Bile duct cancer in dogs is a malignant form of cancer that develops in the lining of the liver’s bile ducts. It can spread quickly and widely through a dog’s body and can be difficult to treat effectively.
Bile helps break down fat and aids in digestion, among other functions. When cancer starts to grow in the bile ducts, it can prevent bile from passing from the liver to the gallbladder, causing a buildup of bile in the liver and hindering the digestion process.
This type of cancer does not seem to target dogs of a specific breed, but the disease does seem to affect female dogs and elderly dogs more than younger canines.
If you see signs that your dog might be suffering from cancer, then you must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of bile duct cancer in dogs.
Symptoms Of Bile Duct Cancer In Dogs
Bile duct cancer in dog frequently produces the main symptom of a swollen abdomen. Some of the other symptoms include:
- Seeming less active and energetic than usual
- Drinking and urinating a lot
- Skin becoming yellow (jaundice)
- Less of an appetite than usual
Causes Of Bile Duct Cancer In Dogs
Bile duct cancer in dogs is often caused by unknown factors.
Some of the common suspected causes include exposure to carcinogens in the environment and developing a severe infection due to parasites.
If you fear that your dog might be developing bile duct cancer, your veterinarian will want to carry out a full physical examination along with asking questions about both your dog’s medical history and any recent chances of exposure to carcinogens in the environment.
They’ll order blood and urine tests, along with an analysis of the levels of electrolytes in the body. They’ll also test the levels of enzymes in the liver and the concentration of a-Fetoprotein.
Vets can use X-rays to check out the status of a dog’s liver and abdomen. Your vet will also likely suggest a biopsy of the liver.
When it comes to treatment, vets may recommend the surgical removal of up to 75 percent of the liver; although even then, vets often categorize the prognosis as poor.
While your dog is recovering from surgery, it is also important to maintain regular visits to your vet to monitor the levels of enzymes in the liver.
Have you ever cared for a dog suffering from bile duct cancer? What steps did your vet suggest to help alleviate the effects? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
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