Abdominal tumors - in this context - comprise tumors of spleen, liver or pancreas. A tumor or neoplasm in general is characterized by uncotrolled tissue growth which may be of either benign or malign nature. Tumors may also appear in other abdominal organs such as uterus, bowels and kidneys.
Tumors of the abdominal cavity are always problematic since they do not or only little cause symptoms during the initial stage and are consequently noticed only in rare cases. In the last resort, without any advance warning penetration of the affected organs or proliferation onto other organs may occur which makes healing nearly impossible. In later stages of the disease, when neoplasms exceeded a certain size, symptoms evolve. Typical for tumors of the abdominal cavity is always the increase of the abdominal girth. In addition to that the symptomatology is characterized by absence of appetite to excessive loss of weight, vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Fever, reluctance towards physical activity and lethargy are also often noticed.
The tumors may always develop on the organ itself or grow over from other organs due to proliferations. Particularly tumors on the liver are often caused secondarily, and have their origin in other organs of the abdominal cavity. The earlier the tumor is diagnosed, the better are the chances of the dog for recovery. In advanced stages and with proliferations, the chance for healing is however rather poor.
X-ray photographs or ultrasonic examinations are used to determine the position of the tumor and the affection of the organs of the abdominal cavity. Abdominal incisions or laparoscopies and the removal and examination of tissue samples serve the support of the diagnosis. The therapy always depends on the organs affected. In case of tumors on the spleen, these must be removed surgically. The functions of the spleen can also be assumed by other organs to a certain extent. A complete healing is possible if no proliferation to other organs took place. In case of tumors on the pancreas, normally there is no other therapeutic possibility than fighting the symptoms. The prospect of healing is very bad. In case of tumors of the liver, normally also the evolving symptoms are treated, the life time to be expected, however, is considerably higher than in case of an affection of the pancreas.
Due to the risk of not detecting a tumor of the abdominal cavity and the poor prognosis in advanced stages, an age-related, regular preventive medical examination is appropriate. Depending on the position of the tumor and the stage, in case of early intervention there is the possibility of a successful removal and the prevention of proliferations. In case the dog is lethargic and has furthermore a swelling of the abdomen, you should always directly consult a veterinarian.