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Hemangiosarcoma - Again

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  • Hemangiosarcoma - Again

    I am so sad today. I had to put my 12yo Kayla down last night after I found her collapsed in my driveway when I came home. She was weak, bloated, and didn't want to walk. I rushed her to the 24hr Emergency Care. The vets immediately rushed her back and within 5min. told me they had pulled a 60cc syringe of blood off her abdomen - presumed hemangiosarcoma. They thought she would be gone within a couple hours, but to ease any further suffering, I went on and let her go then. I totally didn't see it coming. She was begging for a sliver of food yesterday morning at breakfast, less than 12 hr. before. I know she hadn't been feeling well in the last couple weeks, was slower to get up & down and go to the barn, but I attributed it to arthritis - had even picked up previcox for her on Saturday.

    This is my second experience with this hideous cancer - her son, Sammy, I lost just 3 years ago. He was only 7 at the time. Then, when he collapsed and I rushed him in and they pulled blood off the abdomen, the vets thought there could be a chance that it was due to trauma - maybe a horse kick. I waited while they did immediate surgery. While the vet didn't find any bruising or signs of trauma, she found no evidence of cancer, either, and was able to successfully remove his spleen. She did take tissue samples anyway just to be safe. He required a couple blood transfusions and was in the hospital for several days, but when I got him back he was like a puppy - so full of energy. Then the call came - positive for hemangiosarcoma, 3-6 months expectancy. He lasted 3 weeks.

    So I shouldn't have been surprised to see this horrible thing again, but I was. It just hits so fast, without much warning. The comforting thing is that even if i had warning, nothing much could've been done anyway...

    Kayla and her son, Sam, adopted me when I moved to my farm. They had been abandoned when the neighbors had moved, and just left them there. They had come over occasionally and just watched me from afar. After a few weeks of auditions, they decided to adopt me. I felt honored to offer these two wonderful dogs a home...

    Has anyone else had experience with hemangiosarcoma? Before my experiences, I had never even heard of it - wished I never had...

  • #2
    Yes, I have.
    Lost my german/sherpard Heart dog, Haley, at 13yo to it and 1year and 1/2 later, lost my Rottie, Zeus, at 14 1/2 to it. Haley just starting getting tired all the time and just wasn't herself, not wanting to eat, etc. She had massively bad hips and a bum front leg as well as many intestinal problems due to allergies and treatment for the hips. Took her in and it had already spread to her lungs. Vet gave her a month. She lasted 3 weeks. The Vet told me that he had lost 2 of his Labs to it as well. My vet said most dogs last about a month after diagnoses.
    Zeus was like yours. Fine one day, the next was crashing. To the ER, temp of 97.6 after having in a warm car for 30 min under his winter blanket. The Vet suspected Hemangiosarcoma. She also thought that it had twisted his gut as he also had severe bloat. I didn't notice the bloat the night before but I bet he was as a couple of weeks before he had acted strange and seemed bloated but was fine after a day or so. I let him go as I didn't want to put him through anything at his age.
    The first vet reminded that at the age my dogs were, cancer was the most likely thing to get them. Hugs to you. I know how hard it is.


    • #3
      I lost a dog to it. There was no real indication that he was failing. He was an older dog, so was slowing down a bit. That's all.

      One afternoon I was walking around the back yard with him and my other dogs, when he laid down and wouldn't get up. When he did manage to get up, it was obvious he was extremely fatigued. I loaded him up in the truck, took him to the vet, and he was dead a few hours later.

      I brought him home, and buried him down by the pond - a pond he loved to play in.

      I'm very sorry for your loss.
      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
      -Rudyard Kipling


      • #4
        I have not dealt with it personally but know several who have and have dealt with other cancers in dogs. Once the cancer takes off, it seems to rapidly advance in dogs.

        I am so sorry for your loss, it is terrible when we have time to prepare and worse when we don't.


