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Intestinal Tumor (Leiomyoma) in Dogs

Leiomyoma of the Stomach, Small, and Large Intestine in Dogs

Rectoanal polyps in dogs involve the development of flap-like protrusions on the walls of the anal and rectal regions. These growths can be directly affixed to the intestinal wall either with a stalk-like connection or directly (sessile). Typically, rectoanal polyps in dogs are benign, representing extensions of the inner tissue lining of the intestinal walls. While single polyps are common, there are instances where dogs may experience multiple growths. This medical condition can also affect cats.

Symptoms and Types


  • Vomiting
  • Often, no abnormal findings are observed

Small Intestine:

  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Rumbling stomach
  • Gas (flatulence)
  • Mid-abdominal mass may be felt
  • Occasionally, distended and painful loops of the small bowel

Large Intestine and Rectum:

  • Tenesmus (feeling of incomplete defecation)
  • Hematochezia (bright red, bloody stools)
  • Sometimes, rectal prolapse (protrusion of the rectal wall through the anus) occurs
  • Palpable mass may be felt during rectal examination


The cause is currently unknown.


Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination of your dog, considering the history of symptoms and any potential incidents that could have contributed to the condition. Initially, they will investigate the possibility of a foreign object in the digestive tract, as well as conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, parasitic infections, or pancreatitis.

Upon confirming the presence of a tumor, your veterinarian will need to distinguish it from glandular cancerous tumors. Various types of cancerous tumors can affect the digestive tract, such as leiomyosarcoma (arising from smooth muscle) and lymphoma (originating in lymphocytes).

A comprehensive blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, complete blood count, and urinalysis, will be conducted. An abdominal ultrasound may also be necessary, revealing any thickening of the stomach or bowel wall. Gastric leiomyoma commonly occurs at the junction of the esophagus and stomach.

If needed, a contrast study using barium may be employed. This technique involves administering barium orally to the dog, allowing its passage to be monitored via X-rays, potentially revealing any space-occupying masses in the digestive tract. Double-contrast radiography may similarly identify such masses in the large intestine and rectum.

An upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy may be performed, involving the insertion of a flexible tube with a camera into the gastrointestinal tract for visual inspection. This procedure can also collect tissue and fluid samples for biopsy, confirming the preliminary diagnosis. In cases of deep tumors, a more invasive surgical biopsy may be required for confirmation.


The preferred treatment is surgical resection, which involves removing the tumor. If performed safely, this method is typically curative. Even in instances where leiomyomas are large with limited margins, successful removal is often possible due to their benign nature.

Living and Management

If a complete resection is achieved by your veterinarian, standard postoperative care will be necessary, and no further follow-up appointments will be needed. However, your veterinarian will monitor your dog’s blood glucose levels after surgery, especially if your dog experienced hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) before the procedure.

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