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k9 spleen tumor. Hemangioblastoma/ sarcoma. How long?

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    k9 spleen tumor. Hemangioblastoma/ sarcoma. How long?

    Dog had first episode of lethargy about 10 days ago. Another this a.m... U/S revealed the worst suspicion, along with blood in his abdomen. PCV is 22, whereas I was told normal for dogs is 40. Dog is 14yr so surgery isn't an option. Why torture him for a mere possible 3 months?

    He's been sleeping since we got home from vet. Vet said 3 days to 3 weeks.What's your experience?

    And, to be totally inappropriate and disgusting.. how do they go? I was tole peacefully in their sleep if you're lucky. Keel over, panting shock, then gone if you're not. Are there any ugly - er side effects? Specifically, massive bleeding from the rectum/ nose? I want to prepare myself emotionally, intellectually, gastronomically.

    I feel horrible but I have work tomorrow that will keep me out of the house for the better part of the day. It would appear he'll sleep through not missing me or my husband. But it sure doesnt' make the humans feel any better.

    Just say little prayers Coco comes for Murph in his sleep.

    I would suspect probably a fair bit less than three weeks. The episode of lethargy 10 days ago was likely an episode of bleeding. Some fall asleep and simply don't wake up. Others are aware of what's going on, collapse, and are then stressed when they cannot move. We lost one of ours to a splenic mass last fall, we knew it was there for some time and when she declined dinner, I euthanized the next day. There was large amounts of bloody nastiness that poured out from her, but I have not seen that with the countless others I have euthanized due to to this issue. Working in the ER, I probably see at least one dog a month with an actively bleeding splenic mass.


      I'd euth before allowing it to rupture and possibly cause the dog pain/suffering. Not a risk I would personally be willing to take.


        Original Poster

        Jet, that was my first inclination but vet (who's euthed one for me before solely upon my insisting -- he didn't witness her worst symptoms and knew we were fighting lupus) -- vet said to "Take him home and spoil him. He'll likely die in his sleep peacefully". I specifically asked him about stress, pain/ suffering and he said it wouldn't be a sudden rupture per se, just increased seepage.

        Dog ate dinner with the new addition of chicken livers and iron supplements and a chinese herb I bought to make me feel better, supposedly to help with bleeding issues.


          I would honestly put him down before it ruptures. My family had a lab/shepherd mix, the best dog in the world. Had a tumor in his spleen, which ruptured 2 days before the surgery. He started pacing, was clearly uncomfortable, which made it very hard on the whole family. If we could have done something sooner, we would have. My grandparents' lab also had a spleen tumor, which was surgically removed, and he lived another 3 years following with no issues. Dog was 13 when he had the surgery, 16 when he passed.


            I had a dog with a similar diagnosis last a week. At my vet's recommendation, she was euthanized. I'm so sorry.
            Mystic Owl Sporthorses


              I lost my 8+ year old GSD to hermangiosarcoma Memorial Day weekend, 2012. I had no idea he was sick. He had been out playing fetch with my visiting adult son. He whined to come in, I headed to to the screen door to let him in and watched him collapse and have a seizure right there. He was on his side, paddling with his legs and making the most heartbreaking grunting/yelping noise I have ever heard in my life.

              I yelled for my husband and we each grabbed an end and had him in the car and on the way to the emergency vet within two minutes.

              He was dead before we ever got there, a ten minute care ride away. I hope like hell that I never have to witness another animal in that kind of situation again. It was horrible. Turns out he had a tumor on the pericardia, which burst and as blood filled up the sack, pressure built up on his heart until it just couldn't beat any more.

              OP, love your dog and lavish him with everything wonderful over the next day or two. And then euthanize him.


                My kuvasz was not diagnosed although she had several instances of not eating for a day or so. We had multiple visits with the vet, X-rays and he started treating her for arthritis. After about 3 weeks, she collapsed when the tumor burst which I stupidly attributed to the hydromorphone she was on for arthritis. We waited (because we're idiots, yes I still feel horrible about it) but did take her to the ER. They diagnosed with ultrasound, gave us info on surgery and their opinion it was less than a 10% chance it hadn't metastasized. The prognosis was she might live a month after surgery. We did euthanize her.

                All that to say I so regret not having time to say goodbye. I'd take every minute I felt I could without causing suffering.

                Edited to add that there was no visible blood when it burst.


                  I'm so sorry, Sansena. My mom's dog died from/with a splenic tumour rupture and it was a difficult death in the end. I think in retrospect she wishes she had euthed before he was in distress. Of course, you and your vet know your dog and I don't, but I wouldn't want to see any dog struggle as Henry did.

                  My heart goes out to you. Hugs to you and dear Murph.


                    The prior posters have given you sound advice. A splendic tumor rupture is not a pleasant way to go. The pet, in all honesty, bleeds to death internally. People sometimes think the pet died in its sleep because they find them expired in the morning (or when they get home, etc).
                    Sometimes these pets can get a slow leak that reseals, so one can see a waxing/waning symptoms. Those symptoms are the main reason for owners to seek care.
                    With any size (small or large) tear, blood loss to the abdomen can happen in minutes and collapse/struggling to breathe/gasping is what a person will likely see.
                    Splenic tumors are very friable....and there is no way to predict when one will rupture(because it will given long enough).

