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Disease Anal Gland Cancer In Dogs And Their Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Updated on October 7, 2014

A dog is a man's best friend, but like any other living being, a dog can suddenly get sick. Like how a human body is complicated, a dog's body is complicated and then some. There are a few things that you'll need to be aware of in terms of a dog's health.

One of the diseases that your dog may suffer from is anal gland cancer, also known as anal sac adenocarcinoma. This is usually seen as an unusual growth at the rear part of the dog. This kind of disease is known to spread throughout the dog's body if not treated immediately.

The cause of this disease is not directly known, but it can be said that it can also possibly happen to cats, albeit only rarely. This anal gland cancer in dogs is sometimes blamed on an imbalance with the hormone parathyroid which is often found near a dog's anal area. Sometimes, it can be linked to hypercalcemia or excessive calcium in a dog's blood.

Disease Anal Gland Cancer In Dogs And Their Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
Disease Anal Gland Cancer In Dogs And Their Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment | Source

Do you suspect anal gland cancer in your dog?

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List of Dogs Breeds Where Anal Gland Cancer is Observed

There is no scientific evidence that anal gland cancer can happen to certain dogs more often, but there is a small list of breeds where this disease is often observed:

  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • German Shepherd
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Dachshund
  • Springer Spaniel

It was also observed that this disease occurs among middle-aged and older dogs, but there is no information that this happens to a certain gender more often than the other.

List of Dogs Breeds Where Anal Gland Cancer is Observed
List of Dogs Breeds Where Anal Gland Cancer is Observed | Source

What are the symptoms observed in your dog?

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Symptoms of Anal Gland Cancer In Dogs

Aside from rectal growth, symptoms that you may need to observe are the following:

  • Excessive drinking and urinating of your dog
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Bradycardia or slow heart rate
  • Constipation

There is no known method to prevent this from happening since this is still a rare case among dogs and an even rarer case with cats.

Symptoms of Anal Gland Cancer In Dogs
Symptoms of Anal Gland Cancer In Dogs | Source


For further diagnosis, the dog must be brought to a veterinarian so that they can properly observe the symptoms and see if there are any rectal growths at the dog's rear. The procedures to determine if the disease is anal gland cancer in dogs or not and if it is malignant or not are as follows:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy - this is used to check for any growth that can be found "under the skin." A hollow needle is stuck into the area with the growth, allowing it to be "stained," or to get a piece of what is inside the growth and then observing it under a microscope. This is the very first step in checking for anal gland cancer in dogs.
  • Full Biopsy - when worse comes to worst and a needle biopsy is unable to determine what disease your dog has, a full biopsy will be needed. For this procedure, an incision will be made on the growth and then it will be tested to finally determine what disease your dog has.
  • X-rays and Ultrasound - this may be needed if the growth at the dog's rear has become really large to see if it has become a tumor. Observation inside the dog's body is needed and an X-ray or an ultrasound will be able to do that.

Once the diagnosis shows it is indeed anal gland cancer in dogs, an operation can be performed to remove the tumor in the rectal growth, as well as any lymph nodes that were affected. After the operation, there are still a few things that must be performed to make sure this will not happen again:

  • Radiation treatment may become necessary to ensure that the cancer cells will die out.
  • Blood work is also needed to see if there is any excess calcium in the dog's body.
  • Further physical examinations, X-rays, and ultrasounds may become necessary as well.

Operating on the tumor will not be able to guarantee the successful treatment of the disease, but the operation can help in improving your dog's overall health.

You can read about Transitional Cell Carcinoma in dogs for other symptoms.


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