Prognosis of Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

The prognosis of dogs surviving with Hemangiosarcoma, is very slim. I have searched the internet for answers ever since my dog Moebert died from this horrible disease. Hemangiosarcoma is a very aggressive type of cancer, very persistent and can rapidly spread elsewhere in the body to other tissues, especially liver, lungs, and the abdominal lining.  Hemangio(sarcoma) a blood-fed sarcoma; which means blood vessels grow directly into the tumor and it is usually filled with blood.

By the time you would see any “clinical signs” such as pale gums, cold to the touch (their body, mouth, and nose), labored breathing, abdominal swelling, just to name a few. it would probably be too late as it was with Moebert.

The sooner your veterinarian diagnosis and treats Canine Hemangiosarcoma the greater the chances of survival are, but unless they do blood work, x-rays and are looking for something specific they would never know either. How would you know that your dog might have a “Hemoabdomen” (which means free blood inside the abdominal cavity)? Sometimes the spleens will grow masses and they are normally either benign tumors which are (hemangiomas) or malignant tumors which are (hemangiosarcomas).

The treatment and the prognosis for a hemoabdomen depend entirely on the cause. Most often the cause of the bleeding has to be stopped surgically by removing the spleen. Or eventually the growth ruptures and the spleen bleeds. When a vascular organ like the spleen bleeds, the blood loss can be life-threatening resulting in a (hemoabdomen). Studies have shown that most bleeding tumors are more than likely to have been a hemangiosarcoma. There is a 50:50 chance that it could be either one the only way to know for sure is by doing a biopsy.

When the tumor on the spleen ruptures the dog usually hemorrhages profusely into their abdominal cavity which is usually very detectable to the veterinarian by the swelling of the abdomen. In my opinion it would still be too late to really be able to save your dog. Even if they could be stabilize which would involve taken Radiographs/x-rays and/or ultrasound, replacing the blood volume lost with IV fluids and blood transfusions and oxygen the outcome would be removal of the spleen but in many cases if it has metastasis; which means that is has spread elsewhere in the body and with that happening the prognosis becomes very poor. Remember Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive cancer and that is the problem even with the removal of the spleen and tumor, the dog is probably spared death by bleeding to death but will probably eventually die from the cancer.

So what is the prognosis of Hemangiosarcoma in dogs?

In the long term if your dog is diagnosis with hemangiosarcoma their chances are slim to none. The survival time after a splenectomy is 3 weeks to 3 months, with chemotherapy it might increase the survival time to 5 to 7 months, only a few dogs have survived past a year. Of course the survival time may vary depending on the scale of disease, the aggressiveness and the follow up care. The follow up care normally includes monthly thoracic x-rays and physical exams which are necessary to watch for any reoccurrences of the cancer. Most dogs will probably die or be euthanized because of this metastatic disease. This type of cancer, sorry to say is fatal but if caught soon enough the dog’s life may be prolonged but to whose expense?…The answer is both you and your dogs.

If your dog is diagnosed with Canine Hemangiosarcoma you will have to make some decisions which will be very hard to do to say the lease. First of all no one wants to do nothing to save their pet but what are you going to be putting your best friend through to do that, x-rays, blood test, surgery, pain only to have them surrender to cancer and die anyway. Should you consider their age and whether or not they have other health issues and what would their quality of life be like? Then you have to take in to consideration all the veterinarian bills that there would be to extend your dog’s life by only a month or three or maybe even days. This is not the kind of cancer you can cure with chemo (which can make your dog sick) if you get rid of the cancer from one place it has more than likely spread to somewhere else. The outcome is going to be the same.

Only you the owner can make this heart retching decision. No matter if you caught this disease in its early stages or not the prognosis is still going to be poor. I didn’t have to make any decisions; it seemed as if my dog Moebert made them for me. He never showed any signs that he was sick. It is true when they say that Hemangiosarcoma is the “silent killer” because in most cases the cancer has already advanced before the dog owner would notice. Moebert did wait for me to get home from work so we both could say good-bye to one another; I know that on my heart.

Would I have put him through the surgery and everything else? If it would have saved his life and he would have been better and “cured”….you bet. He meant more to me than life.  I am so glad that I didn’t have to make a decision on whether to operate or even to consider euthanasia? Sometimes circumstances don’t give you time to ask questions and when you are so upset one wouldn’t be thinking straight anyway. I know I wasn’t, I probably would have done anything to keep Moe alive but it would not have been for his good it would have been for my own selfishness on not wanting to lose him and that would not have been right. I have never been so devastated over losing anything or anyone in my life as I am over my Moebert.

Love and hold your pet everyday and every chance you get because one never knows what could and can happen. You might not get another chance.

To You and Your Pets Health,

Alice

PS: You never know what tomorrow will bring, I sure didn’t and your pet depends on you for his or her care so you have to be prepared. Medical care can be expensive. I would have mortgaged the house if I knew it would have saved Moeberts life. I didn’t have pet insurance but it is something that I am looking into. So you might want to look into pet insurance now, while your dog is still healthy. It can really make a difference. To learn more, go to Pet Health Insurance

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FTC DISCLOSURE: You can assume that in some cases I have a marketing connection to a brand, topic or product mentioned in this message and may be compensated if you are to purchase from an affiliate link. You should always perform due diligence before purchasing goods or services from anyone – online or offline. Also in most cases what I write is based on my own opinion and experiences.