                    I'm sorry for your dog's diagnosis. I lost mine to multiple myeloma this past year. Bloody damn cancers.....


                      Im so sorry - at 14 its such a difficult decision, but a very realistic one to not go through surgery. However, 3 months is on the lower end of the survival spectrum, mostly beacause some of them don't complete surgery (ie. mets noted on liver, etc). Most of the dogs I h ave known to have a spleenectomy and followup chemo live an average of 8-16 months (IF there were no mets prior to surgery) 14....I still think you are making a reasonable decision. I would probably do exactly the same thing in your shoes.

                      Splenic tumors don't hurt. Bleeding doesn't hurt. However, watch for difficulty breathing as that is stressful and that is likely what is going to happen when your dog is losing blood.

                      After a bleed, unfortunately I would not expect more than a few days Treat him well, feed him whatever he wants and make it known how much you love him


                        I lost a 7.5 yo dog to a splenic hemangiosarcoma eight years ago. I took him into the vet because his abdomen felt like a big tube. They took m into surgery for internal bleeding and discovered the mass.
                        At that point I was told hemangiosarcoma dogs average about 100 days post-surgery. Mine didn't last 2 weeks.
                        After the bleed and surgery he started throwing blood clots and went down hill very quickly. After several complications he walked into the room and stopped to look at me. He walked over and put his head on my lap and then couldn't hold himself up to stand or walk. It was a Friday night and I rushed him to the emergency vet to be put to sleep but he died before they could do it.
                        He was one of my favorite loves of my life and his death was heartbreaking. I regret that I made him wait. He had a few good days after the surgery and that would have been the best time.
                        OP I am sorry this is happening to your dog. Peace to you both.


                          My coonhound mix was diagnosed via ultrasound after he began to have some breathing issues. Turned out the cancer had spread into his trachea area and pushed it out of wack. Not operable. I was told 90 days, and they gave him some pred to ease things a bit. About two weeks prior to the 90 days he stopped eating dry food; then shortly after, he walked away from canned food. I made "the appointment" the next day. He was almost 14 yrs old, but still happy - chased a stick and humped his doggie friend before we left for the vet. I never thought to ask about what would happen if nature took its course. It was heartbreaking, but given his age, I knew his time was winding down in any event.

                          Jingles OP to you and your dog. Its a tough time. especially for the humans.


                            Blood in his abdomen is pretty painful anyways.

                            That's a tough diagnosis, OP

                            IMO, dogs live for the moment. So when he starts having more bad moments than good moments, it's time to consider euth.


                              I am so sorry to hear this, OP, and for all the others who have lost dogs this way. I'm more of a cat person but just wanted to send you all some hugs.
                              What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                                Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                                I'd euth before allowing it to rupture and possibly cause the dog pain/suffering. Not a risk I would personally be willing to take.
                                I agree 100%. I lost my 14 year old Chessie 3 1/2 years ago when the tumor on her spleen burst and she bled out. It was HORRIBLE. Had I known she had the tumor, I would have euth'd her right away, instead I had to watch her go into shock and then hardly be able to walk as her abdomen was filled with blood (happened overnight, I found her at 6am.)


                                  I've lost two to it.

                                  My advice? Do not wait. You do not want them to pass naturally at home. It is possible that the dog will just go to sleep and not wake up.

                                  But not likely.

                                  I am very sorry - I know you are grieving terribly. Ask your vet if he/she can come to your home and help your dog pass peacefully.
                                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                  -Rudyard Kipling


                                    I would also let her go. I didn't want to chance my older girl dying alone and scared while I was at work. Better a few days early comfortable and not alone.
                                    ~Former Pet Store Manager (10yrs)
                                    ~Vintage Toy Dealer (
                                    ~Vet Tech Student
                                    Mom to : 2 Horses,3 Dogs, 1 Cat


                                      Take the weekend to give your dog the best weekend ever. Then Monday have her put down. This is our final responsibility; we cannot shirk it because our hearts will break.
                                      ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                                      Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                                      "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


                                        We recently lost our sweet Beagle to this. He was 12. His tumor was on a salivary gland and would have eventually progressed to his spleen. It had been pressing on his trachea. On the outside he had a small lump - most of it was on the inside. Had it removed and the the thing was the size of a golf ball. It was dark purple, hard and terrifying to look at. It grew back within DAYS. DAYS! To the full size. Scary, evil stuff. We decided on chemo, which made the tumor shrink into nothing. For a while. It gave us a good 3 months. When the chemo could no longer keep the tumor down, we decided it was time. He was spoiled and loved the entire time we had him (he was a rescue and we had him for 7 years). I so wanted to have him longer, but that tumor made the decision. I have never seen anything like it, and I've seen many cancerous tumors. Looking back I know we made the right decision. He wasn't in pain, but soon would be. He didn't go quietly, and he tried to bite our vet. But that was his way; he was not a quiet guy. No amount of anything could keep him with me longer no matter how much I wanted him to live.

                                        OP I'm so sorry. This is a terrible, terrible cancer. You just don't get any time. I agree with Kryswyn. And it will break your heart. Just like it did mine. But we did right by our little Beagle guy and I have not once regretted it.