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Kidney Cancer - Issue Description

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Issue Name

Kidney Cancer

Other Names
Canine Kidney Cancer, Renal Neoplasia

Issue Description

Kidney cancer is any cancer that originates in a kidney.


Some dogs have no clinical signs associated with a kidney tumor. Others might have symptoms associated with the urinary tract, such as bloody urine or frequent urination. If the cancer has metastasized, which occurs in about half of dogs with renal carcinoma, there can be symptoms related to the organ or tissue that is involved.


A thorough staging evaluation is always indicated when a kidney tumor is detected. This includes chest radiographs (X-rays), abdominal ultrasound, and complete blood cell count and chemistry profile. The most common sites of spread are the lung, liver, and the linings of the abdominal cavity.


Renal (kidney) tumors are rare in dogs. The typical dog is middle-aged to older, and there is no breed or sex predilection. The exception is the German Shepard, which is predisposed to a syndrome of renal cystadenocarcinomas and nodular dermatofibrosis. The majority of primary renal tumors are carcinomas, but a variety of other types have been reported. In addition, some types of cancers can metastasize (spread) to the kidney from other locations.


If there is no detectable evidence of cancer spread to other sites, if the uninvolved kidney has good function, and if the dog is in good enough health to tolerate surgery, then nephrectomy (removal of the affected kidney) is usually indicated. However, metastasis might still become evident weeks or months following surgery. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to indicate what type of chemotherapy might be effective in delaying or preventing this occurrence.


  • Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve.
  • Administer all prescribed medication as directed. Alert your veterinarian if your pet is having any problems, such as respiratory difficulty or changes in urination.
  • General blood work, including a complete blood count and biochemical profile, may need to be reevaluated as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Abdominal ultrasound, depending on the tumor type, should be followed every several months.
  • Thoracic radiographs may be recommended on a regular basis to assess for metastatic disease.
  • Long-term prognosis is poor for most of the malignant renal tumors.

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