What are anal gland adenocarcinomas?
This is cancer of the anal glands of a dog. It is not overly common but unfortunately tends to have spread by the time it is found. This is because it generally grows inwards rather than bulging out through the skin near the anus. These cancers can often be quite large by the time they are found. Even if discovered small, they have sometimes already spread.
Sometimes we get lucky and find it during a routine examination at the time of vaccination or other consultation. Most of the time though, it is diagnosed, either because the owner has noticed a lump/swelling beneath the tail in the anal area, or because the owner has noticed repeated straining to pass stools by the dog. This is due to the mass taking up space in the pelvic canal and making it hard to move stools along the rectum.
Surgery is the starting point. Thankfully, most of these can be removed surgically without causing significant issues such as faecal incontinence. Unfortunately, by the time of diagnosis, these have often spread. The first place they spread to most commonly, is the sublumbar lymph nodes (lymph nodes beneath the lumbar spinal area, in the abdomen). We recommend removal of these at the same time.
Surgery alone can add significant time, often as much as a year, as these are not rapidly growing tumours. Adding chemotherapy can increase survival to as long as two years.
Cost of the procedure
Removal of anal gland adenocarcinoma’s cost approximately $900 - $1,200, depending on complexity of the procedure. Adding sublumbar lymph node removal will add a further $400 - 600 approx. At the referral level, anal gland cancer removal and sublumbar lymph node removal will cost $4,000 - $7,000 or more.