of the tumor.

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Symptoms of Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) in Dogs

Hepatocellular carcinoma is much easier to treat in the early stages. Take your dog to see a veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy 
  • Abdominal distention
  • Mass can be felt in the stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Ascites (fluid in the abdomen)
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Ulcers
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (disorientation, circling, aggression, seizures coma)

Types

Hepatocellular carcinomas are defined by the type of tumor they form.

  • Massive – the cancer forms as a single, discrete mass; as the name implies, it can grow to be very large; sometimes there is one large mass and several smaller ones in a different part of the liver; these tumors are easier to remove since they form a distinct growth
  • Nodular – the cancer forms several nodes or smaller masses;  nodes may be located on one or more lobes of the liver; these tumors still form a discrete mass, but they are more likely to metastasize and spread than massive tumors
  • Diffuse – the cancer may involve the most of the liver; cancerous cells are not well differentiated from healthy cells, so they can be difficult to remove
  • Hepatocellular adenoma – this is a non-cancerous tumor that is the benign form of hepatocellular carcinoma; large tumors can still be a problem if they rupture and bleed, or if they put pressure on other abdominal organs

Causes of Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) in Dogs

It’s not known what causes liver cancer to form. It is less common in dogs under 9 years old, so age is a factor. Some studies have noted a higher rate of incidence in Miniature Schnauzers, and others have found more tendency to liver cancer among male dogs, but this hasn’t been widely confirmed. 

Diagnosis of Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) in Dogs

The veterinarian will examine your dog physically. If a mass is felt on the liver, this will be a good indication of a hepatocellular tumor. If your dog has symptoms of liver dysfunction, cancer may be suspected as the cause, based on age and the elimination of other factors. Blood and urine tests will indicate the degree of liver failure that is present and help to determine whether your dog is healthy enough for surgery. Some bloodwork may require fasting. Abnormal liver enzymes may suggest the presence of a tumor or even show the type of cancer, but bloodwork isn’t often conclusive. 

A definitive diagnosis will be based on magnetic imaging. Massive tumors are visible on an abdominal X-ray. Ultrasound can identify smaller more diffuse tumors and help to show metastasis. Ultrasound guided biopsies and aspirates may be needed to determine if the tissue is cancerous or benign. The veterinarian may need to evaluate the coagulation level in your dog’s blood before these tests, since tumors may hemorrhage during biopsy. Additional x-rays, ultrasound, or other magnetic imaging tests could be ordered to check for metastasis in other parts of the body.

The veterinarian will want to know your dog’s age and medical history, including any prior problems with the liver. A detailed description of the symptoms will also be helpful.

Treatment of Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) in Dogs

Treatment will depend on a veterinarian’s diagnoses. Surgery is the best option, but in some cases it may not be possible. Nodular or diffuse tumors can be difficult to operate on, and tumors with a high degree of hemorrhage may pose too big a risk. If your dog has symptoms of acute liver failure, he will not be healthy enough for surgery unless this condition can be stabilized.

The veterinarian will discuss the amount of risk involved with surgery. Your dog may need to stay in a veterinary hospital for a number of days after surgery for monitoring. The liver can regrow itself, so dogs can recover even if a large amount of the liver has to be removed, but the veterinarian will need to ensure the liver is functioning adequately before sending your dog home. Biopsies will be taken during surgery to check for metastasis in other parts of the liver. It’s likely the veterinarian will put your dog on a low protein, low sodium diet to avoid unnecessary stress on the liver.

Chemotherapy may be ordered for tumors that are inoperable or if metastasis was noted at the time of surgery. Chemotherapy drugs are administered by injection for approximately 3 or 4 weeks, or as long as the veterinarian thinks necessary. Each chemotherapy appointment will last at least 1 ½ hours for adequate testing and administration. Dogs don’t usually experience hair loss, but they can have quite severe gastrointestinal side effects.

Recovery of Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) in Dogs

Massive or benign tumors that are fully removed with surgery have a good prognosis. Many dogs don’t have recurrence and may live for a number of years after the operation. The veterinarian may recommend a long-term diet change. 

Dogs with inoperable tumors have a low chance of recovery. Chemotherapy can sometimes slow the progression of the cancer, but only for a matter of months. Symptoms may progress gradually since this is not an aggressive cancer, but they will eventually become severe. The chance of your dog’s recovery will be evaluated by a veterinarian upon diagnosis.

Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

NASTUREL
Mix breed
10 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Vomiting,apathetic,loss apetite

My name is Cristina Sararoiu and I am from Bucharest, Romania. I have a 10 year old dog, Nasturel, he had spleen removed due to a massive tumor of 2 kg in August 2017, dog status was Ok but on ultrasound made on 08.01.2018 it was revealed: LIVER: Asymmetric hepatomegaly-left lobe is replaced by a formation of at least 14,65 / 10,44 cm in sagittal section, heterogeneous aspect, without vascular signal at Doppler interrogation; the right lobe shows contour, dimensions and normal echo-structure. Non-dilated vascular system. Non-expanded bile ducts. Porta hepatis is compressed and deformed by the hepatic formation that emerges from the left lobe. VP = 0.36cm ø. Aorta = 0.70cm ø. VP / Ao ratio = 0.51 (low). No ultrasound detectable peri-portal lymphadenopathies. STOMACH: In the back region, the wall is thickened to a thickness of 1.17 cm, hypo-echogenic aspect without further distinguishing of parietal stratification. Gaseous content that partially prevents the examination of dorsal wall. Peristalsis cannot be evaluated. The ultrasound appearance of the liver and back-end of stomach pleads for a malignant neoplastic process.
At first time, needle aspiration from spleen did not show a malignant process but after 6 months the liver tumor appeared.
Question is: can I try surgery to remove the tumor that Nasturel has now in liver?
THANK YOU in advance for answering, Truly Yours, Cristina

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
The question isn’t easy to answer and whilst a lot of important information is included with your question, it is down to the attending Veterinarian to determine if they are comfortable with performing the surgery and if they expect a favourable outcome. I wouldn’t go ahead with this surgery, but liver lobectomies are common procedures now and you should consult with a Specialist if you haven’t done so already. Also, other factors need to be considered like response to previous anaesthesia and recovery, Nasturel’s general health among other factors. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you very much for the quick response. We went with Nasturel to two specialists and unfortunately one appreciated that this is a terminal stage for him and the other doctor estimated that he has two more weeks to live... They both excluded surgery due to the high risk of internal bleeding and risk to lose Nasturel on the table. Also, chemotherapy and radiotherapy were ruled out due to the high risks - in addition chemotherapy means biopsy and another general anesthesia. Nasturel status is not that bad, he started eating and stopped vomiting, just that he makes high fever each day (40 Celsius degrees) which we fight to decrease and keep in a comfortable margin. He gets his pain medication, plus RX onco-support. We did not quit hoping and fighting for him and with him. Thank you again very-very much, Yours sincerely, Cristina

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Nico
Bichon
11 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

I took my Bichon to the emergency last night because he did not greet me like he always did, he was laying there and could not move much, so I called my vet because I noticed he vomited his food this week, but he was energetic and seemed normal. I thought he ate too fast or the air was too dry but did not think anything because he did not show any other signs. So the emergency Dr. took X-ray, ultrasound and blood work. His gum was white, so they gave him some oxygen. Then the worst case scenario- said that his spleen was ruptured and bleeding. So, they need to do surgery but might not have good results since he is 11 Year’s old. I decided to take him home because he would be much more comfortable and see what happens. In the morning he ate salmon and drank some water and went pee three times. I agonized what to do and what is the right thing for my beloved dog. So I decided if there is a chance to prolong his life and qualify, I will do the surgery. They did another full ultrasound and came back told me he had tumors all over his liver and can’t operate. I’m still in a daze. I’m not sure what they said but that he might as well go home and keep him comfortable. When the time comes to euthanize him, then to call my vet or them. I am not sure what he has, spleen ruptured or bleeding from the liver. I never thought my little boy would get cancer or sick like this. I don’t have the words to describe my heartbreak. Is there anything I can do to keep him healthy and comfortable without euthanasing my little love? I am trying to be positive and optimistic but I want to know what else Can I do to see if there are alternatives?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
Without examining Nico I cannot say specifically what the cause is but I believe that Nico may have hemangiosarcoma of the spleen which has spread to the liver; in these cases surgery is unrewarding and treatment is directed towards palliative care. Unfortunately I cannot give you any further advice apart from keep him rested and hydrated as well as enjoy the time together that you have left. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/splenic-masses

