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Does My Dog Have Cancer?

May 1st, 2008, 04:57 PM

I am fairly confused about the process of detecting canine cancer and would love to hear some feedback from a vet or from anyone who might be able to shed some light on my situation.

So awhile back, my dog Willy (hes a 12 year old male welsh corgi) started to urinate more and more often and drink water more often as well. I monitored it for awhile and then one day I noticed he had blood in his urine. We immediately took him to the vet and our veterinarian told us that he could feel a "mass" inside of him somewhere and that they would have to do an X-Ray and take a urine sample and get back to us. So we went along with that and the results came back as kidney stones, but that he still had this unknown mass and that it could be something like prostate cancer. So they gave us some antibiotics for the kidney stones (which havent done anything about the blood so far..its been been 4 days) and infection and then told us that we should do an ultrasound so that they could see if the mass was cancer or not. We went along with that as well even tho is was fairly pricey and then next day, our vet told us that the urine test came back with "crystals" in it which means probable cancer but that the ultrasound only showed that there was definitely a mass in there. He then told us that if we wanted to know if it was cancer, we would have to schedule an invasive biopsy and that only then could they tell what the mass was....Now it seems to me that if they've taken a urine sample, given my dog an x-ray AND an ultrasound, they should have more information than "your dog has some kind of crystals in his urine that COULD mean cancer and that he definately has a mass but we dont know what it is." I feel taken adantage of and when I called a different vet to run these results by them, they recommended sending them to their offices because they should be able to tell more from an ultrasound then that. Is there a standard test for detecting cancer in dogs?? I read on a different website that they can tell if a dog has cancer usually from a urine sample and an x-ray alone...:confused:

Thank you for your time!

Dr Lee
May 1st, 2008, 05:31 PM
I am sorry to hear about what you and your pet are going through.

As far as you last question about urinalysis and radiographs being able to diagnose cancer. The answer is NOT always. If prostatic cancer cells are noted in the urinalysis then a diagnosis can be made. If the radiographs are markedly abnormal, then a diagnosis can be suggested.

Unfortunately, when tests are run for cancer they can sometimes come out in a 'grey area'.

Urinary catheterization with prostatic massaging may obtain a fluid sample with cells that may substantiate a diagnosis. Unfortunately the ultimate diagnosis may be made with biopsy.

If there is benign prostatic enlargement, the prostate may return to an appropriate size with neutering (if he is not neutered). This might be much less expensive than biopsy or even catheterization with cytology and might be medically beneficial anyways. Hope that helps. :pawprint:

May 1st, 2008, 06:32 PM
Thank you Dr. Lee. I definately appreciate your feedback and suggestions. I will ask the alternate vet about what you've mentioned! I'm not sure that they even looked for prostatic cancer cells in the urine to be honest. At that point, I think he was focused on testing for kidney stones so maybe I'll ask the new vet if we should run one for cancer cells as well as reviewing the x-rays and ultrasound results. I probably can't afford the biopsy and bloodwork unless I really put a strain on the household so hopefully we will be able to get more answers at the new veterinary clinic with the tests that we've already run...

To be honest, we were told from an inside source today that this particular vet is not very reliable and that he has not had a good track record with successful patients. Maybe he is new to the field and a more experienced vet will be able to help us.:fingerscr

Thanks again,