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Canine/Dog Bladder Cancer Surgery

By Dr. Gabriel Mills, Veterinarian Veterinarian National Greyhound Adoption Program/Dutton Road Veterinary Clinic
Posted: March 24, 2017

This case involves a 10 year old beagle with suspected bladder cancer. Although bladder cancer can develop in dogs at any age, the likelihood of it occurring increases as animals age, similar to other cancers.

In this case the patient had been having signs similar to a urinary tract infection. Urinating small amounts of blood, frequent impulses to urinate, etc. As is often the case when clinical signs can be attributed to several possibilities, diagnostics were performed to try and determine the cause. A urinalysis revealed an increase in a certain type of cell, specifically a transitional epithelial cell that increased the suspicion of cancer, most likely transitional cell carcinoma. An ultrasound was performed that revealed a thickened and irregular bladder wall, supportive of this potential diagnosis. After discussing the findings and potential treatment options the patient’s owners elected to have surgery performed to “debulk” or remove the majority of the tumor.

The patient was prepared for surgery and the abdomen was incised to identify and expose the bladder. The bladder was then palpated to express any urine and identify the abnormal tissues.

The bladder was then isolated using lap sponges to prevent any contamination of the abdomen by remaining urine or bladder contents.

Once isolated the bladder was explored to ensure that any vital structures, such as the ureters and large blood vessels were left unharmed. The bladder was then incised and the abnormal tissue removed. The inner surface of the tumor was very lobulated and irregular, highly suggesting a cancer.

The bladder was then closed in two layers, using sterile saline to pressure check the closure and ensure no urine was going to leak out. It was then rinsed and replaced into the abdomen.

The abdomen was then closed routinely and the patient recovered uneventfully. As can be expected the patient will have a reduced bladder volume and will need to urinate more frequently. Hopefully the cancer was removed completely. In a previous similar case the patient lived for another 2 years before finally succumbing to her disease. Hopefully this patient will be more comfortable for some time to come!

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