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Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) in Dogs

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Treatment will be given on an outpatient basis, unless surgical intervention requires postoperative critical care during recuperation, or bleeding tumors require transfusion of blood components or whole blood transfusions. Your veterinarian may consult a veterinary oncologist for assistance.


Surgical removal of the tumor is recommended when possible, and is often most successful when the tumor is massive and singularly located. Up to 75 percent of the liver can be surgically removed without pronounced loss of function. However, nodular and scattered (diffuse) forms are often not good candidates for surgery. Chemotherapy is not recommended, as it has not been found to be successful in the treatment of liver cancer.


Living and Management


Your veterinarian will schedule follow up exams for abdominal palpation and to evaluate for recurrence every 2–4 months.  Abdominal ultrasonographies will be repeated every 2–4 months for the first year, and liver enzymes will be checked. Unfortunately, this is often a malignant cancer, and the prognosis is poor. Even without metastasis, survival after surgery is generally less than three months. However, the final prognosis will depend on the degree of tumor invasion, how much of the tumor could be successfully removed, and whether it has spread into the body. The rate of metastasis in affected dogs can be as high as 60 percent, most commonly to the lungs, lymph nodes, kidneys, intestines, brain, and spleen.



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