Anal Sac Tumor with Lymph Node Enlargement

Anal Sac Tumor with Lymph Node Enlargement

My Laydebug

My Laydebug

Two weeks ago, Laydebug, my rescue foxhound of 10 years, started drinking excessively. No other symptoms present. I had ordered her senior blood panel in June but decided to repeat it with this onset of drinking so much. It showed her calcium levels were high (14).

My vet told me she could drop dead of a heart attack at any minute and told me to get a test for pituitary gland problems.

A personal friend, also a vet, asked me if anyone checked her anal sacs as he said 20 to 30% of high calcium is due to a tumor in the anal sac that can be as small as a grain of rice.

I took her immediately to a specialist 3 hours away and had a full diagnostic evaluation done. Indeed, it is a tumor in the anal sac and the ultrasound showed enlarged lymph nodes in the sublumbar.

No treatment options have been provided yet as the results will take a day from the aspirate of the tumor site. The "specialist" told me she would get recommendatons from an oncologist and I'd likely be facing radiation and chemotherapy. And if I couldn't afford those options, there likely was medicine to pull the calcium levels down.

I have googled a lot and it appears this is not a good prognosis at all. Many sites say the tumor should be removed because that type of tumor/cancer is quite aggressive. I also was told that often owners have to put their dogs down because the tumor grows to a size that the dog cannot defecate.

ANY advice is appreciated. Ladyebug's a true gem. My lesson learned, sadly too late, is everyone should demand that their vet examines their anal sacs upon each and every visit, especially in older dogs. Should this have been done, in hindsight, the tumor could have been removed, possibly with a full recovery. My former vet always did it; my current vet doesn't do it unless asked. I didn't know anal sacs could get tumors. A hard lesson to learn so I want to share this information with others.

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Mar 29, 2016
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Anal Sac Tumor
by: Stacey

We just helped our sweet 12 year old Dachshund/Spaniel mix across the rainbow bridge yesterday, March 27. She was diagnosed with this condition in October of 2015 and the signs were a little weight loss and excessive water drinking.

The tumor was discovered and cancer was also in her lymph nodes. Surgery option was not promising, as it would lead to permanent incontinence and high infection rate. It would not cure her, only buy some time...maybe. A lot to put a dog through for a "maybe".

We tried chemo for a month, but it made her miserable so we stopped. We loved and pampered her the last months of her life. They didn't expect her to live past Thanksgiving of 2015, but she made it all the way to Easter of 2016.

She had a good quality of life until the last couple of weeks when the tumor invaded her spine and she couldn't walk. For two weeks we carried her outside to go to the bathroom and hoped the paralysis might be unrelated and there would be improvement, all for naught. She began to deteriorate quickly, paralysis got worse and began panting excessively all the time and seemed physically uncomfortable. We decided it was time for us to let her go, we did not want a painful end for her. It was a difficult decision. Her mind was good until the end.

Jan 07, 2016
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Anal gland tumor
by: Bill

Hi all

We as a family have a beautiful soft hearted 7yr old labradoodle who has been diagnosed with anal sac carcinoma.

Trimmed, bathed, pampered him at Christmas 2015 and felt a lump on his rear end by his tail.

He showed no signs of irritation, dragging, or ill health.
He had been drinking a little more than usual but not much.
Had his yearly check up at the vets in July 2015 and also went into local kennels for 2 weeks, all good.

We have been told months, devastated.

All we can now do is love and pamper till the end.

Love you stormy dog.

Nov 30, 2015
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Diagnosis too late
by: Brian

Buddy, my 9 year old lab mix was diagnosed with anal sac carcinoma today. He had no symptoms that I noticed until just 3 days ago when he lost his appetite, became lethargic, and and his hind legs became weak.

He can still walk, but with a stilted gait, and his back is arched up slightly.

Preliminary diagnosis was 'possible pancreatitis', which needed confirmation via ultrasound, although initial x-ray also indicated a white mass near his bladder, which was pushing his colon down.

I took him to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, where a rectal exam showed a large anal sac mass (at least 5 cm) and the palpation also found enlarged sublumbar lymph nodes.

Before doing the ultrasound to confirm, the vet recommended an additional chest x-ray to see how far the cancer had metastasized. There were about a dozen small white spots in his lungs.

With this level of involvement, surgery was not likely to improve life expectancy. Oral chemo was also offered as an additional palliative step, but I declined. So, I have taken Buddy home to nurture, cuddle and spoil him during his last days.

Rectal exams were not part of Buddy's yearly exams. I wish they had been. Or maybe not. He was free of pain and other symptoms which may not have been the case if we had intervened with surgery months ago.