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Diva
terrier
11 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Medication Used

antibiotic

Hi,
My name is Georgeta and I have a terrier mixet calling DIVA. Recently we find she've got an accumulation of calcium with lots of liquid around, on her left liver. Dr said is osible to be cancer.
I have all the blood result and pictures of scan.What should I do next, because I can't trust 100%. Dr said is gone speak with a few drs and maybe we have to take out one of the liver.
Please give me an advise or where I should go to double check?
thanks

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
For cases like this I generally recommend PetRays as they have US board certified Oncologists and deal only with second opinion telemedicine. I’ve included a link to their page on Oncology, all you need to do is contact them and forward the case file, radiology images and histopathology images to them. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://petrays.com/specialists/oncology/

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Brownie
Shih-Tzu
15 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

mass found on liver
internal bleeding

Our Brownie a 15 year old Shih-Tzu had suddenly fallen ill, we took him to the hospital last night and dx showed bleeding of a mass on his liver. They kept him overnight and gave him fluids but did not feel a transfusion was needed. They did blood work this morning and the doctor feels that the bleeding has stopped since his count has "held well". The doctor indicated that his liver was functioning the enzymes were "mild" he was walking, cheery and showed interest in eating, although still weak ("to be expected due to the loss of blood") We are given option to make, 1) give medication to help prevent the liver from bleeding or 2) start the process for surgery by xray and ct-scan to see if the mass has spread and if he is a candidate for surgery and they indicated they would do this if we were opting to go into surgery. Surgery to remove the mass and determine its status. I'm just so emotional that I am unsure what to do in this case, being he is 15 years old and has a heart murmur (cardiology work was done 6 mos ago and no meds needed). He is a spunky little guy without any other known health issues, besides loss of hearing and cataracts. Should we go through and do the surgery to remove the mass or start the medication hoping for the best. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
Ultimately the decision to go through with the surgery is down to you, generally I shy away from surgery in animals which are reaching their life expectancy age (10-15 years for Shih Tzus); however, if your Veterinarian believes that Brownie will tolerate the surgery and has a good chance, then it is to be considered. Heart murmurs are scary but many do not cause any reason for alarm from a surgical point of view, also if Brownie’s bloodwork was otherwise ‘mild’ it may be worth going through with surgery. It is just a case of balancing risk versus benefit and the cost of the surgery along with recovery time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Fluffy
Indian Spitz
15 Years
Critical condition
1 found helpful
Critical condition

Hello. My pet dog (Indian Spitz) is diagnosed with diffuse liver tumor by vet. She’s 15 Years old. She’s been vomiting since last few weeks, very inactive and experiencing loss of appetite. The vet isn’t recommending surgery. I’m afraid if this tumor can cause severe pain to her in near future? Please advice ASAP what will be the best course of action right now. Thanks.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
Whilst the tumour isn’t generally painful, it can cause issues in the body like obstruction of bile ducts or other issues which may lead to pain; it is important to put Fluffy on a prescription diet and to give supplements like Denamarin (silybin and SAMe) which assist liver function. Surgery isn’t advisable in a dog Fluffy’s age and palliative care would be the best course of action. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thanks for the prompt response. Much appreciated.

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Max
Cairne terrier
13 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Mass In Abdomen

Medication Used

Denemarin , previcox. And pain med

My dog Max is a 13 yr old Cairne Terriers who was recently diagnosed with a liver tumor. Uttrasound was done - shows a large tumor that has displaced the stomach to the side, biopsy showed it was not sarcoma- Adenoma vs carcinoid. Went to a a specialty surgeon who indicated the tumor is large, mostly felt on the right side. Said she could operate but it was difficult to tell just how involved the tumor was could do a ct scan of the abdomen but didn't feel it would offer must help to differentiate how involved tumor was. She indicated to question surgery on a dog that was 13 yrs old when his life was 12-15 yrs old. I made the decision to let him be but now I am wondering if I made the right decision and the thought of the tumor getting bigger and causing him pain is more than I can take. I wonder if I should try the surgery so that he doesn't suffer from the enlarging tumor. The surgeon told me the surgery is involved and he would be in ice for 1-2 days at the surgical center, going home on the 3 days.
I wound not have know he was sick except I felt a lump in his abdomen and his lab show liver enzymes elevated but they had not increased in 6 months.
X-ray showed his lungs are clear and not tumors see.
Lately he is being a picky eater, doesn't like to jump up, whining for treats a lot.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
It is always difficult to make a decision on whether you should operate or not given his age, the invasiveness of the tumour may make complete excision impossible with adequate margins. It isn’t a surprise that he isn’t jumping with the liver mass as it would cause discomfort with that type of activity due to its weight. The decision to operate should be made between you and the Veterinarian performing the surgery, I cannot weigh in as I haven’t examined him. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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sheba
Rat Terrier
10 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

