Bladder Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Common info

Bladder cancer is an effect of abnormal growth of tissues in the bladder which has spread to other parts of the body. The type of cancer that most commonly found is Transitional Cell Carcinoma which often experienced in dogs rather than cats, esp. among Beagles, Shetland Sheepdogs, Scottish Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers, and Westie Terriers.


Although the cause of bladder cancer in dogs and cats is not clearly known, it is believed to be generally affected by genetic and environmental factors, such as exposure to cigarette smoke, exposure to the pesticide, etc.


Transitional Cell Carcinoma is the type of cancer most frequently found in the bladder; but it can also develop in the kidneys, ureters, prostate, and urethra.  Occasionally, other types of cancer may also be experienced, such as Leiomyosarcomas, which are the benign tumors that arise from the smooth muscle on the bladder wall; Fibrosarcomas, the benign tumors that arise from the connective tissues; and other types of cancer that arise from the soft tissues; most of which can metastasize to lung, lymph nodes, bones and other body organs.


  • Dysuria
  • Urinary frequency
  • Bloody urination
  • Urinary incontinence

The symptoms found in bladder cancer in dogs and cats are dysuria, straining during urination, urinary frequency, bloody urination, and urinary incontinence.

Treatment and Prevention

Bladder cancer can easily metastasize. And since it has stated in several pieces of research that surgery can cause a metastasis; the best treatment alternative is urinary catheterization which will prevent a urethral obstruction as well as prolong the dog’s life. Radiation therapy during surgery reported prolonging the dog’s life whereas chemotherapy may prescribe to control the local growth of tumors. However, this has many adverse effects like a bladder neck contracture which results in urinary incontinence (involuntary discharge of urine). Therefore, antibiotics may also prescribe to prevent secondary infections.

  1. Wikipedia | Bladder cancer
  2. Wikipedia | Bladder cancer in cats and dogs
  3. Bluepearlvet | Bladder tumors
  4. Valli, V. E., Norris, A., Jacobs, R. M., Laing, E., Withrow, S., Macy, D., Henderson, R. A. 1995. Pathology of canine bladder and urethral cancer and correlation with tumour progression and survival. Journal of Comparative Pathology, 113(2), 113–130.
  5. Woldemeskel, M. 2017. Primary Urinary Bladder Osteosarcoma in a Dog. Journal of Comparative Pathology, 157(2-3), 141–144
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