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Renal (Kidney) Neoplasia in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Renal neoplasia is cancer located in the kidney. Renal neoplasia can originate in the kidney (primary) or spread or metastasize to the kidney from another site (secondary). Most renal tumors are seen in middle aged to older dogs and cats. Nephroblastomas, rapidly developing malignant tumors, are seen in younger animals. Carcinomas are thought to be more prevalent in the male dog.

Generally, there are no specific causes of cancer identified and cancer of the kidney is rare in dogs and cats. Renal cystadenocarcinoma, a type of cancer with extensive cyst formation, appears to be inherited in the German shepherd dog.

What to Watch For

Early in the illness, many individuals do not show any clinical signs. However, later signs include:

  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Inappetence
  • Lethargy
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abdominal distension
  • Anemia
  • Excessive drinking and urinating

    In cases of cystadenocarcinomas, watch for multiple skin nodules over the head, neck and extremities.

    Diagnosis

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture and sensitivity
  • Abdominal X-rays
  • Chest X-rays
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Intravenous pyelogram
  • Abdominal exploratory and biopsy

    Treatment

  • Hospitalization and support as needed, including fluid therapy and blood transfusions
  • Nephrectomy, or the surgical removal of the kidney and associated tumor, if it occurs in only one kidney
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer medication and diet as directed by your veterinarian. Return for follow-up as directed.

    Prognosis varies depending on the tumor type and ability to surgically remove the tumor. There is no known prevention of renal cancer.

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