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What is Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma)?

Thyroid cancer is most often discovered when a mass on the neck is noticed by a pet owner. Sometimes a pet can be asymptomatic for problems but has a cancerous tumor growing on the thyroid which is seen once it reaches a fairly large size. Thyroid tumors can be either benign (adenomas) or malignant (carcinomas). Adenomas are typically nodular shaped and filled with fluid while carcinomas are the tumors we see that bulge from the throat area and have a necrotizing effect on the tissues within them. Most thyroid gland tumors do not affect thyroid hormone levels. Documentation shows that large breed dogs of middle-age to an older age are the most often seen patients in the veterinary field.

An adenocarcinoma is a carcinoma (neoplasia beginning in the epithelial cells) that started in glandular tissue. A thyroid gland tumor can be either benign or malignant with the adenocarcinoma being of a malignant form. Metastasis is common and the tumor is often a very large palpable mass present on the throat area.

Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$9,500

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

You may notice that your dog has a mass on the neck. There have been cases of thyroid cancer growing on the neck in an area away from the thyroid, and in the chest or  under the tongue. The mass can be either movable or fixed and can sometimes cause the face to swell.

  • Your pet may cough
  • Your dog could have difficulty swallowing
  • He may gag, especially when eating
  • He might have trouble breathing if the tumor is obstructing the throat
  • Often there can be a change in bark sound
  • Your pet could lose his appetite and experience weight loss

It is rare for a tumor to affect the hormonal function of the thyroid. However, it can happen and in those cases you will see additional symptoms. With hypothyroidism, your pet could be lethargic, have some hair loss, and suffer from exercise intolerance. In the case of hyperthyroidism, dogs can have signs including heart trouble (rapid rate and abnormal rhythm), increased hunger and thirst, and muscle tremors.

Types

Thyroid tumors are classified as non-functional (not affecting the thyroid function) and functional (meaning they produce excess hormones that could lead to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism).

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Causes of Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

As with human cancers, the cause is not always easily discernable. In the case of thyroid cancer age can be a factor (most dogs are middle-aged to older), and there is an over representation of the Siberian Husky, Golden Retriever, Beagle, and Boxer breeds in studies of this adenocarcinoma.

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Diagnosis of Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

During the physical examination of your pet, the veterinarian will assess the mass (fixed or moveable) and will check the lymph nodes in the region for swelling. While the physical is taking place, it is an opportune time to discuss your pet’s symptoms and the concerns that you have that led you to bring your pet to the clinic. The eating habits, behavioral changes, and signs of discomfort are important things to note and discuss with the veterinary team.

Testing may begin with a complete blood count, serum biochemistry, coagulation parameter, and urinalysis, as well as a thyroid panel to determine the function. Additional testing will include the following.

  • Thoracic (chest) x-ray to verify if metastasis has taken place
  • Ultrasound and/or computed tomography (CT) scan are the best tools to use to see how deep the tumor is and how large it has grown, and to assess the organs of the body
  • A biopsy may be done, but often it is done at time of surgery if this choice is viable
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Treatment of Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

There are many factors that will determine the method of therapy. The invasiveness of the mass, the size of the tumor, whether it has metastasized, and the presence of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism all become important points for the veterinarian to consider. Surgery to completely remove the tumor, and additional therapy to assure all signs of the cancer are removed are the goals for treatment. Because many tumors are very large upon diagnosis and have quite possibly metastasized, surgery could be accompanied by measures that may cause discomfort for your pet. Additionally, not all tumors can be removed, depending on their location and how deep they have grown. Due to these factors, surgery may be one step of the treatment with chemotherapy, radiation, and possibly radioactive iodine or cobalt irradiation necessary as additional steps to eradicating the cancer. Your veterinarian is the best person to give you guidance and advice regarding the adenocarcinoma; she can lead you toward the best decision for your pet while keeping his quality of life in the forefront.

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Recovery of Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

Depending on the course of treatment, your dog could quite possibly have many follow-up visits to the clinic for additional sessions of chemotherapy or radiation after surgery. If your pet did have surgery, he will need quiet care at home once he is released from the hospital. He will have an incision that will have to be monitored by you to ensure that there is no redness, oozing or infection. Provide a soft bed for his recuperation and make sure that your dog has plenty of water and fresh food. He may have pain medication so be sure to administer this according to your veterinarian’s instructions. Call the clinic immediately if you have concerns or questions about your canine companion’s recovery.

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Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$9,500

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Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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poutchi

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loulou

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss

Hello i cut my dog hair and after a while her hair is growing but still one place without hair and i cannot know why its happen and i'm afraid because i have a baby in the house is it possible it could be thyroid?