He is on mild pain and anti-nausea meds now, which I hope helps him hang onto quality of life for awhile.

Sep 29, 2015
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Recurring anal sac carcinoma
by: Robbin Smith

Our 12 yr old dachshund had a tumor removed 3 months ago and sent off to determine if it was cancerous. The results were very aggressive anal sac carcinoma.

She's done well since the surgery with some constipation. Routine vet visits revealed heart issues and she is on heart medication. She can't jump up on the couch anymore. We have to lift her up. We noticed she started whimpering when we picked her up under her front legs, so my husband took her to the vet last Wednesday. Our vet is in the hospital so they referred her to another vet. They gave her dye and did X-rays that revealed there is another tumor on her spinal column pressing down on her intestines. They have sent information to LSU veterinarian hospital in Baton Rouge. We are waiting to see if they think surgery to remove yet another tumor is feasible.

Last night she had a bad night coughing, gagging, restless. When we pick her up poop leaks out. Waiting for vet to call us today to see if we can give her something for the pain or what to expect. Very heartbreaking.

She is a very loving sweet part of our life. Our pain is unbearable. I just pray she doesn't suffer. Has anyone else had recurring tumors?

Jul 29, 2015
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Bungee - My Best Friend
by: Elisa

My dog (Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix) was diagnosed with anal cancer in April 2015. He is 15 yrs old.

I elected for no surgery due to age and finances. I decided to give him the best quality of life as I can. We spend lots of quality time together outdoors taking lots of photographs and make memories. Still active and has an appetite.

The only problem is his constipation. There are some days that is easier than others. I have included canned pumpkin puree and Metamucil to his meal. Mainly keep him on soft food diet which seem to help.

I know once that time comes, my dog will let me know. In the meantime, I will keep giving him all the love and kisses while he's here and will not let him suffer.

Apr 03, 2015
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Anal Sac Cancer
by: Anonymous

Hi all,

My beloved long-haired dachshund Sasha was diagnosed with cancer of the anal sac in November 2014 at age 11.

It was a total shock, only discovered when she started drinking excessively (due to high calcium levels it turns out). No other signs, other than slight constipation. After talking with the vet I learned the prognosis was not good - totally devastating. I decided to see a specialist and learned there was no spread the the lymph nodes - we caught it early, thank goodness! So Sasha had the surgery over Thanksgiving and got through it just great.

We decided not to do chemo or radiation given her age - we are just going to enjoy the remaining time we have together.

Here we are in April, and so far so good! I want to wish you all the best of luck - I know there are some very difficult decisions to be made, but you will ultimately do what's right for you and your best friend.

Feb 19, 2015
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Anal sac cancer
by: Anonymous

My Oscar was diagnosed with anal sac cancer and I was completely shocked. He was never sick. It was during a routine cleaning that it was found.

He had surgery and chemo. It added 2 years to his life. He lived to 14 and I would do it again. He was tired after chemo but he did great.

I miss him so much but I am grateful we had more time together because of his treatment.

Good luck everyone. These guys are our babies.

Oct 05, 2014
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Anal gland tumour in my 12 year old Irish Setter Rufus
by: Vanessa

Rufus was diagnosed 11 months ago with a tumour the size of a golf ball & given 2 to 10 months to live if malignant. The vet castrated him while he was under the anaesthetic as this would stop the growth of the tumour if it was benign.

It turned out to be malignant, but a slow growing tumour (a low rate of mitosis). A couple of months ago the vet examined his anal glands & there was hardly any increase in size in the tumour. This may be due to the fact that it is slow growing, or the castration may have helped if it is testosterone driven. Rufus still eats well & defaecates OK. He has put on weight over the year & is not as energetic, but this may be the result of the castration.

The vet advised against surgery as it makes them incontinent & healing is very difficult due to the risk of infections & his life would be unlikely to be extended. He has had surgery twice previously, a malignant melanoma removed from his eyelid at age 5 & a malignant melanoma removed from his gums 2 years ago, both slow growing & in both cases no chemotherapy or radiotherapy were given.

Aug 31, 2014
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Anal Sac Adenocarcinoma
by: Liz

I have read the many comments on several dogs with this particular cancer. I also have a nearly 10 yr old female who is a 5 yr breast cancer survivor from a stage 2 complex carcinoma.

While Toddy is celebrating her having survived breast cancer, she now is battling a new cancer. The surgery removed the entire tumor, and further x-rays and an abdominal ultra sound and bloodwork has not revealed any spreading of this anal sac cancer. Their is no lymph node involvement and the mitotic index is low (between 0 and 1) which means it is moving very slowly.

