PetMD Seal

Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

3 min read


Adenocarcinoma of the Lung in Dogs


Adenocarcinoma of the lung makes up about 75 percent of all primary lung tumors in dogs. This is a malignant neoplasm, with the ability to grow rapidly and metastasize to distant parts of the body, including the organs, lymph nodes, bones, brain and eyes. Like other types of malignant tumors, adenocarcinoma of the lungs is usually seen in older dogs, over ten years of age, and is more common in dogs than cats. Any breed can be affected by this type of cancer, but boxers have been found to be more more at risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the lungs than other breeds.


Symptoms and Type


Most symptoms are related to the respiratory system, but in cases of metastasis the symptoms may vary depending upon the location of the metastasis in the body. Following are some of the symptoms seen in patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung:


  • Pain
  • Dyspnea (difficult breathing)
  • Tachypnea (rapid breathing)
  • Low energy level and lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Gradual weight loss
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Lameness, in cases with metastasis to bones
  • Muscle wasting
  • Fever in some patients
  • Ascites (an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen)




  • Exact cause is still unknown (idiopathic)
  • Risk factors include residing in an urban environment and passive inhalation of cigarette smoke, but both are unproven




You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, including a background history of symptoms. After taking a detailed history and performing a thorough physical examination, your veterinarian will order various laboratory tests, including a complete blood profile, a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and X-ray studies.

Thoracic (chest) radiographs are the most important tool in diagnosing this condition in pets. An ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used in some patients to confirm the diagnosis. The CT scan and MRI may also help in determining the possibility of metastasis of the tumor into other parts of the body.






Related Articles

Anal Gland Cancer in Dogs

While anal gland/sac cancer (adenocarcinoma) is not common, it is an invasive disease that does not generally have a positive outlook. Usually...