What Is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer which develops from the cells that produce insulin, or pancreas. Insulin helps your body use sugar (glucose) stored in your liver and muscles to control blood glucose levels. When too much glucose enters the bloodstream, it causes high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Too little glucose leaves the bloodstream, causing low blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance is one of the most common risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer. People with diabetes are at increased risk because their bodies do not make enough insulin to regulate blood glucose levels properly. They may develop Type 2 Diabetes if they have not been diagnosed yet and can become diabetic due to lifestyle choices such as smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet.
The other risk factor is obesity. Obesity increases the amount of fat in your pancreas and makes it less effective at producing insulin. As a result, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. If left untreated, pancreatic cancer can spread throughout the body resulting in death.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Developing Pancreatic Cancer?
Dogs are roughly twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer as humans. There is no known cause for this type of cancer in dogs, but there are certain risk factors which increase the chances of your dog developing it. The main risk factors are:
1. Age: It is a common misconception that pancreatic cancer mainly affects older dogs.
While this type of cancer does tend to affect middle-aged and older dogs more often, it can occur in dogs of any age.
2. Gender: There is evidence that pancreas cancer mainly affects male dogs than female dogs.
3. Breed: Certain dog breeds are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than others.
These include Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Boxers and Doberman Pinschers among others.
4. Family History: If pancreatic cancer runs in your dog’s family, its chances of developing it are greater than average.
How Will I Know If My Dog Has Pancreatic Cancer?
If your dog has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it may display symptoms such as:
2. Loss of Appetite
4. Weight Loss
5. Abdominal Swelling
6. Diabetes (If your dog has been diabetic for some time)
How Is Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will most likely run a series of tests to rule out other conditions before diagnosing your dog with pancreatic cancer. These tests may include:
1. A complete blood count: This test will help your veterinarian rule out anemia and infection as possible causes of your dog’s symptoms.
2. Biopsy: A tissue sample will be taken from your dog’s pancreas and analyzed in a lab.
If cancer cells are present, the diagnosis will likely be pancreatic cancer.
3. Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the pancreas and surrounding organs.
Pancreatic tumors often cause the pancreas to swell up and can be detected during an ultrasound.
4. Computed Tomography: A CT or CAT scan is a more advanced form of X-ray that allows your veterinarian to view detailed images of your dog’s organs.
Pancreatic tumors and the swelling caused by them can be easily detected during a CT scan.
5. Abdominal Biopsy: This involves taking a sample of the pancreatic tumor for examination in a lab.
Depending on the type and location of the tumor, your veterinarian may suggest surgery or other forms of treatment.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
Surgery: If the tumor is operable, your veterinarian may recommend surgery to remove it. It is important that the entire tumor be removed in its entirety during surgery or it will keep growing back.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs to kill off cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is not often used to treat pancreatic cancer in dogs.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is the use of a concentrated dose of radiation to kill off cancerous cells. Radiation therapy may be used in conjunction with surgery to destroy any tumor remnants.
Home Care: If your dog has undergone either surgery or radiation, your veterinarian will recommend a series of home care measures to assist the recovery proccess. These may include a specific diet or restrictions on the exercise your dog may partake in.
Pancreatic tumors are often fatal cancers with little treatment options available. Surgery may extend your dog’s life for only a short period of time and most dogs will die from the disease within a few months. It is important that you and your veterinarian keep an eye on the tumors if they are removed to make sure they aren’t spreading to other parts of the body.
What is the Prognosis?
The prognosis for dogs with pancreatic tumors is generally poor. Even with treatment, most dogs die from the disease within a few months.
Learn more about your dog’s cancer treatments.
Dog Cancers Index
Dog Cancer Home Remedies
From Dog Cancers to the Dog Health Guide Home Page
Sources & references used in this article:
Consumer purchase probability affected by attitude towards low-fat foods, liking, private body consciousness and information on fat and price by R Solheim, HT Lawless – Food Quality and Preference, 1996 – Elsevier
Feces derived allergens of Tyrophagus putrescentiae reared on dried dog food and evidence of the strong nutritional interaction between the mite and … by T Erban, D Rybanska, K Harant, B Hortova… – Frontiers in …, 2016 – frontiersin.org
Development and evaluation of a labeling program for low-fat foods in a discount department store foodservice area by AL Eldridge, MP Snyder, NG Faus, K Kotz – Journal of Nutrition Education, 1997 – jneb.org