Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC)

Posted on June 12, 2015

A sample of smaller breed dogs such as Dachshunds, Scottish Terriers and Shetland Sheepdogs along with a small percentage of cats may develop Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC) in their lifetime.  Characterized by a small tumor growth in the urinary tract; most prevalently along the neck of the bladder; Transitional Cell Carcinoma can exhibit symptoms ranging from small and frequent urination to the appearance of blood in the urine.  Symptoms associated with urinary tract infection can often be misinterpreted as Transitional Cell Carcinoma and can be differentiated by a rapid and full recovery resulting from routine antibiotic treatment.

The small nature of the growth in TCC can make it difficult for your veterinarian to diagnose the disease by simple palpation methods.  As a result, most vets rely on the urinalysis, x-ray and biopsy to accurately locate and diagnose the tumor.  Once identified, medication is usually prescribed as the most effective and non-invasive mode of therapy, resulting in decreasing the size of the tumor as well as reducing the rate of growth.  Piroxicam, an anti-inflammatory and anticancer drug along with Mitoxantrone and Doxurubicin are among some of the most widely used drugs in TCC treatment.

In more sever cases where the tumor size may be less manageable with medication, your veterinarian may resort to tube cystostomy, the insertion of a tube into the urinary tract, thus providing relief and greater ease of urination.  Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also prove to be effective with little or no side effects, as pets tend to demonstrate a much higher tolerance level to these treatment options.  Whatever the treatment option the veterinarian may choose, it is important to ensure a positive quality of life for your beloved pet so that it may live a comfortable and happy life.