My 10 yr old rat terrier had elevated ALP and ALT, first detected in June 2017.
-1st abdominal US in July showed irregular and thickened liver lobe left side measuring 3.9 cm in width and parenchyma mottled in that lobe and a left adrenal nodule. All other organs normal, including pancreas. FNA of liver shows hepatocytes with mild atypia, vacuolar change, and hemodilution.

Saw a surgeon in Sept. US of abdomen repeated. Results with mixed echogenicity left liver. Most likely neoplasia. 5 cm in length. FNA shows marked chronic active inflammation, necrosis, mineralization, chronic hemorrhage, and well-differentiated hepatocytes with mild lipid accumulation. Hepatocytes are either hyperplasia or well differentiated neoplasia. All other organs normal, including pancreas.

Surgery in October, 2017 to presumably remove liver lobe. Vet said mass too high up to remove in liver. Said she saw a mass of pancreas. Did a biopsy of each mass. Liver biopsy shows chronic hepatitis and adenoma. No pancreas biopsy found. Said that maybe the sample she submitted was from liver, not pancreas. No malignancy found though from biopsies.

US of pancreas on 11/10 shows mass. FNA done from pancreas which shows hepatocytes, well differentiated.

Surgeon wants to open up abdomen again, to explore and maybe do another biopsy.

Please advise as to what you think may be going on.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
Adenoma in the liver is a benign slow growing tumour which is normally treated by surgical excision, however sometimes the location or size of the tumour can make excision impossible; in these cases a chemotherapy route may be taken. Hepatocytes in the pancreas are not an unusual finding and may be found in cases of hepatic injury but the pancreatic mass is concerning. I do not feel that I can add more value to Sheba’s case; however I would recommend getting copies of ultrasound images and histopathology images and forwarding to PetRays for a consultation as they have board certified Oncologists who would be able to give you a better second opinion. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Missy
Shitzu
13 years
Critical condition
1 found helpful
Critical condition

my very active 13 year old shih Tzu had her spleen removed in August the 13th. we have been watching her for a while because she kept getting sick. I had an ultra should done in June of 2017 and she showed nodules in her spleen then a tumor in august and the oncologist told me that she did not think it was cancer and it turned out to be after the biopsy came back being sarcoma. Now November 2 she had another ultrasound after the liver was biopsied during the surgery with no cancer in it but some type of little marks in it but no cancer. Long story short she has a tumor with some nodules in her liver now a 2.5 cm. She is very active and playful like a puppy but am thinking the way this is growing she won't be here long. I don't think I can put her through much more but I have been so depressed over this and she is my baby and I love her more than anything. I lost another shih Tzu in 2004 to lymphoma she was 7.5 years at diagnoses and we tried chemo and it tortured her. thank you in advance.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
It can be difficult to determine whether to continue with treatment (surgery/chemo) or to take each day as it comes and offer palliative care once she reaches that stage; I would suggest to start making changes to diet (high quality, low quantity protein) and liver support (Denamarin) to give as much time as possible. Obviously you should discuss with your Veterinarian Missy’s numbers and current situation; but given her age you have a few choice to make. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you so much I did not put her on chemo because it never helped my other pup and her age. she was just running thorough the house playing. I am so devastated over losing her that I just wish to God I could save her.

