Liver Cancer in Dogs – Signs, Treatments, and More

Liver Cancer in Dogs – Signs, Treatments, and More

Canines are amazing creatures. They are called man's best friend for a reason. Canines are often very loyal, friendly, and outgoing. Having a dog takes a ton of time, care, and energy.

Many pet owners are more than happy to give those things to their furry friend. Being a pet parent comes with both good and bad. There are times that canines feel under the weather and this can be quite disheartening.

If there is a serious condition, it can be much more than just disheartening. Serious health conditions in a beloved pet can be heartbreaking.

One of the worst things that a pet parent can hear is that their dog has cancer. Just like in humans, cancer can be a scary thing for a dog to be diagnosed with. However, it is important for pet parents to realize that cancer is not a death sentence.

Sometimes, cancer can be beaten and put into remission. Having hope is one of the best things that you can do for your beloved pet as well as for yourself.

Many dogs are sensitive to the moods of their owners and they can sense when you are distressed. So, it makes sense that being hopeful and calm will be vital to your dog's well-being.

One of the origin sites of cancer that may be diagnosed in canines is liver cancer. Liver cancer in dogs is one of the rarest kinds in canines. A complete explanation of the signs, treatment options, and other important information will be explained fully in this post.


What Does the Liver Itself Do?

The liver of a canine is just like that of a human being. It is an essential organ in the body for getting rid of toxins, processing proteins, and performing digestion. If a liver isn't functioning normally, it can cause ill health.

Unfortunately, the liver can also get cancer just as any other part of the body. Thankfully, liver cancer can be treated and possibly can be put into remission.


Liver Cancer in Dogs: What Is It?

Liver cancer in dogs is may be spread in two ways: originating from the liver, or originating from somewhere in the body and eventually spreading to the liver, also known as metastatic cancer. It is a rare type of cancer in canines. Most of the time, it is a type of tumor located within the liver.

Sometimes, it is several tumors. The good news is that liver cancer in dogs that is a tumor isolated to the liver itself can often be removed before spreading to the rest of the body. However, waiting too long to get a diagnosis can increase the chances that it has spread to other organs.

Also, there are some liver cancers that started in another part of the body and spread to the liver. Cancers that have spread are called metastasized cancers. These are harder to treat and why an early diagnosis is crucial in a good prognosis.


What Are Common Signs of Liver Cancer in Dogs?

Most of the time, liver cancer signs are not apparent until the disease has progressed to a late stage. only manifest when the health condition reached its advanced stage. Common signs of liver cancer in dogs are vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, polydipsia, decreased appetite, and lack of energy.

A distended stomach and jaundice are signs of liver cancer as well and are more common when the cancer has advanced.

The signs and symptoms of liver cancer in dogs are quite similar to other medical conditions and can make it quite difficult for a timely diagnosis. It often requires a veterinary exam that is detailed and thorough for it to get diagnosed properly.

If you notice some of these signs in your canine, it is vital to get them to a veterinarian for a check-up. It could be any number of health conditions. However, it really could be liver cancer and your veterinarian should check for abnormalities in the liver.

Insisting on blood work at a check-up can help get an accurate diagnosis if you suspect that it is canine liver cancer.

Many seasoned veterinarians will order blood tests and x-rays if there are many symptoms that point to liver cancer or liver disease and this can help in getting a diagnosis quickly.


What Causes Liver Cancer in Dogs?

There really is no known reason for liver cancer in dogs or scientific proof of where it derives from. The same is true for human beings as well. Some suspected correlation exists between hepatitis and liver toxicity and liver cancer. Some believe that environmental factors and toxic chemicals may have to do with the development of cancer.

There are veterinarians and scientists that think there may be a link between liver disease and liver cancer. However, there is no proof to support these theories and is why they are merely theories at this time. It can affect any age of dog and any breed of dog.


How Does Canine Liver Cancer Get Diagnosed?

Canine liver cancer can only be diagnosed through a veterinary exam. Most veterinarians don't catch liver cancer right away. However, they sometimes may be able to catch it before it metastasizes. This means that they may catch it before it spreads to other parts of the body and has a higher chance of being put into remission.

Veterinarians that suspect liver cancer will give a complete exam, order blood tests, and will usually get x-rays to pinpoint where the cancer is located and if it is a tumor or a cluster of tumors within the organ.

The x-rays will help a veterinarian see exactly where it is so that they can determine if the tumors can be removed in a surgical procedure to rid the body of the cancer in one procedure.


Canine Liver Cancer Treatment Options

Treatment options for canine liver cancer are available. Excision of the tumor is possible for cases where the veterinarian knows where the tumor is located and feels that it would be in the best interests of the dog. It will be performed as a surgical procedure.

If excision is not possible, the next treatment options would likely be radiation. Radiation will be done in an outpatient setting and in a veterinary office or with a veterinary oncologist. There are veterinary oncologists that specialize in cancers of animals. Your trusted vet may recommend a veterinary oncologist for further treatment.

In some cases, the liver cancer may be too advanced and the veterinarian will recommend not treating with surgery or other traditional treatments. They may recommend letting your pet live out their days as comfortably as possible.

Vets may recommend pain medications to make them more comfortable and recommend that pet parents spend as much quality time with their pets as they can. Interestingly, some pet parents do choose to see a holistic veterinary practitioner.

Holistic practitioners sometimes offer alternative therapies for cancer treatment and it is an option for pet parents that feel it would be good for their pet if traditional options are not available.


What Can Pet Parents Do For Liver Cancer in Dogs?