        • #5
          I see it way too often, being on the working end of emergency/critical care. Seldom do they show any signs. Until they start to bleed from the tumor. If you are lucky enough to have your dog into the vet for some other reason a month or so before this, the mass might be palpable. But often it isn't. Many of these are not huge masses that you can readily feel.

          BUT, blood in the belly can be from other causes. Hemangio is sure on the top of the list but hemangiOMA (not malignant) and hematomas occur too. Unfortunately which of the 3 it is won't be known until the lab report is back. Several days after surgery. Liver tumors can do the same thing.

          Abdominal ultrasound is the best way to know if it is spleen or liver, or it is has spread to liver.

          Most of the time (not always though) you can get the bleeding to stop the decide about surgery in a day or so.

          But on the other realistic hand, these occur in older dogs and if it is hemangio, survival time is short after surgery.


          • #6
            So very sorry for your loss. Bless you for passing the auditions - seems like they both knew what they were looking for, and once they found you, they knew you were the one. Very smart dogs.....hugs to you.


            • Original Poster

              This vet thought that since the son was confirmed to have it, in all likelihood there was a familial element. My dogs were lab mixes, and this disease seems to be prevalent in the larger breeds, as well.

              Thanks for the stories & hugs everyone, it really does help. Thanks for your perspective, too, Meghan. What you wrote is good to know...



              • #8
                Lost my Spirit dog to it last year. Was clearly in trouble-gums dead white. Vets did exploratory surgery, removed spleen, biopsy came back aggessive cancer. She had a pretty good two months then I heard a crash early one morning and she was down in the living room and couldn't get up. Wagged her tail when I came in. I left a message for the vet, fed the horses and struggled her sixty pounds up into her bed in the back seat of the truck. She helped as best she could. My dear girl went out peacefully at the hands of a caring vet. Trying a practice with ultrasound capability now though. So sorry for your loss. Cancer friggin sucks.


                • #9
                  Sigh. Me too.

                  So sorry for your loss.

                  My experience was the same as the other posters. My dog seemed totally normal at lunch time, in much distress by the time I got home at 5:30 that evening.

                  She was a large dog and 14 so I knew there was no hope. Against my better judgement we took a few x-rays and the vet tried to draw off fluid with no luck. I wish now I'd insisted on letting her go immediately as she was struggling to breath.

                  If it is any comfort she did seem to feel fine in the days beforehand. At least with this cancer they go quickly and don't suffer for long. It is hard on the owners though, she was a bit restless one night a few days previous so I wonder now if she was feeling something then.


                  • #10
                    It is most common in large breed dogs. Prob the end of the "family" trend. But any breed can get it. Have seen it dauschunds and medium sized mixed breeds.

                    Sucks when it comes back as malignant :-)

                    My sympathies to all of you, and others, who have lost pets to this.


                    • #11
                      I'm so sorry. {{hugs}}
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                      • #12
                        I too work in that end of an emergency clinic. I really, really hate going to surgery on these guys as we often see them back for euthanasia before the hair even grows back over the incision.

                        Took my Flat Coated Retreiver in for vomiting one day that I was already working. Routine x ray showed a splenic mass and mets to the chest. I opted not to take him home to become symptomatic, we let him go that night. He was 12.

                        The standard at the clinic that I work at is to do chest x rays before surgery if a splenic tumor is suspected. If there are already mets in the chest it changes a lot of things.

                        I would never ever put a suspected splenic tumor (on my own dog) through surgery after seeing all of these through the years. The last continuing ed that I went to said that 96% of splenic tumors are hemangiosarc so the chances of getting a benign tumor are just too low to justify that kind of invasive surgery.
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                        • #13
                          Lost my Sparky to it at age 11. He was suddenly sleeping outside much more than normal and not wanting to come in with DH and I. Then he suddenly couldn't get up.
                          Remove the spleen and two weeks later we let him go.
                          It never seemed like he was in pain just tired from the blood loss.

