Cancer: Stomach

Cancer Quicklinks

Types of Dog Stomach Cancer:

According to studies and data from a number of reported cases, dog stomach cancer is a rare condition, usually noted in less then 1% of all cancers in dogs. The causes cannot be identified, but it is almost certain that most of the cancers found in the stomach are metastasized forms of other gastrointestinal cancers meaning it came from another area of the body. Adenomas, Adenocarcinomas, Lymphosarcomas and Mast cell Cancer are common types of canine stomach cancers. All of them are primarily or secondarily metastatic forms, which penetrate into the stomach from other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, lymphatic system or adjacent affected organs.


General symptoms, which a dog shows as a result of stomach cancer, are highly non specific, meaning they don't directly indicate that a dog has this disease. Abdominal pain, anorexia, stress and severe recurring vomiting are the most common signs, but these may occur in many other gastrointestinal conditions as well.

Usually, a dog with stomach cancer shows signs of ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract and a dog may not respond to pain killers and GIT (gastrointestinal) moderators. Bleeding from lesions can be noted in the form of melena which is the passing of digested blood in the feces. The Type and possible outcome of this condition can only be confirmed by tests using the techniques described below.


Along with taking a history and recording clinical symptoms, biochemical profiles and studies of pathological samples can help in the identification and differentiation of canine stomach cancer from other possible diseases. Pathological samples can be collected either by laparotomy (surgical incision in the abdominal wall) or endoscopy. Samples should be collected from different parts of the stomach, including the center, lower and upper sections. Cancerous cell development can be noted, while biochemical changes, severity and decisions for treatment are made on basis of detailed studies. Radiography can help in diagnosing any obstruction, ulcerative coverage and involvement of adjacent organs.


Surgical removal of tumors/cancerous cells is the most effective option, but only applicable during the initial stages of the disease. An excision cannot be made in a single surgical session; more then three operations are required to completely remove cancerous cells. In a single surgery, not more then 4 – 8 centimeters of stomach walls should be operated on.

Lymphosarcomas respond better to chemotherapy, but certain restrictions such as health issues and age factor into any response or sensitivity towards drugs that are used during treatment. The application of high density radiation is usually not effective in treating dog stomach cancer, due severe side effects such as ulcer development, so is not practiced.

Diet should be restricted prior to and after surgery, while extensive care is required in between each surgery. Incurable cases usually require life long management of diet, pain and lesions which are done to improve the dog's quality of life and to reduce the affects of any symptoms.

After recovery, toxins from chemotherapeutics (if used) are required to be excreted; diuretics and/or herbal preparations can be used for this purpose such as C-Caps Formula .


Collectively, the prognosis for stomach cancer in dogs is “very poor”, only cases which are initially diagnosed early and that are treated in a timely manner can make to recovery. Advanced cases are incurable.