- Symptoms of GI cancer in dogs manifest according to which part of the body is malignant. Dogs with oral cancer will exhibit bleeding from the mouth and have trouble eating. For other types of GI cancer, common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and blood in the stool. For cancers in the large GI tract, feces may appear black and tarry.
- Veterinarians cannot pinpoint a specific cause for GI cancer. However, there is some evidence that dogs that suffer from chronic gastric inflammation and irritation are more susceptible to cancer as well as those infected with certain parasites like Spirocerca lupi. According FurryCritter.com, some breeds are more likely to come down with GI cancer than others. These breeds include boxers, bulldogs, Saint Bernards, mastiffs and Airedale terriers.
- If you suspect your dog is suffering from a form of GI cancer, your veterinarian will administer numerous tests before coming up with a diagnosis. The exam will consist of an intake of the dog's complete medical history, physical exam and blood tests. Other tests include a fecal analysis, X-rays, ultrasound, endoscopy and biopsies.
- According to FurryCritter.com, the most common treatment for GI cancer is the surgical removal of the tumor if the cancer has not metastasized. Also, surgery is required if the tumor is so large that the dog isn't digesting its food properly. If the cancer has spread, your veterinarian will recommend other types of treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- GI cancer can be very serious. If it has metastasized or if the tumor is on a major organ, the prognosis for survival is not very good. According to FurryCritter.com, most dogs with stomach cancer, for example, rarely live longer than six months, even with treatment.