What is anal gland adenocarcinoma?
Anal gland adenocarcinoma is a cancer within the anal glands of the dog. Though this is not an overly common cancer, it does tend to have spread by the time it is discovered – this is because it generally grows inward rather than bulging outward through the skin of the anus. As a result, these cancers have often grown quite large by the time they have been found, and even when found early, they have often already spread.
Occasionally, we are lucky and find the tumour during a routine examination at the time of a vaccination or other consultation. Most of the time however, it is diagnosed when the owner has noticed a lump or swelling beneath the tail or because the dog is repeatedly straining to pass stools.
Surgery is the first step. The majority of these tumours can be removed with surgery without causing significant issues like faecal incontinence. However, by the time of diagnosis, these tumours have often already spread. Most commonly, they spread to the sublumbar lymph nodes (the lymph nodes near the abdomen, beneath the lumbar spinal area). We suggest removing these at the same time.
Surgery can often add significant time – as much as a year – as these tumours aren’t rapidly growing. With the addition of chemotherapy, your pet’s lifespan can increase by as much as two years.
Cost of procedure
At Brisbane Pet Surgery, the removal of anal gland adenocarcinomas will cost between $900 - $1,200, depending on the complexity of the procedure. If sublumbar lymph nodes require removal, this will add $400 - $600 to the cost. If this were treated at a referral centre, the cost of anal gland cancer removal along with sublumbar lymph node removal would be approximately $4,000 - $7,000 or more.
Recovery and aftercare
Your pet is usually able to return home on the same day as the surgery. You are then able to administer opioid and NSAID pain relief, in addition to antibiotics. We will remove the sutures two weeks after the surgery.