Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Kidney: neoplasia

Synonym(s): renal carcinoma

Contributor(s): William Brewer Jr, Judy Morris, Antonio Guiliano


  • Rare - accounts for less than 1.7% of all canine tumors.
  • Cause: primary renal tumor, metastasis from other sites or part of a systemic neoplastic disease (especially histiocytic sarcoma, rarely lymphoma).
  • Signs: vague illness or associated renal failure, hematuria, flank mass.
  • Diagnosis: radiography, ultrasonography, fine needle aspiration, biopsy.
  • Treatment: surgery and/or chemotherapy.
  • Prognosis: guarded but depends on histological type/finding and stage of the disease.
  • May cause paraneoplastic syndromes, ie hypercalcemia, polycythemia.



Malignant tumors

 Benign tumors


  • Neoplastic transformation of renal tubular epithelium, epithelium of conducting apparatus, embryonal nests of metanephros (nephroblastoma) or supporting tissues.
  • Renal adenocarcinomata may remain localized or metastasize very quickly via blood to lung, liver, brain, skin, eyes or bone. May invade locally to renal pelvis, ureters or adjacent blood vessels.
  • Nephroblastoma often has benign course - grows slowly by expansion but occasionally may invade local tissues or metastasize to peritoneum or viscera.
  • Very large tumors may put pressure on vena cava and produce hind limb edema.
  • Release of factors from tumor (parathormone-like substance) or excessive bony metastasis may result in hypercalcemia Hypercalcemia: overview.
  • Local renal anoxia or excessive secretion of erythropoietin by tumor may result in polycythemia.


  • Variable - adenocarcinomata can be quite fast growing and metastasize by time of diagnosis.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Carvalho S, Stoll A L, Priestnall S L, Suarez-Bonnet A, Rassnick K et al (2017) Retrospective evaluation of COX-2 expression, histological and clinical factors as prognostic indicators in dogs with renal cell carcinomas undergoing nephrectomy. Vet Comp Oncol 15, 1280-1294 PubMed.
  • Edmondson E F, Hess A M & Powers B E (2015) Prognostic significance of histologic features in canine renal cell carcinomas: 70 nephrectomies. Vet Pathol 52(2), 260-268 PubMed.
  • Locke J E & Barber L G (2006) Comparative aspects and clinical outcomes of canine renal hemangiosarcoma. J Vet Intern Med 20, 962-967 PubMed.
  • Eddlestone S, Taboada J, Senior D & Paulsen D B (1999) Renal hemangioma in a dog. JSAP 40 (3), 132-135 PubMed.
  • Cuypers M, Grooters A M, Williams J & Partington B (1997) Renomegaly in dogs and cats Part I. Differential diagnosis. Comp Cont Ed 19 (9), 1019-1032 VetMedResource.
  • Cuypers M, Grooters A M, Williams J, Partington B & Pechman R D (1997) Renomegaly in dogs and cats Part II. Diagnostic approach. Comp Cont Ed 19 (11), 1213-1229 VetMedResource.
  • Moe L & Lium B (1997) Hereditary multifocal renal cystadeno-carcinomas and nodular dermatofibrosis in 51 German shepherd dogs. JSAP 38 (11), 498-505 PubMed.
  • Crow S E (1985) Urinary tract neoplasms in dogs and cats. Comp Cont Ed (8), 607-618 VetMedResource.