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Lucy
Schnoodle
12 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Medication Used

metronidazole
prednisone

My 12 year old schnoodle Lucy was diagnosed with metastatic neoplasia in July 2017. She started vomiting, panting, and shaking so I took her to my local vet. The x-ray had a shadow, so we took Her for an abdominal ultrasound. The radiologist said that she had a 6-7 cm lobular soft tissue mass, suspected to be from the caudate lobe. The mass contacts and displaces the portal vein and bile duct. There was another mass adjacent to the left kidney, which may be arising from the adrenal gland. We were told by the radiologist that the prognosis was not good, if we elected to do surgery, it is likely that another tumor would be found within 6 months, and we should consider puttting her down. My local vet told us that we could try prednisone 5 mg daily and see how she responded, also put her on Royal Canin gastrointestinal low fat food. It has now been more than 3 months and she seems to be in great health. She started to refuse the Royal Canin diet and lost a significant amount of weight so I started her on a homemade diet consisting of boiled chicken breast, sweet potatoes, white rice, and pasta. She is active, eating well, and virtually symptom free. Do you think at her age it would be beneficial to have the tumors removed? Is the current homemade diet a good one for her? My vet said that a high-fat diet is not good for dogs with liver cancer, but everything I’ve been reading is saying that fat is ok, but high protein is not.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
A decision to operate would be at your Veterinarian’s discretion as they need to be comfortable with the surgery and the risk to benefit balance; generally a low quantity high quality diet is recommended for dogs with liver problems (failure/cancer etc…) along with some liver support like silybin or SAMe. Another ultrasound would be useful to compare with the original one to see if there has been any changes since; surgery is still a difficult one to call since the location of the liver mass is in an unfavourable place and a surgical margin would be impossible. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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B
Golden Doodle
10 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Excessive thirst Some weight loss
Excessive Thirst

Hi there,

A 10 cm x 6 cm mass was located on my golden doodle's liver (he recently had an ultrasound). Our vet and the ultrasound specialist have predicted that it is a cancerous mass. Having given strong consideration to our vet's recommendations, we have decided not to pursue surgical removal of the mass at this time. Our dog was given a life expectancy of approximately 2 months. Heartbreaking news... Should the mass in fact be benign, is it likely that he would live beyond this estimate? In other words, should 5 months pass and we not notice a considerable decline in our doodle, should we reconsider surgery? Or will a benign mass prove equally devastating (2 month/short life expectancy).

Thank-you very much.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
I noticed that you have asked two questions about B on our site and will answer both of them in one response. Liver masses may be either benign or malignant, but just because a mass is benign doesn’t mean it cannot cause problems locally with the liver reducing the liver’s capacity to work or obstruction bile flow etc...; also you mentioned in the first question that some lymph nodes are enlarged, I would highly recommend a fine needle aspirate or two should be taken from some lymph nodes and sent for histopathology to see if any cancerous cells are present. At ten years old, if the mass is operable and B is in relatively good health otherwise, I would consider and recommend surgery given the circumstances. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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B
Golden Doodle
10
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Excessive thirst / some weight loss

Medication Used

N/A

Hello,

My 10 year old golden doodle recently had an abdominal ultrasound. A 10 cm x 6 cm mass was located on his liver. It is presumed cancerous. The vet noticed a few swollen lymph nodes as well. He is full of energy and acts like a puppy despite his age... only symptoms are excessive thirst and some weight loss. He has a strong appetite. We have been told that surgery is an option but wonder if it would be fair to put him through the stress.. The vet estimates approx. 2 months of life left if it is in fact cancerous, which she feels strongly about. Any thoughts?

Thank-you

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
I noticed that you have asked two questions about B on our site and will answer both of them in one response. Liver masses may be either benign or malignant, but just because a mass is benign doesn’t mean it cannot cause problems locally with the liver reducing the liver’s capacity to work or obstruction bile flow etc...; also you mentioned in the first question that some lymph nodes are enlarged, I would highly recommend a fine needle aspirate or two should be taken from some lymph nodes and sent for histopathology to see if any cancerous cells are present. At ten years old, if the mass is operable and B is in relatively good health otherwise, I would consider and recommend surgery given the circumstances. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Anny
Australian cattle dog
6-ish
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