June 22, 2018

poutchi's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

It can take a little longer for hair to grow back in some dogs, whether they are older, or it is seasonal, or they have an endocrine disorder. I wouldn't assume a thyroid problem just based on that information, and it would probably be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at her, determine what might be going on and if any treatment is needed.

June 22, 2018

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wendell

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Golden Retriever

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Dry Patches

Hello my name is Jennifer Miller I have a six-year-old golden retriever named Wendell. He was recently diagnosed with bilateral thyroid tumors We saw specialist on Saturday who is recommending surgery. He’s tumors on the small side and they are still move which I’m told is a good thing. To be honest I am terrified of having the surgery. I’m concerned about his quality-of-life. Also the long stay in the hospital they told me it could be anywhere from 4 to 10 days for him to regulate himself. Wendell already suffered from anxiety he’s a very nervous puppy He currently is a grain free diet and he streets are 99% fruits and vegetables he comes running for asparagus and green beans I’m looking for any advice or information to help me make a better decision I would really like to make a holistic approach with us but I also don’t want to miss out on having the surgery while the tumors are still small. my question are. How fast do these tumors grow? How long can he live a normal life with and with out surgery. Wendell's surgery is going to be almost $9000.00 Have you heard about the Budwig diet? Thanks so much for your time and consideration Jen

Feb. 13, 2018

wendell's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Dogs are usually affected by malignant thyroid tumours and surgical removal is the treatment of choice alongside chemotherapy or radiotherapy; the rate of growth and possible spread may be fast which is dependent on the specific type of thyroid tumour and other factors. Life expectancy in a favourable case may be up to three years (but normally less) but each case is different and you should discuss the specific case and size of the tumours with your Specialist who would be able to give you a better indication based on their assessment of Wendell. As far as the Budwig diet, I will refer you to Cancer Research UK and their page on the Budwig diet in humans for you to make a decision. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/thyroid-tumors www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/budwig-diet https://wagwalking.com/wellness/flaxseed-v-fish-oil-which-is-better-for-dogs

Feb. 13, 2018

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Wendell

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Golden Retriever

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Dry Patches

Hello I have a six-year-old golden retriever named Wendell. He was recently diagnosed with bilateral thyroid tumors We saw specialist on Saturday who is recommending surgery. He’s tumors on the small side and they still move which I’m told is a good thing. To be honest I am terrified of having the surgery. I’m concerned about his quality-of-life. Also the long stay in the hospital they told me it could be anywhere from 4 to 10 days for him to regulate himself. Wendell already suffers from anxiety, he’s a very nervous puppy. I am afraid being away from home he wont heal as quickly as he should. He comes on vacation with us. Hes never been away from home. He currently is a grain free diet and his treats are 99% fruits and vegetables he comes running for asparagus and green beans I’m looking for any advice or information to help me make a better decision I would really like to make a holistic approach with us but I also don’t want to miss out on having the surgery while the tumors are still small. Thanks so much for your time and consideration Jen

Feb. 13, 2018

Wendell's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Whilst I understand your concerns about Wendell, it would be in his best interest to have the surgery and to recover as an inpatient under your Veterinarian’s guidance; I know it can be stressful but we have anxious dogs being admitted to clinics all the time, it is a case of needs must and what is best overall for the patient. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Feb. 13, 2018

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Wiley

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Border Collie mixed with Lab

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Muscle Tremors
Overheats Easily
Swollen Throat Below Collar,
Makes Noise When Swallows
History Of Skin Problems
Candida

Hi, my Border Collie Lab mix has had all over his body dry skin, itching, candida yeast blooms, smelling bad, etc. The Vet told me he needed his thyroid checked, and I did not do this because I was sure it was candida. I have instead switched to raw food,and giving wormwood, black walnut, garlic and a mushroom immunity complex and he looks and acts so much younger and the skin issues have disappeared. He is as active as a puppy. But today I felt that the area below his collar and above his chest on the front of the throat seems large, and he seems to make a little noise when he swallows sometimes (not when eating, just sitting). He's overheats really easily in warmer weather and pants a lot. I will take him in to get it looked at, but is the Thyroid connected to yeast in dogs? Would he have enlarged thyroid if there were hypothyroidism or would this be a tumor? I thought maybe it was just swollen from something stuck in his esophagus, which we would have to remove, but these articles are now scaring me.

Feb. 7, 2018

Wiley's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Dogs tend to get low thyroid, not high thyroid, and they aren't prone to thyroid tumors, although they do occur. Thyroid disease can make the skin unhealthy and allow for yeast to overgrow on the skin. Your veterinarian will be able to evaluate Wiley, assess the area that you are feeling on his throat, and do any testing that might be required to find out what is going on with him. I hope that things are easily resolved for him.

