Sweet Hilga (pictured far left) was recently diagnosed with Urethral Cancer at age 9. While she is undergoing chemo and fighting back rather well, it was an important reminder to her owners that they should document her on camera by a professional. I was honored to capture Hilga’s free spirit and her easygoing nature. She was a delight to be around and instantly became my friend. Her siblings Lemon and Jackson wanted to make a guest appearance for just a few shots. The image below wasn’t planned, but when Lemon started to gaze lovingly at her sister, I knew it would be a memorable shot.
If you are in the Kansas City area and have a pet who is getting older or diagnosed with an illness, consider my specially priced sessions known as “Going with Grace”. This division was created as a source of comfort for others going through the same pain of losing a pet and to encourage having your senior or terminally ill pets photographed before they cross the rainbow bridge. $150 includes a 1-hour photo session for one pet and one 5×7 print or digital image. This special pricing is available to those diagnosed with a critical illness and senior pets (Age 10+ for larger breeds and Age 12+ for smaller breeds). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The National Canine Cancer Foundation says that one of out of every three dogs will develop cancer, and over half of those dogs will die of the disease. Bladder and urethral cancer or urinary bladder cancer accounts for about 2 percent of all canine cancers.
The most common type of bladder and urethral cancer in dogs is invasive transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, dog breeds that seem to be more prone to this type of cancer are Scottish terriers, Shetland sheepdogs, Airedales terriers, Beagles, West Highland white terriers and Wirehaired fox terriers. Unfortunately, if a dog has a diagnosis of TCC, the long-term survival rate is not good. That’s because this type of cancer is usually in the late stages before the diagnosis occurs. The experts at CanineCancer.com say this type of invasive cancer is almost identical to the human form.
Many types of tumors can result from bladder and urethral cancer in dogs: Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, undifferentiated carcinoma and fibroma. The National Canine Cancer Foundation says these types of tumors can grow on any part of the organ.
Many dog owners wonder what causes bladder or urethral cancer in canines. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, bladder or urethral cancer can have multiple causes. Experts have found a link between this type of cancer and topical herbicides and insecticides, like those applied to a dog to prevent fleas and ticks. Whether a dog is obese may be a factor in whether the dog will develop bladder or urethral cancer. In addition, female dogs seem to get bladder and urethral cancer more often than their male counterparts do.
While dogs can show signs of bladder and urethral cancer, many of the symptoms mirror other diseases or infections. Among the symptoms that could point to a bladder or urethral cancer in a dog are blood in a dog’s urine, the dog is experiencing pain while urinating or straining to urinate, frequent urination during the day and lameness. A dog also may not want to exercise, have difficulty breathing and may be coughing. According to the Vetinfo website, if the veterinarian has prescribed antibiotics for a urinary tract infection and no improvement is shown, he may want to check for bladder or urethral cancer.
According to CanineCancer.com, a veterinarian will order a tissue biopsy, along with other tests and procedures to confirm that the dog has bladder or urethral cancer. She may also request serum biochemistry tests, a urinalysis, abdominal ultrasound, special X-rays, cystoscopy and urinary tumor bladder antigen test, also called a V-TBA.
Like their human companions, the treatment for bladder and urethral cancer in dogs may involve surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Veterinarians may also prescribe medications for the dog to reduce nausea and pain symptoms. CanineCancer.com experts say that surgery on this type of cancer can be risky because of recurrence and the effect the surgery will have on the bladder.