occasional vomiting, ascites, tired

I took Anny to the vet yesterday because she hasn't been her playful self, was vomiting clear fluid occasionally and had a bloated abdomen. They performed bloodwork and x-rays. The x-rays weren't helpful as her belly is so full of fluid, her organs can't be seen. Her bloodwork came back with MCHC 28.7 (ref 30-37.5), EOS .07 (ref .10-1.49), PLT 554 (ref 175-500), TP 2.9 (ref 5.2-8.2), ALB 1.3 (ref 2.3-4), GLOB 1.6 (ref 2.5-4.5), and ALT 291 (ref 10-125). We're trying to get her to reabsorb the ascites as he believes that is where her protein is. He doesn't believe she'd live through a biopsy with her protein so low, so he can't be sure of a dx, but thinks she may have liver cancer. Does this seem like a reasonable assumption? He also said that nothing much can be done if that is the case. I currently live in small town after living in the Dallas area for years and want to make sure this is not an issue of vets not having the same resources as the big city.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
Ascites is not a surprise with low protein levels that Anny has, was any fluid taken for analysis? Also was any urine analysed as well? Liver cancer is a strong possibility, but an ultrasound should be available to your Veterinarian (or another in the town) to check the liver and the abdomen in general. Diuretics would be a good starting point to try to reduce the level of fluid in the abdomen, furosemide and possibly another diuretic may be used to help reduce the ascites; drainage may be required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Mufasa
Chow Chow
11 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Continually thirsty
Losing weight although eating regularly

Medication Used

Rimadyl

My male chow is 11 yours old, drinking lots of water and eating both his own and his sister's food. I took him to our vet today and he was tested for sugar as well as blood panel. All was well untill they did a sonar and x-ray of abdomen and chest and found a 8cm mass in the liver. The blood test have now been sent to histology but chances are likely it is cancer. He is still quite active, although grumpy at times. Would you advise surgery at his age, he is in general a healthy dog with slight arthritis for which he has been on chronic medicine the last six month. I do not want to loose my boy but also do not want to cause him pain and discomfort. Please advise.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
A singular liver mass should be easily removed with surgery, if there were other masses detected, then surgery may not have been a viable option. If your Veterinarian believes that Mufasa is in suitable health for surgery then it would be advisable to proceed as we are unable to get a full diagnosis until a biopsy is taken; once the mass is removed then it can be sent for histopathology. It is important to note that surgery may not be advisable if there would be an inadequate amount of liver left to perform physiological function within the body. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Maggie
Jack Russell Terrier
16 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Hi took my 16 yr old dog to vet last week as she had stopped eating and lost a lit of weight..vet scanned her and said she had large tumour in tummy..said she could have days weeks let.prescribed prednicortone ..she has brightened up a bit and is eating..i am heartbroken i wish she had months left.ut is all too sudden..in your opinion how long would you think she has left?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
The type of tumour, the specific location and Maggie’s overall health will have a bearing on the overall outcome. I cannot give for you any specifics because there are too many variables; however with Maggie’s age, any further diagnostics would be unrewarding and unsuitable. It is more important that you ensure that Maggie has comfort in the final stage of her life and is surrounded by people she loves. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Penny
Golden Retriever mix
5 years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

abdominal distention
Depression
Increased Urination
Weight gain
Increased thirst
Diarrhea
Lethargy
elevated liver enzymes
looks sad and in distress
elevated calcium levels

