Liver cancer in a dog is incredibly serious and often fatal due to the importance of the infected organ.
A dog that contracts liver cancer will have a vastly lower life expectancy, which could spell a lot of stress for you and your family if you feel your dog is at risk of developing the illness.
There are several ways to help prevent liver cancer in a dog, though, and there also a number of dog cancer symptoms that you can look out for.
Dog first aid and proper healthcare are imperative for diseased pets, so you should research as thoroughly as possible to make sure your dog stays healthy.
Before discussing the effects of liver cancer in a dog, it's important to understand what the liver is and why it's so important. This organ performs multiple purposes, without which the body wouldn't be able to function properly.
Any damage that affects the liver can potentially be deadly, because it's responsible for doing such things as detoxifying the body, neutralizing hazardous chemicals present in the bloodstream, fighting off infections, helping to digest food by secreting bile juices and boosting the animal's immune system.
All of these are very basic needs, and without a healthy liver to keep them in motion, the animal will almost certainly die.
However, one of the interesting things about dog liver cancer is that it can continue most of its normal functions, despite the fact that most of its mass is afflicted by a disease.
Even though this is good in that it means your dog won't necessarily die just because it's contracted a liver disease, it also means that it takes a long time before symptoms truly begin to make themselves known.
By the time the more major signs manifest, the dog disease is often in its most advanced stages. Unfortunately, this is true for a lot of tumors that affect vital organs.
Unlike many forms of dog cancer, where the causes are unknown, liver cancer in dog breeds is often the result of the animal consuming toxic chemicals and heavy metals.
Exposure to carcinogens also increases the risk of developing liver cancer. Once the dog ingests these toxic foods, they must pass through the liver to undergo the detoxification process.
This is usually where the disease begins. There are commonly two kinds of liver cancer: primary and secondary. Primary liver cancer in dogs is probably the most common type.
It starts in the dog's liver and may eventually spread to other parts of the body. By contrast, secondary liver cancer starts outside the liver, reaching it through the process of metastasis.
Since liver cancer has the potential of affecting every other area in the body, its symptoms are often confused with those of various other common canine illnesses—some of which aren't nearly as dangerous.
Because of this, it's important to visit your vet and have the dog checked out even if you think the signs are benign.
Unfortunately, dog cancer treatment of liver disease in dogs doesn't aim to undo the illness; all that can be done is to ensure that the dog lives out the rest of its life as comfortably and painlessly as possible.