Kidney (Renal) Cancer

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Its not that often that we see a primary kidney cancer in a young pet. Unfortunately, it does occur. This page will show you how we diagnosed and treated it on a one year old Basenji.

This page emphasizes how fast things change, and a pet that is perfectly healthy on a physical exam and blood panel, can change for the worse.

Click on any photo to enlarge it. Graphic photo of a kidney with cancer on this page.

Normal Physical Exam

As part of our routine pre-operative spay exam a blood panel is run. It came back normal. Note the circle over BUN and Creatinine. They are tests of the kidneys, and they are normal.

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Surgery and healing progresses as expected for a young dog. Over the next several months there was no indication of a problem.

Abnormal Physical Exam

History

Three months later this young dog was presented with signs of decreased appetite and not feeling herself.

Physical Exam

  • Body Temp- 101.6 degrees F
  • Mucous membranes- pink
  • Respiratory rate- 40 breaths per minute
  • Heart rate- 150 beats per minute
  • Haircoat- normal
  • Musculoskeletal system (bones and muscles)- normal
  • Mout- normal
  • Eyes- normal
  • Abdomen- normal
  • Lymph nodes- normal
  • Ears- normal
  • Heart- normal
  • Urogenital- normal
  • Weight- 22#, no change from 3 months prior

Interpretation- Even though this exam is essentially normal, a lack of appetite in a young dog is of concern. Also, no weight gain over the last 3 months is cause for concern in a young animal, and confirms the owners observation of lack of appetite.

Diagnostic Tests

  • Blood Panel

    It is obvious there is a serious problem with the kidney tests compared to 3 months prior. In addition, other tests are elevated, all leaning towards a serious kidney problem.

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  • Ultrasound

    This is the abdominal ultrasound report. Read it carefully to see how detailed it is and note the abnormalities.

    The abnormalities are marked in the pictures to follow.

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    Left kidney

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    Right kidney

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    Liver

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    Small intestine

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  • Cytology

    A fine need aspirate (FNA) was obtained during the ultrasound. This is a non-invasive way to obtain a sample as compared to a highly invasive (and more expensive) exploratory surgery. The skill of our ultrasound doctors gives us confidence in the accuracy of the FNA, although there is on guarantee it will give us an accurate cause to the enlarged kidneys.

    The sample is sent to a pathologist for microscopic analysis. It came back a malignant cancer called lymphosarcoma (LSA), also known as lymphoma.

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  • Necropsy

Necropsy photo of a cat with kidney cancer. This is how lymphoma looks in a cat, not the dog above. The cancer is at the arrow, from the 7 PM to 2 AM position on the left.

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Treatment

This is a serious problem that needs to be treated by a veterinary oncologist.

We send all of our cancer cases to the Veterinary Cancer Group

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This is the treatment protocol initiated 4 months ago

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Four months later this dog is doing well, with the kidney tests dramatically improved:

BUN- 35

Creatinine- 1.8