Medication Used

none

for 2.5yrs Me and my 2 dogs where progressively getting sicker and sicker but I did not know why until I found the toxic mold (including stachybotrys, chaetomium, penicillium/aspergillus, ascospores, cladosporium, to name a few) I had taken my dogs to the vet over and over again, knowing something was wrong. But they were never able to find anything. Although there was one time about 1.5 yrs ago where the Calcium levels were way too high on one of my dogs, and they even prepared me for cancer to be found. But further labs did not support cancer. So, they said they couldn't find anything.
Once I moved out of the mold house, I put great effort into finding a vet that had experience dealing with mold illness in dogs. I found one that advertised that they had experience, and took both of my dogs to that vet 3 months ago. All of the medical records for both of my dogs was sent to the new vet. I spent $900 on each dog for a full and complete workup...including all of the labs, xrays, etc. Both of my dogs are very overweight, and I told the vet that the former vet and I never could explain the weight gain since the dogs don't eat that much. The labs came back showing the liver enzymes were high, and the vet even diagnosed one of the dogs as having peritonitis (although she did not prescribe antibiotics. Why would she not prescribe antibiotics?)
The dogs continued to show signs of ill health, and I took them back 2 more times. They said that they could not find anything.
About 2 weeks ago, one of my dogs was vomiting profusely, and had stool so encased in mucous that it looked like sausage and was in distress. I took her to the ER and they found on xray and sonogram a 10cm liver mass as well as free fluid in the abdomen. She underwent emergency surgery to save her life. The pathology report came back as hepatocellular carcinoma with ascites.
HCC is a slow growing cancer, so this did not just pop up overnight. How do you miss a 10cm mass in the abdomen of a dog that weighs 65#? The Vet knew of the exposure to aspergillus (which causes HCC), as well as all of the other symptoms (weight gain, abdominal distention, increased liver enzymes, irregular labs, increased thirst, diarrhea, frequent urination, lethargy, depression, etc) I understand that sometimes these masses don't show up on xray, but running a sonogram on my dog was not even something that she suggested as an additional diagnostic measure, or I would have consented to that without a second thought.
Had she caught this 3 months ago, or any of the other times that I had taken my dogs in, the surgery would have been elective, the condition would not have pushed my dog to the brink of death, and it would not have been as traumatic for the dog or myself. Not to mention the cost difference.
What is the growth rate of HCC tumors in dogs? And how can one possibly miss a 10cm mass?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
I am unable to answer for your Veterinarian for why a liver mass wasn’t detected earlier; luckily the growth and spread of this type of tumour is slow and is usually only locally invasive when removed. Ultrasound is the diagnostic method of choice, but your Veterinarian may not have chosen to perform an ultrasound as the symptoms may not have lead her to that step (as I said I cannot speak for them). Peritonitis may be septic (infectious) or aseptic (urine, bile etc…), so depending on the type of peritonitis antibiotics may not have been required but the underlying cause should have been investigated. As for not detecting the mass, I cannot comment both from a legal point of view and also I wasn’t there during the examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/generalized-conditions/peritonitis/overview-of-peritonitis

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rusty
Small Mixed
13 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

very large abdomen with in two weeks

my dog of 13 years was showing a extended abdomen & vomiting brought to vet gave him a shot for the vomiting & antibiotic thinking pancreaties it brought his swelling down while i was there they took blood work called & said his enzymes were off the charts after he was off the meds we gave him is allergy meds & abdomen came back took back to vet took ex-ray & saw a mass in the liver they feel it could be cancer should i go to a specialist about surgery it's been three weeks & the same meds are not working & i added milk thistle to his diet he starting to not to want to eat as much but he still going to the bathroom 1&2 i feel the mass is to much pressure on him so he shying away from food. Please help thank you Lori Smith

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations

There are different types of liver masses which vary in severity, in order to progress a diagnosis an ultrasound and fine needle aspirate of the mass is required to determine the types of cells present to help direct the course of treatment. Unless a definitive diagnosis is made, supportive therapy is the usual course of treatment consisting of dietary management, fluids and liver supplements. If a cancer diagnosis is made, surgery would be the best option is the liver enzymes can be stabilised; otherwise chemotherapy would be the next option. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

How did rusty get on?
My dog was called rusty.He was a beautiful brindle staffy.
Diagnosed with liver cancer and put to sleep the next day as too far advanced last July.I am still broken hearted.
We took him to have a check up 3 months before and the vet missed it and told us he was in full health!
He was only 10,miss him so much.☹️

The same happened the other day for my 10 year old Goldendoodle, Max. I just brought him in to have a checkup and they said he needed emergency surgery and they opened him up and said it was really bad so they put him to sleep. Such a shock and we didn't even get to say a proper goodbye. 💔😢😰💔💔💔💔💔❤️

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I welled up in tears when I read your post. The same thing happened to me. Took my dog in 3 months ago, did a full workup including xrays. Vet said everything was fine. 2 weeks ago my dog was so sick I had to take her to the ER. They found a 10cm mass. 10cm is about 4 inches in diameter. That is huge! How do you miss a 10cm mass?

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Kenzie
Gordon setter mix
8 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Enlarged liver, red blood cell low, liver count hi

Medication Used

Phenabarbital

Hi my little girl is Kenzie. She is a 8 yr old Gordon setter mix. The night before we had a issue where her gums spots had turned white a she was acting very different. Staring off had a rough night . Took her into vet had blood work done and ultrasound and X-rays done. They showed her liver as being somewhat enlarged and they said it had an dark spot on it. She is on phenabarbital for seizures and they think she could have some form of liver cancer. Her red blood cell count was low and her liver count was high. They want an internal medicine doctor to check her out and do another ultrasound and then a biopsy . I am wondering if the spot is cancer is liver cancer curable. I have read they give animals with this a 3-6 months after being diagnosed. Is there anything I can do to bring up red blood cell count at home? Thank you

