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What is Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma)?

Primary lung cancer in dogs is relatively rare in dogs (under 1% of all cancer in dogs), but pulmonary adenocarcinoma is the most common type of canine lung cancer. As a matter of fact, almost 80% of primary lung cancer is caused by adenocarcinoma. This is an extremely aggressive cancer that grows quickly and can spread fast, so it is essential to the survival of your dog to treat this disease early. Similar to other cancers in dogs, it is seen more often in dogs over seven years of age. All breeds are at risk for this lung cancer, but it affects dogs with short or medium noses (i.e. Beagle, Boxers, Terriers) more often than other breeds. Many times, primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma is found on an x-ray during a veterinary visit for another issue.

Pulmonary adenocarcinoma is cancer of the lungs, which can be primary (originates in the lungs) or secondary (originates somewhere else in the body), is a serious disease that can be fatal if not found and treated early. Pulmonary adenocarcinoma spreads rapidly to other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes, bones, heart, liver, spleen, and brain. If the disease is not found and treated before it has spread to the lymph nodes, the prognosis is not good. Unfortunately, approximately a quarter of all dogs with primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma do not show any symptoms besides tiredness and decreased appetite.

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Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 73 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$7,500

Symptoms of Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

There are many symptoms that are general in nature, such as weakness and loss of appetite, so it is sometimes difficult to know when your dog is really ill enough for a trip to the veterinarian’s office. A good rule to go by is that if your dog has had a chronic cough without any phlegm for more than a few days, you should take him to see the veterinarian just to be on the safe side.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • A cough with bloody sputum
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain and weakness

Types

  • Primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma is cancer that originates in the lung
  • Secondary pulmonary adenocarcinoma is cancer that has metastasized from somewhere else in the body
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Causes of Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

The cause of primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma is unknown, but there are several risk factors:

  • Secondhand smoke
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Middle to old age (over seven years old)
  • Short or medium sized nose (i.e. beagles, boxers, terriers)
  • Idiopathic (unknown origin)

Secondary pulmonary adenocarcinoma is caused by a cancer somewhere else in the body.

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Diagnosis of Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

The veterinarian will do a comprehensive physical exam and ask for your dog’s complete medical history including any recent injury, illness, or abnormal behavior. Provide the best description you can of your dog’s symptoms and when they started. Be certain to include any changes in appetite or weight loss. The next step is to get your dog’s vital signs, which include respiration and heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and weight. The veterinarian will pay special attention to your dog’s breath sounds.

The most important test in diagnosing pulmonary adenocarcinoma is images of the lungs with radiography or CT scan. The veterinarian will also want to get an MRI of the surrounding areas to see if the cancer has spread from somewhere else. Some blood tests will be done, such as complete blood count (CBC), blood gases, and chemistry profile, including glucose levels. Other tests your veterinarian will do are a urinalysis, bronchoscopy, and a fine needle aspiration of tumor or fluid from lymph nodes for histopathology. The veterinarian will most likely refer you to a veterinary oncologist for treatment.

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Treatment of Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

The best choice of treatment for this primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma is a lobectomy, which is the removal of the tumor and adjacent lung lobes. The surrounding lymph nodes and tissue may be removed as well if the oncologist suspects it may have metastasized. If the oncologist does not think the lung can be saved, the removal of the lung is the only choice for survival. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments may also be done in some cases. Secondary pulmonary adenocarcinoma is almost never treated with surgery because if the cancer has spread from another part of the body to the lungs, there is nothing more to do than make your dog comfortable.

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Recovery of Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

The chances for your dog’s survival will depend on whether it is primary or secondary pulmonary adenocarcinoma, and how far it has spread. It will also depend on the age and health of your dog. If your dog has primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma and the veterinarian is able to remove the whole tumor, your dog has about a 50% chance of living more than one year. This is the kind of cancer that will often recur even if all of the cancer is removed the first time. If your dog has secondary pulmonary adenocarcinoma, the veterinarian will probably suggest that you just make your dog as comfortable as possible. When cancer has spread from another part of the body to the lung, it is usually too late for treatment. It is recommended that your dog not spend his last few months undergoing painful treatments that will make him sick.

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Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 73 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$7,500

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Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Ollie

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terrier

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16 Months

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Critical severity

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21 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty

On my way to the Vet on Friday my dog threw up and while he was getting his well check and shot he threw up again and it had a little speck of blood. The vet looked him over and said he was ok. While traveling to my parents for Labor Day weekend Ollie became sick I thought maybe he was a little sick from his yearly vaccinations or maybe a little carsick as he had threw up twice . When we arrived to my parents home he didn’t seem like himself and was wheezing, coughing and seemed to have trouble breathing . I took him to the vet and they diagnosed him with asphyxiation pneumonia. They said he had swallowed some of his throw up and it went into his lungs and caused an infection. They gave him a steroid shot and some anabiotic’s. Later on that evening he still was not getting any better and then I noticed that there was blood around his mouth and he was still having difficulty breathing and was whimpering and whining. I didn’t took him to the hospital where they said He had a little to no lung function . Diagnosed him with acute respiratory distress syndrome and said also it could be cancer as they saw nodules on his lungs , but they couldn’t really pinpoint it . They placed an oxygen tank gave him more medicine but said his diagnosis was very dim. Ollie was suffering and I had to put him to sleep so that he can have peace . I just want answer and just can’t understand how my dog was healthy and happy on Thursday and dead on Sunday. Ollie was 8 pound Snorkie.

Sept. 5, 2018

Ollie's Owner

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Gia

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Lhasa Apso

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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2 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Deep Sleep, Dry Cough

My 10-year-old Lhasa Apso mix was diagnosed with lung cancer. We are guessing on her age and her breed as she is a rescue dog. She was nearly completely blind with cataracts at a very young age and dry eye. About a year ago was diagnosed with a heart murmer. She receives medication for all of the above. In about April she had a terrible fall down steep hardwood floors and was diagnosed with cancer after x-rays in July. Any chance the spot in her lungs was a result of the fall? She has a good appetite. She was given 6 mos to 1 year to live. Surgery not an option (I think because of heart murmer & location of spot on lungs). Suspected mestastasize.

Aug. 4, 2018

Gia's Owner

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2 Recommendations

The spot on the lungs is unlikely related to the fall, sometimes a fungal infection may be diagnosed as cancer or vice versa but a single lesion is not likely to be caused by a fall; obviously follow up x-rays should be done at regular intervals and any diagnosis should be made based on gross lesions and presenting symptoms. Surgery most likely is not indicated due to age, heart murmur and invasiveness of the surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 5, 2018

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Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 73 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$7,500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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Compare plans
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