Kidney Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

Renal Adenocarcinoma in Dogs

Adenocarcinoma of the kidneys is a rare neoplasm in dogs, making up less than one percent of all reported neoplasms in dogs. Similar to other carcinomas, when adenocarcinoma of the kidney does occur, it commonly affects dogs that are older than eight years. There is no breed predisposition in dogs for this type of tumor.

Like other adenocarcinomas, adenocarcinoma of the kidney is very aggressive, usually affecting both kidneys, and growing rapidly and metastasizing to other parts and organs of the body. Another version of kidney adenocarcinoma, known as cystadenocarcinoma, is less aggressive and carries better long-term prognosis. This latter type of carcinoma is more common in German shepherds than other breeds.

Symptoms and Types

The symptoms are mostly non-specific and include:

  • Gradual weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Low energy level and lethargy
  • Blood in urine


  • Exact cause of adenocarcinoma of kidney is still unknown
  • Cystadenocarcinoma is an inheritable neoplasm in German shepherds


Your veterinarian will need a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a background history of symptoms. The doctor will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, including a complete blood count, biochemical profile, and a urinalysis to rule out or confirm other causes for these symptoms. Urinalysis remains crucial in the diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of kidneys as it will provide important clues toward the final diagnosis. The presence of blood, proteins, and bacteria in the blood will be determined, and a urine culture will be performed to rule out any infectious causes. Sometime tumor cells are also seen in the urine, which is sufficient for establishing a preliminary diagnosis. Further diagnostics include X-ray and ultrasound imaging, which will demonstrate the presence, size, location and other important information regarding the tumor. If required, your veterinarian will also take a small tissue sample of the kidneys (kidney biopsy) to establish a confirmatory diagnosis. In some cases – as a last resort – surgery may be required to take a sample of the neoplasm for a definitive diagnosis.

renal failure

The failure of the kidneys to perform their proper functions


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance


The condition of being drowsy, listless, or weak


The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.


The result of a malignant growth of the tissue of the epithelial gland.

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