Feb. 7, 2018

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Robbie

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Collie/Lab cross

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None Apart From Lump

My 10 year old collie/lab cross has just been diagnosed with a thyroid tumour. It is attached so I feel surgery may be risky & don't want to put him through unnecessary trauma as he is so well at the moment,my gut feeling is to not do anything & to have him as fit & well as he can be until he isn't, but then I feel bad for doing nothing! With no other symptoms apart from the lump, thyroid & calcium levels normal can you give an idea of how long he could stay fit for? I know you haven't got a crystal ball & cannot say for definite but if you could give me an estimated ball park figure I would be so grateful!.

Jan. 25, 2018

Robbie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. There isn't anything wrong with deciding to keep Robbie comfortable as long as possible rather than have him undergo a high risk surgery. I'm not sure if your veterinarian thinks the surgery is a high risk one, or if you do, but it might be worth talking to your veterinarian to see what the expected recovery might be and if it would significantly help Robbie's condition. Without seeing him, or knowing what type of tumor it is, I can't comment on what his prognosis is, but your veterinarian will be able to talk to you more about that as well. I hope that everything goes well for him.

Jan. 25, 2018

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Flower

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Border Collie

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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Fair severity

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Snores, Throat Tumor, Hoarse Bark

I noticed around Christmas, Flower’s collar was tight. I loosened and noticed swelling. I took her to the vet and they took an x-ray and there was a fairly large tumor. I was kind of prepared but still devastated. No blood tests were taken. Because of her age, I’m not interested in surgery. The vet told be there could be arteries, larynx, trachea, etc. entangled. I was just told to watch her eating and drinking, activity level, changes in demeanor, etc. She’s always been a picky eater but her appetite is better than ever. She always been laid back, but now she’s even more playful. We make everyday count and spoiling her more than normal. My other bc (8 years old) is constantly with her, acting like she knows something is different. It’s been a month since we found out, and she’s doing great! I’m grieving for her and am ecstatic on her exceptionally good days. My husband doesn’t even want me to talk about her being sick. He doesn’t want to acknowledge there is something wrong. I feel like I am so alone dealing with this. He loves her so much but can’t deal with the thought of her being gone. Am I doing everything for her? Is there more I can do for her? She’s not to this point yet, but I don’t want her to suffer. I know when it comes to that, it will be my decision. My husband will refuse to see it or discuss it. I’m just feeling all alone dealing with this. Sorry this is so long! She’s having a great day today and that’s when I want to celebrate her and talk about her. When she was a puppy, we had a whole litter to choose from and it was so hard. I knelt down and she crawled up in my lap. She chose me!! Again, is there anything else I can do to keep her healthy and feeling well as long as possible?

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RIMI

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Critical severity

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Not Eating
Difficulty In Swallowing

Hi , I have a female labrador, she is developing a tumour like mass in her neck from past 3 months, and know that mass has become really larger in size, her condition has worsened, she isn't eating anything from last 5 days, only drinking water and couple of dog biscuits only, she i vomting everyday twice, is there anything that could be done to make her condition better, because here doctors in India have told not to go for surgery because then it can effect her food pipe and also my dog is 11 years old so she cannot take the surgery becaus of old age, but my heart is breaking everyday seeing her suffer like this.

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Zodi

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Tibetan Terrier

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

Our gentle boy has been on medication for hypothyroidism about 4 years. Last month a neck lump was found (thyroid cancer) & it was removed by surgery. There were some histopathological signs of vascular infiltration but no lung metastases. The x-ray was ‘suspicious’ for liver involvement & we are awaiting another scan. He seems really well in himself at the moment. I’ve been reading about retinoic acid 9 cis (2016 study) as an alternative to chemotherapy (Post-surgical treatment of thyroid carcinoma in dogs with retinoic acid 9 cis improves patient outcome V. Castillo, P. Pessina, [...], and P. Vidal) and wondered if anyone has used this & how their dog was when on it. Thanks for any response. J

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Dougal

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Jack Russell Terrier

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None Apart From The Lump And Slight
None Apart From The Lump

My jrt dougal had a thyroid carcinoma removed 11 days ago it was well encapsulated the vet said so easier to fully remove the growth he said his lymph nodes seemed clear but can’t rule out it’s spread to his lungs he didn’t advise any chemo follow up treatment but we monitor him on a regular basis and deal with any symptoms if and when they arise he’s 11 yrs old now so we are trying to think positive and love and care for him while he’s here he’s recovered remarkably well from the surgery I would advise anyone going through the same thing to go for it if it’s possible our little companions are stronger than we think

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Hoover

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Goldendoodle

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Mild severity

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Tumor Growing

We had a tumor which was surrounding the right side of his thyroid removed. It was tested and found cancer cells still showing in the margins. Already spent $3k on surgery. What is life expectancy without further treatment? How much more time if we do further treatment? I understand there is also medication that can be given at home for chemo?

Thyroid Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$9,500

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