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Perianal Adenocarcinoma in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Perianal Adenocarcinoma in dogs is, thankfully, a relatively rare condition.  However, if your dog has it, they are in for a painful time. As hinted by the title, this type of cancerous tumor happens in the perianal region and affects your dog’s anal sac.  And as unpleasant as it may be, the good news is that anal sac adenocarcinoma is a treatable condition usually solved with surgery. Hence, it’s important not to “shy” away from the topic simply because it may not be the most “pleasant” of issues to dwell about.

This is especially true because…

While perianal adenocarcinoma certainly is a treatable type of cancer, the menial survival rates do fall off dramatically from the moment of diagnosis, meaning that the sooner you can be diagnosed and begin treating your dog’s adenocarcinoma, the better chances your dog will survive having developed adenocarcinoma!  And you never know; even if you think your dog may have developed perianal adenocarcinoma, there is always the chance that they may only have the “benign version,” which is much more common and is referred to as Perianal Adenoma.


If your dog has been diagnosed with the aggressive form of Perianal Adenocarcinoma, then you can expect your vet to send your dog to surgery as soon as possible. The good news is that your dog will likely survive with combinations of treatments!

But before we…

Get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s back up for a moment and discuss precisely what perianal adenocarcinoma is so that we can better understand why it’s so important to get it checked out right away if we think our pet may have it.

What is perianal adenocarcinoma?

Perianal Adenocarcinoma is a cancerous tumor that develops around the anal sacs of male dogs. The problem is that while these tumors may start around the perianal region, they spread out around the “anal” area and often metastasize into the regional lymph nodes, quickly complicating matters.

This is typically…

When you find that both the Apocrine Glands (the scent-producing bit back there) and the perianal glands become affected by this disease which will usually present as lumps that don’t seem to bother the dog but look infected and painful, these monastic growths can also be found in pubic regions towards the anus and under the tail.

In fact…

The whole Perianal area can be affected, including the anal sphincter. The lumps, or adenomas, will aggressively spread into the lymph nodes.  This is why this disease can be deadly when not treated immediately and why your vet will likely want to perform a rectal examination at the first sign of any perianal lumps.

We should point out that…

There is a non-aggressive and benign version of this disease that your vet will want to ensure your dog doesn’t have before they move on to extreme treatments such as chemotherapy or surgical removal. A biopsy will likely be performed before treatment begins appropriately.

Symptoms of perianal adenocarcinoma

Clinical signs or symptoms that may indicate that your dog suffers from a perianal adenocarcinoma may include:

  • lumps,
  • lesions,
  • blistering or bumps around your pup’s anal region.

It should also be pointed out that…

This condition only affects the male of the species. Still, it is hazardous, and despite where it is situated, if cancer spreads into the lymph nodes, it will quickly start appearing in the lungs, s, eventually resulting in death. This condition needs to be treated promptly to prevent this from happening.

Most Commonly Affected Breeds

Remember that this only affects male dogs. That being said, here are the known breeds associated with being at risk:

Treatment Options

Your vet will first want a rectal examination to look for all the above-mentioned clinical signs. Once verified, they will want to do a tumor biopsy. A blood test to look at blood calcium levels may also be completed, as low blood calcium levels can indicate this condition.

The calcium levels are…

An excellent clue as they do not differ in the benign version of this disease, and a blood test is much quicker than a biopsy.  Now if it turns out that your dog suffers from the more aggressive “cancerous” version of this disorder, your vet will opt for surgical removal wherever possible.  If your dog is particularly old or otherwise unwell, your vet may counsel you not to distress them further. In this event, you must consider their quality of life before you opt for the surgical option.


Should you elect to have surgery performed on your pet, various treatments may be employed, such as chemotherapy and several medications designed to keep the cancer away.

The main takeaway…

One should consider what, if any, treatment should be provided that when a dog does undergo surgery to have their perianal adenocarcinoma, have a 70% chance of living for another two years vs those who do nothing, which tend to die right away1

This brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.  This is why, if your pet may have perianal adenocarcinoma (or any other health issue), you will want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP!


An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, but beyond that, diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!  This is also why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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