It is important to know what the prognosis and the staging or mitotic index or whatever rating your dog's cancer is given from the pathology report, in order to have an idea as to what would be the best source of treatment for your dog.

Toddy has had 3 chemo treatments and has had no issues, and now she has begun her 20 radiation treatments, 3 down and 17 more to go. She will complete the remaining 3 chemo treatments once she has healed from her radiation treatments. She is a good candidate for treatment with there not being any spreading to any other organs or lymph nodes.

Please be sure to inquire about the staging of your dog's cancer before deciding the course of treatment. Good luck to all with this terrible disease. Do not give up and as long as you see "life" in your dog's eyes, then help them fight the good fight. This is my motto and I have at this time no regrets for helping my girl fight for her life.

Jul 02, 2014
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Update on comment from May 2,2013
by: Pamella McGrath

Just wanted to update my comment from May 2,2013.

Our sweet Otis pasted away on August 4,2013. But he lived a happy life for 10 cancer free years and then another 1 1/2 with the anal cancer.

Not only that, the day before, our dog Banjo's nose started to bleed and we brought him in and they said he also had cancer. They couldn't stop the bleeding and had to let him go to the Rainbow Bridge too. I had never heard of this before and he was fine otherwise. So it was a terrible heartbreaking 2 days and I miss them every day.

I still swear by the Aloe Vera and give it to my other dogs daily now as a preventative and they even seem to feel better as they are all getting old. I've also read up on Cat's Claw and it sounds like it helps a lot of different ailments including cancer so maybe that will help.

Don't give up and I hope you can spend many more years with your furbaby.

Mar 25, 2014
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My Sheltie
by: cathyg

My Sheltie was diagnose with the same cancer 10 months ago. Since she is only seven, we decided on the surgery, the removal of the anal carcinoma and two abdominal lymph nodes. It was a tough recovery and very expensive but I have no regrets. We decided on no chemo or radiation because statistically, it does not increase a dogs life span.

Today, due to excessive thirst and trouble defecating, we took her to the vet and found out her cancer is spreading. She seems to be a bit fatigued too with a decrease in appetite, but she is still happy and "ok".

I will not let her suffer though, so we're going to watch her. The vet says two weeks to a month. We'll see. She's eight now and I'm just not ready to lose her, but like I said, I won't let her suffer. We've gotten 10 more months with her because of the surgery and honestly I thought we would have more. Now, we will just give her any foods she loves and spend quality time. She's brought us so much love and happiness and I will miss her terribly one day.

Good luck everyone.

Mar 21, 2014
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Anal Gland Cancer
by: Anonymous

My dog Eddie, who is 11 1/2 was diagnosed last week with anal glad cancer after the vet did an aspiration on the tumor. It appears not to have spread yet and is the size of a peanut. However, I was told that just because they can't find anything in his lymph nodes with the ultrasound, it doesn't mean the tumor has not sent seeds out. My dilemma is whether to have the tumor surgically removed or just let him live out the rest of his days w/o surgery/radiation/chemo. Does anyone have experience with a pet who had this cancer with no evidence of spread into the lymph nodes? If so, did your pet survive longer than he normally would have without recurrence of cancer?

May 06, 2013
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My Dog was recently diagnosed with anal cancer
by: Lisa

Hi there...more than a month ago, our American Eskimo which is 13 was diagnosed with anal cancel with a swollen sub-lumbar. We had surgery scheduled but decided that day we didn't want to put her through the surgery. She shakes uncontrollably whenever we take her to the vets and is just happy as can be at home.

I also asked my vet when it was time could we give her something at home to put her to rest and they said no. I see a post from someone on here that they had it scheduled to do that. Could you give me more information on that? I am in Maryland. Thank you.

We also tried 4Life Factor Plus which is a holistic treatment and she was sick for two days so we took her off of it. Any suggestions? I want her around as long I can have her. She's our Princess!

May 02, 2013
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Aloe Vera
by: Pamella McGrath

I just brought my Otis to the vet to have a couple of teeth pulled. A year ago he was diagnosed with anal cancer and given 2-5 months. As of today he is still eating, pooping though I have to clean him after due to the baseball sized tumor. It was found that he also had a heart murmur during the last visit.

Today the blood work shows high calcium level but otherwise his heart and kidneys are fine. They are quite surprised he is still alive and doing so well. I give him 3 tablespoons of Aloe Vera a day. I swear by it for so many things. I started with 1 tablespoon because until they get used to it they can get diarrhea and after a few days add another and then another. Also rub Castor oil mixed with aloe Vera (warmed) on the tumor.

