Does anyone have any experience with liver cancer in bullys?

We received the biopsy results from the cancer from our recently departed bully Buster, which stated that it originated in his liver.

Does anyone have any experience with liver cancer in bulldogs (or other dogs)? If so, could you provide details: age, symptoms, treatment, and length/quality of life after it was diagnosed?

Thank you all in advance.

animal005's picture

Sad to say we do.

Winnie was diagnosed with bone cancer first. When we went to biopsy the bone the blood work came back with her liver level high. Our vet did an ultrasound and found spots on the liver. We did the biopsy on the bone and liver. Within two weeks of the biopsy and one week finding out that it was both bone and liver cancer she passed away at home. She was 7 years old when she passed. The vet told me that he would be surprised if she lasted until the end of the year and this was the middle of November. She lasted one week after he told us that. I had also asked which one would be the one to have her pass, and it was the liver cancer. I don't think we would have found the liver cancer on it's own until she passed.

The cancers were aggressive and we couldn't do anything to help her. The first night she refused to eat was her last night with us, as she passed away that next morning.

Hope that answers your questions.


Thank you for your response. So very sorry to hear about Winnie.

Our boy Buster passed away at age 7 as well. (7 and a half). He was a very healthy bulldog, but started exhibiting signs of some issues (virtually out of nowhere). A few accidents in the house, minor weight gain, increased water intake, sporadic loss of appetite, random exhaustion, occasional panting at night. We spoke to the vet immediately (where he had been a month before for a healthy check-up), and the said it could be a thyroid issue (very common in bulldogs), and suggested we do some blood work. Upon examination, his abdomen showed cause for concern, and they ordered an x-ray, which showed a mass. They operated immediately, but said the cancer was too widespread, and they had to put him to sleep

Thankfully we received the very best care. It sounds like you received great care for Winnie as well.

The biopsy showed liver cancer, which most likely originated 2 to 3 months prior to his passing. He started exhibiting signs 12 days before the diagnosis. There was no way of knowing without an x-ray or a sonogram, (even the blood work would only have shown elevated levels of white blood cells - not a huge cause for concern). Apparently once it's visible, it's already too late. They stated it was rare at that age and in this breed.

Was Winnie a frenchie or an English? What were her symptoms? Were they able to operate? Did they mention any possible causes?

Thank you again for your response, and I'm sorry about Winnie. We know how difficult this disease is, especially at that age.

animal005's picture

Winnie was an English bulldog

Winnie was an English bulldog and she was healthy up until the cancer. Without the bone cancer I don't think we would have noticed until two weeks before she passed away. She was fine, just had a limp. The limp started in June (2011), but they found some bone fragments in her elbow. We had those removed and she started to limp less. Then her limp was worse and that is when we took her in and found the bone cancer. I sometimes think if she had cancer back in June, but it just wasn't showing yet.

The liver cancer she did have the bloat in her tummy and leg areas. Then she started not eating, so we just kept switching her foods and even giving her people food. She was a little more aggressive with our male, who passed a month before she did. But that was if she was sleeping and he got too close. I think that was more the bone cancer than liver. She also started to pant every night. We slept with the windows open a crack, even though we were freezing she was fine. I had just heard not too long ago that liver cancer doesn't allow them to control their own body temp. She seemed better with the window open and she slept through the night like she always did.

The biopsy showed she had several "spots" on her liver. The vet offered to show me the images, but I didn't look at them. I didn't want to see how bad it was. So because the "spots" were spread in the liver we couldn't do anything. It defiantely sucked that there was nothing we could do to help her.

They didn't mention any possible causes, but like human cancer it sometimes just happens. Since then I won't let my husband spray anything in the yard. We use a steamer to clean most of our house and use dye free soaps for cleaning the dog and cat dishes. I honestly don't know if those had anything to do with the cancer, but I feel like I needed to do something.

Sounds like Buster and Winnie had similar stories with the liver cancer. I know when I did my research I wasn't running into too many bulldogs that had cancer, but there were a few.


Thank you for sharing Sarah.

I'm sorry about your Winnie. Our situations do sound similar.

We experienced the tummy bloat (we thought he was just gaining weight), the loss of appetite and the panting. We didn't know that the liver controlled their ability to control their body temp, so that makes sense.

We were told, as well, that sometimes cancer just happens. That this particular cancer is particularly lethal. It's just so sad that by the time the symptoms are apparent, it's already too late.

Did the other stories you had heard about bullys with liver cancer sound similar? Around the same age? Same symptoms? Were any of them successfully operated on or live any longer?

animal005's picture

Glad to share.

Sad to say the liver cancer I haven't seen too many dogs that survived.  I have only run across a couple other dogs, not bulldogs that had liver cancer, but those varied in age.  Like both of us know there really isn't much you can do.  The bone cancer I have seen that amputation helps, but usually the dog gets the cancer in the lungs.  I read some that had a good year or more after the amputation.

I hope one day that cancer is easily treated for people, but also treatable for our fur babies.  Sorry that you also lost your Buster to this disease.  It sometimes helps to know they are running around pain free on the rainbow bridge, even if we wish they were with us still.