                          I lost my Lab at 11 years to Osteosarcoma. That is another nasty one that by the time they show symptoms it is really too late.
                          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                          • #14
                            I'm sorry for your loss. I lost my 9yr old Airedale Terrier about 4 years ago to hemangiosarcoma. I came home one day and he just wasn't himself. I took him to the vet and they rushed him into surgery, (apparently his spleen had ruptured). They saved him but told me that the cancer cells in his spleen spread when it ruptured. They said they tried to get most of it out and to just take him home. My family decided it was time to let him go shortly after, and as my parents drove him back to the vet, he passed away. It all happened so quickly. He went from being a happy, seemingly healthy dog one day, to dying the next.


                            • #15
                              North Carolina State University (Breen Laboratories), U of Missouri and Uppsala University of Sweden are all doing genetic research and studies on Hemangio..... I know this does not help you (I am so sorry), but the dog community is working on this. I know some of them are also collecting samples.

                              Dachshunds (we have had quite a few incidents in standard longhairs recently) are now being added to the list of breeds being studied.

                              Sorry to everyone for their losses... Maybe sometime in the future we can at least find a genetic marker to cut down the incidence of this awful disease.
                              We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!


                              • #16
                                Tuesday night we lost our second greyhound in six months to a splenic tumor. Both were older (14 and 10 1/2) and showed the same symptoms - loss of appetite and dramatic weight loss, in a matter of days. Leo crashed on us Tuesday evening, obviously very distressed, neurological - xrays revealed a massive abdominal tumor most likely from the spleen. We opted to let him go rather than attempt surgery, after reading all this I am glad we made that decision.



                                • #17
                                  Lost my step-"son" to it, an awesome 6 year old Aussie. He presented on Thursday for V/D, and was a farm dog, we thought he ate something, like he loved to do anyway. Radiographs all normal. Sunday no more vomiting or diarrhea, but was tense in his cranial abdomen, so we thought his stomach/pancreas was still pissed off. Tuesday palpated non painful, but thought I felt a mass. Radiographs showed a spleen that was larger than normal and lying in an odd position. He was acting fine, so we were going to recheck in a day or two. Recheck on Thursday showed larger spleen and definatly appeared to be a mass. Brief ultrasound Thursday night confirmed mass on the spleen, no fluid in the abdomen. Went in for a spleenectomy first thing Friday morning, as we shaved we realized mass was so large you could now visibly see it protruding from the abdomen. Opened him up, and found one REALLY pissed off splenic mass, with nodules in the mesentary, and the liver, and one had constricted his small intestine. Put him down on the table, it would have been too unfair to wake him up.

                                  Went from running 3 miles a day and hanging out on the farm to being gone 8 days later. Hemangiosarc and Osteosarc are my 2 least favorite cancers. My condolances to everyone who has lost animals to it!

                                  Vet Tech
                                  You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


                                  • #18
                                    We are going through it right now. Our 10 year old Australian Cattle Dog (best dog ever!) had an emergency splenectomy 3.5 months ago after my husband felt a mass in his abdomen. After he recovered from surgery he felt great, like a puppy again, for about 2 months. Since then he has been gradually declining. We knew it would most likely spread (though at the time of surgery the liver looked good, and chest films were clean), and we were realistically really just hoping for a couple months to say goodbye. I think his time is almost up...

                                    For those that enjoy graphic photos, we did the surgery at the clinic I work at, so I was able to snap some pics:


                                    • #19
                                      Our dog was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma... LAST May. I think at this point we can assume it was a misdiagnosis (maybe it is a hemangioma instead), as he's still with us. He's about 13-14 (we adopted him as an adult, so not sure his true age). He definitely has a severely enlarged spleen, which we saw on ultrasound and x rays. His liver is also somewhat enlarged. We opted not to do surgery, due to his advanced age. We were told 1 to 3 months for life expectancy. Somehow he is still here. I know it is only a matter of time for him now. I'm kind of waiting for him to let us know he is done.


                                      • #20
                                        I am so sorry. I know what it is like to lose them suddenly because that is what happened with Java, my greyhound. Big hugs to you.
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