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations

Many factors determine prognosis including: size, type, operability, general health and response to treatment. The red blood cell counts may decrease due to increased destruction or an decrease in production; the kidney is responsible for the stimulating the production of red blood cells and the bone marrow is the site of production, the number of circulating reticulocytes would tell whether there is a production problem or not. Supportive and symptomatic care should be done until a biopsy result comes back. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Miley
Beagle
8 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

None

Medication Used

Rimadyl, Docusate Sodium & Clavamox
Tramadol

What is the prognosis for a dog that isn't showing any symptoms at all? Miley had a tumor removed last march and now after a routine ultrasound, an 8 cm one was found on the right side. The surgeon noted some nodules in the abdomen when she operated to get a sample for the biopsy. The results of the biopsies came back and the cancer has metastasized. I have an appt with the oncologist next week but I really want to know if my Miley has a chance.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations

Prognosis is always difficult to determine since there are many different factors which contribute to each individual case. If the cancer has metastasised, prognosis is poor even if Miley is asymptomatic; progression is slow. The Oncologist will be able to give you more information and may prescribe a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Sparky
Mixed
10.5
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

no symptoms

Is it possible for a benigh liver tumor to shrink in size? My dog has a 9cm mass on his liver and a 4cm mass on his liver near the gall bladder. I have been making him a home made diet consisting of ground turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and brown rice plus I add milk thistle drops for dogs into his diet twice per day. I don't think it is cancer because the vet said he would have some visible symptoms, but he is as active as he always has been except for his torn ACL. I'm afraid for them to put him under anaesthesia to take the masses out because of the possibility of his death and I was just hoping that maybe with my special diet in conjunction with the milk thistle, it may shrink in size because one of them is quite a large size.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations

The internet is full of different diets, supplements and remedies for the treatment of many different aliments from cancer to diabetes; the efficacy of these is not proven and would be irresponsible for me to recommend without further scientific evidence, a check of the FDA website has a section on Milk Thistle and it’s use in cancer patients (in short it is not an effective or approved treatment). Whilst I understand your concerns regarding putting Sparky under anaesthesia, the best course of action would be to remove the benign tumours whilst he isn’t showing any symptoms from the tumours (which means his liver is still functioning adequately). Pre-anaesthetic blood tests to check liver and kidney function would be carried out anyway in a dog Sparky’s age and there shouldn’t be any increased risk in the hands of a good surgeon. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Full Recovery
Treatment Cost: $150.00
We did a fine needle aspiration on both of Sparky liver masses without anesthesia because he is a brave old guy. The results ruled out carcinoma, but they said it could either be benigh or a different type of cancer. We have set up an appointment with a specialist and we will find out from there when his surgery will be and they will do a biopsy during the surgery to find out for certain weather or not it is a cancer. They will remove as much of the masses as they can and we will go from there.

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Bailey
Golden Retriever
15 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Poor Appetite
Lethargy
Extreme Thirst

Medication Used

Tramadol
Prednisone

What is the best homemade food choices for a 15 year old golden with advanced stage liver cancer?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations

I generally prefer to prevent the use of homemade diets where possible because in the majority of cases vital nutrients are not accounted for leading to deficiencies in an already sick pet. The amount of liver still functioning would help to indicate the type of diet and the frequency of meals (to prevent a spike of metabolites) since the liver processes protein. There are many suggestions online about diets which I would avoid as a diet needs to be formulated to Bailey’s specific needs, also some online diets can be toxic as they suggest using garlic and other ingredients poisonous to dogs. Speak with your Veterinarian (they will have blood test results indicating liver and kidney function) about specific suitable diets (commercial or homemade). Generally though, homemade diets consist of small regular meals consisting of white protein (boiled chicken or turkey) with some vegetables, but please don’t use a homemade diet without first speaking with Bailey’s Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Full Recovery
Treatment Cost: $0.00
Decided to go with the prescribed diet for Bailey at this time. Happy to report that he is interested in eating...likes the taste so far. He's eating about 70% of what he should. He continues to drink lots of water! Now that he has more strength from eating, he is up and walking more..and the occasional short walk down the block! Each day is a gift. It's so heartwarming to see his tail wag again :)

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