Of course, it is crucial to follow the veterinarian's instructions. Follow their recommendations as best as you can. Dogs that are undergoing treatment may not feel well for a while.

Some common symptoms of cancer treatment are lethargy and a lack of appetite. Some dogs may feel nauseous during treatment and have a tendency to dry heave or vomit their food.

Pet parents will probably have to watch over their pet more often than usual and give them medications. For example, some vets may prescribe pain medication or anti-nausea medication.

It is imperative to follow the instructions from the pharmacy and vet in giving these to pets. This is because there can be side effects in these medications that can be dangerous to their health.

Spending a lot of quality time with your furry friend will be very important. You will want them to know that they are not alone during their time of need. It can be very hard for pet parents to have to do this.

However, it is great for both you and your canine pet. Having time together and bonding is something that is special and will be remembered. Some pet parents will play with their pets when their dog is feeling up to it and others will take them for walks more often.

Even just lying next to them and petting them is very therapeutic and helpful. Dogs love to be pet and given attention and pet parents often love giving it! These small tokens of attention and time spent together are very good for canines.

As pet parents know, dogs love to get attention and love! This can help them maintain a positive mindset during a cancer battle.

Many doctors and scientists believe that having a positive mindset and having less stress can be helpful in battling cancer. Dogs with attentive and loving pet parents may have a better chance at fighting their diagnosis of liver cancer.

Pet parents staying positive and hopeful during a cancer fight is very important. Some dogs are very anxious and can pick up on their owner's moods. A dog that is going through cancer and that has a depressed pet parent may pick up on that and start to display signs of their own anxiety and depression.

It is important for pet parents to try and maintain a hopeful attitude and show that to their canines as best they can. There are support groups online for pet owners that have beloved pets going through cancer or that have been through it.

This is an excellent resource for people that feel overwhelmed with their canine's health problems. It can be very therapeutic and beneficial to talk to others that understand what you are going through and that you can talk to.

Sometimes, there are even local support groups that you can visit in person. These support groups for pet parents are a free resource and can be accessed online for those that feel isolated or alone or that live in rural areas. It's okay to reach out and ask for help for yourself while your pet is going through this.

It can help you stay strong for your furry friend and ensure that you get the self-care that you need as well.


Natural Alternatives For Dog Liver Cancer

Giving your dog some natural supplements and alternatives in addition to their cancer treatment is something that pet parents can do. Natural supplements and alternatives can help to fight cancer, decrease side effects, and lower pain in dogs.

There are also holistic veterinarian practices that offer alternative therapies that aren't found in traditional offices. They are a good option for pet parents that are interested in trying something different that could make a difference in their pet.


Some herbs, fruits and vegetables that are good for liver detoxification are listed below and are a good natural alternative to treat the liver:



A bit of garlic can be used to help the liver flush toxins in the liver. It contains selenium and allicin and these two minerals have been shown to help with liver detoxification.


Beets and Carrots

Beets and carrots can be given for liver function as they have beta-carotene and plant flavonoids that can really help stimulate the liver and increase its essential functions.


Citrus Fruits Like Oranges, Grapefruits, Lemons, and Limes

Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes contain a lot of vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants that are excellent for the body and for liver function.


Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are great for the liver! This consists of things like lettuce, spinach, and broccoli. They are good for liver detoxification and are used in liver cleansing quite often.


Natural Diet for Dogs with Liver Cancer

Dogs with liver cancer may be given a diet that is special for their condition. The veterinarian can recommend a type of diet and dog food brand that they feel would be beneficial for your furry friend. Sometimes, they will recommend a diet that is organic and has vitamins and minerals that are known for being helpful with the liver.

Organic and natural diets for dogs with liver cancer are often most beneficial. There are recipes and homemade natural organic dog food sites that can help pet parents that aren't sure what to give their pet.

These sites are great resources for pet parents that want to save some money and ensure that their dog is given the most natural diet possible.

Pet food companies do also have organic foods and you may want to ask your vet which ones would be best for your dog and their unique condition and biology.

Doing research on beneficial minerals and vitamins for the liver can help you pinpoint the best food choice if you are still unsure. As always, ask your trusted vet if there is any doubt on what you should feed your canine.


CBD Oil For Dogs with Liver Cancer

A natural option for dogs with liver cancer is CBD. CBD can help dogs with inflammation, pain, anxiety, and even cancer. It can also help with a wide range of other medical conditions and issues. It is  a naturally occurring oil that is derived from hemp.

It works with the cannabinoids that are present in a dog's body as well as in a human's. There are studies and medical research teams that have shown a clear and direct improvement in a variety of medical ailments.

It even has cancer-fighting qualities and can help with the chronic nausea that people experience during cancer treatments.

CBD Oil For Dogs can be purchased as a natural supplement for dogs that are suffering from liver cancer and other medical issues. It is organic and processed from a naturally occurring plant called hemp.

There are no added chemicals and it is not hazardous at all to give dogs. There are special dog-formulated CBD oil products that are made for canines in particular. There is no THC in these oils and that means that your pet will not be having any type of “high” that people sometimes mistakenly think will happen.

CBD does not contain THC and therefore there is no high and your dog will be their normal selves after consuming it. It can be added to foods or given as a sublingual supplement.


Liver Cancer in Dogs: Final Words

Pet parents of dogs with liver cancer need to know that they are not alone and that there is hope. Liver cancer can sometimes be put into remission and dogs can go on to live a normal life that is full and happy.

Veterinarians have a lot of experience and knowledge and can come up with a treatment plan that will give your furry pal the best chance at health that they can. There are also alternative therapies and supplements that can be given to help and it is imperative for pet parents to stay hopeful.



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