Anal Gland Adenocarcinoma – Cassie & Charlie

A cancer of the anal gland, anal gland adenocarcinoma is unfortunately rarely diagnosed early due to its tendency to grow inwards (into the pelvic area) rather than outwards (through the skin), which makes it very difficult to spot. By the time it’s diagnosed, the cancer has often already spread into the sub-lumbar lymph nodes (which are found underneath the back muscles in your dog’s abdomen).

The tumour cells cause the lymph nodes to enlarge, which means that they often begin applying pressure onto the organs found in the pelvic canal. One of the first signs that something is amiss is your dog straining and having difficulty passing stools as a result of this pressure.

BPS has treated two brave patients for anal gland adenocarcinoma – you can read about their journey below:

Cassie is a 10 year old German Shepherd who was brought into our clinic after her owners noticed her straining. It was discovered that both her bladder and colon were being obstructed by multiple very enlarged sub-lumbar lymph nodes. We removed an incredible six masses (measuring 6 to 8cm by 4 to 6cm in size) from her pelvic canal, which can be seen in one of the above images.

This surgery, coupled with the removal of the cancerous primary anal gland, only cost Cassie’s owners $1450 – a fraction of what they would have been charged at a referral centre.

Charlie is a 9 year old Cavoodle who was also brought into our clinic after he began straining to pass stools. His sub-lumbar lymph nodes and the primary anal gland tumour were removed, setting his owners back $1280. He also went through five cycles of doxorubicin chemotherapy, which cost $230 per session.

Five months down the track and Charlie is still showing no signs of his cancer returning – neither in his sub-lumbar area or in his anal region. Although he has been white for most of his adult life, the chemotherapy interestingly caused Charlie’s coat to return to its puppy brown colour!

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