Stomach Cancer in Dogs

Understanding and Successfully Treating Canine Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer in dogs has been on the rise in recent decades and unfortunately it’s one of the most fatal types of canine cancer that can develop. In most cases the prognosis is poor, but it’s important to know that remission is possible.

The Canine’s Stomach and it’s Importance in Cancer Treatment

The stomach is the first stop in the intestinal tract which plays a vital role in helping to deliver the needed nutrients to restore and maintain health. In addition it’s where much energy is used breaking down and digesting food.

When treating any type of cancer, it’s imperative that the digestive tract is functioning optimally without challenges that cause excessive strain robbing the body of energy needed to heal.

 Dog CancerWhen cancer develops in the stomach or digestive tract, there’s a double challenge, in that the tumor itself as well as any digestive challenges due to the cancer need to be confronted.

Types of Stomach Cancer Found in Dogs:


Adenocarcinomas are the type of tumors most often associated with cancer of the stomach. This cancer is one that is found in glandular tissue, and it will often spread to the liver, lungs and lymph nodes.

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cells are part of the immune system, and they play a role in inflammation and allergic responses. These cells are present in the linings of the digestive tract, lungs, nose and skin. When mast cells become abnormal, they often form mast cell tumors. The tumors release excess amounts of the biological chemicals heparin and histamine, which are normally produced by mast cells. This overdose of natural chemicals damages the body.


Leiomyosarcomas are tumors that form in the walls of hollow organs such as the stomach, bladder, uterus and respiratory tract. The gastrointestinal tract is the organ that is most often affected by these tumors. This type of tumor, when found in the gastrointestinal tract, will often spread to the lymph nodes and liver. It can also spread to the spleen and kidneys.


Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Although lymphomas are not the most common cause of stomach cancer, these tumors can be found in the gastrointestinal tract.

Unfortunately, prognosis is not very promising and conventional treatments alone have not been successful in treating this aggressive type of cancer. Stomach Cancer is treatable however and there are cases where remission is achieved and maintained. To properly treat any type of cancer including stomach cancer in dogs, it’s important to understand the underlying issues, as well as what’s causing them.

Main causes for Canine Stomach Cancer

The Key to Successfully Treating Stomach Cancer in Dogs

On average, dogs that have been diagnosed with stomach cancer live less than six months after diagnosis. It’s more commonly found in older male dogs and is often in advanced stages before detected. Conventional treatments such as surgery,  have extremely low success rates with stomach cancer. Surgery alone only focuses on the tumor itself but it fails to address the underlying issue and tumors generally return and often spread to other organs. Surgery has the best chance of success when paired with a holistic treatment.

The Importance of the Stomach’s Role in Treating Cancer

Over the past few decades there has been an increase in many types of cancer found in dogs. There’s also been a rise in may other diseases within the digestive tract and there’s a good reason for this. In recent decades domesticated dogs have been introduced to processed diets and unfortunately these commercially manufactured foods have become the primary cause for the escalation in many canine health issues.

Dogs are direct decedents of wolves and share the same carnivorous digestive tract. Their DNA is close to 99% identical to a wolves and there’s no notable difference in the digestive tract.

Most dry kibble (even the high end brands) are high in carbohydrates loaded with grains that canines are unable to properly digest. Dogs don’t produce the type of enzymes needed to break down grains, and long term consumption often leads to the developments of many digestive tract and immune system disorders. Canines in the wild don’t naturally graze on corn and wheat in the wild, and even their prey, (mainly rabbits and deer) don’t consume grains either. It’s completely unnatural and outside what their digestive tract was designed to break down.

Unfortunately these cheap fillers are used to increase profits with a complete disregard to your dogs well being.There are many other issues with the common domesticated diet as well and it’s important to understand that this is one of the major factors.

Most Common Types of Stomach Cancer


This is most common type of tumor associated with cancer of the stomach. It’s found in glandular tissue, and often spreads to the liver, lungs and lymph nodes.

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cells are part of the immune system, and are present in the linings of the digestive tract, lungs, nose and skin. When mast cells become abnormal, they often form mast cell tumors. These tumors release an excess amounts of the biological chemicals heparin and histamine, which damage the body.


These tumors are often found in the gastrointestinal tract and commonly spread to the lymph nodes and liver as well as the spleen and kidneys.


Lymphoma are the least common type of tumor found in canine stomach cancer and if present, they are usually found in the gastrointestinal tract.

Canine Stomach Cancer Symptoms

The following symptoms of  stomach cancer in dogs are typically  absent until the disease reaches an advanced stage:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Weight loss
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hepatomegaly (enlarged, uneven liver)
  • Abdominal hemorrhage
Dog Cancer Diet

Surgical removal of the tumors is generally the conventional protocol for cases where the tumor has not spread. This option also depends on the type of tumors as certain tumors are difficult to resected surgically.

Commonly, intestinal tumors are located in the lower portion of the stomach, and often this area of the stomach must be removed along with part of the small intestine (partial gastrectomy). The stomach is then surgically reconnected to the small intestine (Bilroth type I procedure). Complete gastrectomy are avoided since the chances of survival is considered very poor.

If the tumor is malignant. Chemotherapy is usually recommended. Treatments are administered by intravenous injections, generally beginning a week after surgery. A common chemotherapy protocol is chemo (Adriamycin) every 2 weeks for 5 treatments and then weekly (Cytoxan chemotherapy), along with daily Doxycycline (for antiangiogenesis) and Piroxicam (immune support as a COX2 inhibitor) and monthly (Vincristine) treatments.

Unfortunately, conventional treatments alone offer little chance of remission and long term success. Even procedures that are considered to have gone extremely well, the life expectancy is less than 2 years.

In order to ensure the highest chance of success and long term remission, a fully comprehensive diet treatment is key.

Holistic cancer treatments for dogs tend to address more than just the tumors. They tend to take more into consideration including the overall health of the patient and the underlying issues that have lead to the development of the disease.

Severe weight loss is also a common and serious challenge when treating dogs with stomach cancer. The proper diet is extremely important when treating any type of cancer in dogs and even more so with stomach cancer. Just as an improper diet has strong adverse affects on the stomach, a powerful canine cancer diet can bring the digestive tract back into balance and begin to heal right at the source of the problem.

The stomach is at the front line of the digestive tract and will come into direct contact with the immune boosting nutrients and cancer fighting herbs and supplements.

Whether conventional methods are being used or not, to attain and maintain remission, the proper diet treatment is crucial. There are a number cases where long term remission was attained and diet is commonly a contributing factor to the success.

Is it a Case of Faulty Genes?

Certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to certain types of cancer such as Chows which are about 20 more prone to develop stomach cancer. However this does not mean that these breeds are destine to develop cancer.

It’s important to understand that predisposed does not mean predetermined. There are some dogs that are born with “faulty jeans” but that percentage is actually extremely low. DNA is simply a blueprint, it’s the environmental and external factors that determine whether the cells follow the blueprint correctly or begin to develop abnormally.

Let’s take a look at Osteosarcoma in dogs for a clear example. Some larger breeds are more prone to develop bone cancer (osteosarcoma) and many people (including many veterinarians) would falsely assume that this was a genetic factor. Larger breeds have much larger growing spurts as puppies, and it’s crucial that they receive the proper nutrients needed to develop a dense skeletal structure to support their weight. It’s also important that they don’t grow too rapidly in order to insure their bone density. Commercially produced dog foods not only lack the proper nutrients, they’re also loaded with carbohydrates that increase the growth rate in puppies.

All breeds of dogs have their areas of health that must be nurtured and by doing so, the chances of developing cancer drop dramatically.