Some people say the tumors have broken open and healed. As far as Otis it hasn't healed but seems soothing to him. He has mostly good days with a couple bummer days but I think getting the tooth out will help. I know what you mean about some days he is just up and running and others he is tired, but I know I'm not willing to give up yet and neither is he obviously.

I also started adding baking soda to the water as it is supposed to do something to the tumors. We'll see.

Good luck to all of you as I know how hard this news is. Seriously look into the Aloe Vera. A neighbor years ago was diagnosed with brain cancer and given 2 months. His wife researched and gave him the Aloe Vera. He died but 12 years later in a fire. I use the Aloe Vera gel and put it in an eyedropper and just squirt it in. He actually likes the taste.

Nov 19, 2012
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Rescue dog with rectal cancer
by: Max

We have a sharpei/husky mix of ten years with the same diagnosis. We are also going the holistic route to help his last few days. We try warm compresses with baking powder for the lump but it has been difficult to apply to the area. We put colostrum powder in his food to help his immune system (the powder can be purchased at health food store). We add veggies, sardines, fish, olive oil... anything holistic and healthy to diet. You want to get more alkaline in his diet. Also there are liquid drops that can be added to treats or food to help calm them.

Best of luck to you. We totally understand what you are going through. We also opted out of the surgery and chemo route. Just could not put him through it especially at his age.

Nov 16, 2012
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Beagle
by: Anonymous

My 16 year old Beagle has a confirmed potato size tumor in the anal sac. They told us she would not survive the surgery at her age and most likely be paralyzed because of all of the nerve endings that would have to be cut to get it out. We were sent home with 2 weeks worth of pain meds and told she would become obstructed soon and it would be a painful death. We have a decision to make I know...

Feb 29, 2012
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My shepherd mix has rectal cancer
by: Anonymous

My rescue boy who we believe to be approx 12 yrs old was diagnosed last month with a large rectal tumor. I opted for a biopsy to be sure of the vet's assumption of a fast growing tumor, which the biopsy confirmed. They say nothing can be done - he is too old to endure radiation and it would cost $9,000. We have him on anti-inflammatory meds, pain pills, and mineral oil to allow him soft stools.

He acts ok, has a hearty appetite, doesn't seem to be in pain, just some discomfort when trying to sit or lie down.

My vet says we have a month or little more before he is obstructed, and we will have to make a choice. I can't bear the thought. Is there any holistic options to slow this fast growing tumor? I don't want to lose my boy, or see him die in a cold vets office.

Aug 23, 2011
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I have a similiar situation
by: Debbie V

I found out yeterday that my 12 year old Irish Setter Killian has anal sac cancer with enlarged lymoh nodes in the sub lumbar. Killin was losing weight, drinking and urinating excessively and had stools that were flat and sort of ribbon shaped. I had taken him to the vet and they said everything seemed to be normal and that it was probably that he was old and his kidneys were not functioning like they used to.

Last Friday Killian began panting excessively and could not urinate more than a few drops. I took Killian to the vet and she felt what she thought was a large tumor in his abdomen. The vet then took an x-ray and still could not see what was causing the problem. The vet ended up catherizing Killian and got more than 2 liters of urine. She prescribed something to help his bladder contract and we went back to see how he was doing on Monday.

As of Monday Killian could urinate just in spurts and he would pee himself when sleeping due to his bladder being so full. We did an ultrasound and found he has anal sac cancer which spread to his lymph nodes in the sub lumbar. The tumors are restricting his colon and ureter so we scheduled an at home euthanization for the next day (today) as he also has a lot of arthirits in his spine and his prognosis was not good.

Killian is 12 and a half years old. The euthanization is supoosed to happen today and he seems like his old self - he has peed and pooped and has follwed me around and I am REALLY confused about what to do. I do not want him to suffer and he has lost 7 lbs. in 3 days but how do you put down a family member you love when they don't appear to be in any pain? I know in time it will have to be done but am I making that desision too soon or just prolonging the inevitable?

Aug 08, 2011
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Anal sac tumor
by: Jen

My 11 1/2 year old shepherd mix has a tumor that is scheduled to be removed and tested. He's been drinking a lot of water and has had anal gland infections for about 6 months, so I think this has been there a while. He's fear aggressive and hasn't had a full physical exam in years. I've had to take that into consideration of his quality of life. If this turns out to be cancer I've decided to do no treatment at all. He's lived a good life and I will hate to say goodbye but I won't have his last few months filled with vet visits that terrify and stress him so much.

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