Stomach and Intestinal Cancer (Leiomyosarcoma) in Dogs

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Leiomyosarcoma of Stomach, Small and Large intestine in Dogs

Leiomyosarcoma is an uncommon cancerous tumor, which, in this case, arises from the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines. It is an extremely dangerous and painful disease that affects mostly older dogs (more than six years old), though all breeds are equally predisposed to leimyosarcoma. Moreover, the cancer has a tendency to metastasize to other sites in the gastrointestinal tract and other body organs.

Symptoms and Types

Most symptoms are related to gastrointestinal tract, including:



The exact cause for this cancer is currently unknown.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination, as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC) -- the results of which are usually within normal ranges. However, in some dogs with advanced forms of the disease, few abnormalities, including anemia, abnormally highly number of white blood cells (leukocytosis), and abnormally low glucose levels (hypoglycemia) may be noted. Other diagnostic procedures include abdominal X-rays and ultrasounds, which help to identify changes in the stomach and intestinal walls, such as thickening of the wall. Contrast radiography, meanwhile, is used to enhance visualization of tissue and improve localization of the tumor.

Endoscopy is another valuable tool for direct visualization of the affected areas. This is performed with an endoscope, a rigid or flexible tube inserted into the esophagus down to the stomach and intestines. As well as visually inspecting the region, the veterinarian will remove a sample of the affected area (stomach and/or intestine) for biopsy to confirm diagnosis.

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