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12 Responses
  1. tarnia says:

    Hello,
    Thank-you for your information. I fund myself in tears reading it. My soon to be 8 yr old Golden Retriever Bailey has Hemangiosarcoma …. it is in his thigh … he is bleeding out If the incision, the skin is rotting away and seeping fluid out if the black dead skin …
    I don’t feel like he is slipping away, just that he is broken. Yet fix able. I read that this is aggressive cancer … his organs appear clear from ultrasound. I want to spare him from suffering and pain.
    I feel like putting him down is murdering him. I know better, but I am stating it as I experience it.

    Is putting him down right? Is leaving him alive wrong?
    It is a personal decision …. but I’m so torn confused and heart broken. Not to mention exhausted and emotional.

    Please get back to me.
    Bailey was diagnosed 6 weeks ago.
    He hardly moves about, but his eyes still sparkle!

  2. Alice says:

    Hi Tarnia,

    I am so sorry for what you are going though with Bailey. I didn’t have a choice with my Moebert whether to put him down or not.

    I didn’t know he was sick had I known, this is what I would have done for him. It is not chemo or radiation or anything like that. What I know now that I didn’t know with my other dogs is about MMS. One of my best friends knows so much about this product that I truley believe would have helped my Moebert who had a Hemangiosarcoma and Curley who had canine lymphoma had I only known about MMS at the time I know things might have been different.

    Here is her website to read up about and maybe order the MMS. I am not a vet and neither is Rhonda but she had cancer and I know that MMS saved her life and who knows it might have made a difference in my dogs and it just might make a difference with Bailey if you decide to try it. It will not hurt him in anyway but wouldn’t it be nice if it did make a difference.

    Here is the link http://foundthebest.info/?cat=464

    Please keep in touch and let me know what is happening and if you need to talk I am always here by email or by phone 410-322-5433 that is my cell feel free to call.

    All the Best,
    Alice

  3. Julie says:

    Thank you so much for this, Alice. My 10-year-old Yellow Lab, Duke, was diagnosed with Splenic Hemangiosarcoma less than 30 hours ago. He hadn’t eaten anything in five days, but was otherwise acting like his normal, happy self. My husband and I were, of course, concerned about Duke’s appetite, so I brought Duke to the vet yesterday. Duke has chronic ear infections, so I simply assumed an ear infection could be affecting his appetite. Upon palpation of Duke’s neck and abdomen, the vet noticed swollen lymph nodes and a distended abdomen, so she did an xray. When she showed me the pictures and explained what I was seeing, and then told me that the cancer had already metastasized to Duke’s lungs and heart, well, “blindsided” is an understatement for what I was feeling. Having to call my husband and tell him this was almost as bad as finding out that our dog is dying. My husband is a basket-case. (I am, too, but I am managing to hold it together when he’s around.)

    Duke is 96 pounds of pure love. He has given so much to our lives, and he has actually made me a better person (I think). We cannot even process that this sweet, loving, gentle, intelligent, funny, brave, happy, forgiving, patient “son” of ours will soon be gone. As I’ve cuddled with him, pet him, kissed him, and hugged him over the last day, I think, “In a short period of time, I will never again be able to feel his fur in my hands, receive his kisses, or sense the warmth of him on my back as he lies in bed with me while I read.” I cannot imagine this house without him in it.

    I have never been through this before. As you wrote above, I am more devastated by this loss than I have been over losing family members. (Admitting that makes me feel horrible, but it’s the truth. As my sister wrote to me last night, “No dog is ever, EVER ‘just’ a dog. They ARE our family, our children, and their love is unlike anything we can experience from a human. It’s better because it never sucks.”)

    Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling now. We just want to make Duke’s final days comfortable, and we don’t want him to suffer at all.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Julie Swoboda
    Phoenix, AZ

  4. Julie says:

    Tarnia,

    My heart goes out to you, too. Having to decide whether or not to end our “furchildren’s” lives is absolute torture, isn’t it?

    Best of luck to you and Bailey. As I told my husband last night, “Duke is still here, now. We need to cherish ever single moment that he is, and just love, love, love him.”

    Julie Swoboda

  5. Alice says:

    Julie,

    I am so sorry to hear about Duke. I know the pain you are going through. It will be 2 years on June 3rd that I lost my Moebert and I still feel the pain not as bad but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. He was my sole, not that I didn’t love my other dogs but my Moebert was different.

    As I told Tarnia (above) there is something that might help and the Vet is not going to tell you about it because they don’t know about it and that is MMS. I wish I would have known about this with my other dogs but I didn’t but I would have tried it in a heartbeat. Of course I didn’t have a chance to do anything for Moebert because he went into cardiac arrest at the vets before I knew what he had wrong.

    Here is the link http://foundthebest.info/?cat=464

    It will not hurt him and will not interfere will any meds you are giving him now.

    My hopes and prays are with you. please keep in touch.

    Alice

  6. Julie says:

    Thank you so, so very much, Alice.

  7. Julie says:

    Alice,

    From what I’m reading, MMS is a scam. :-(

  8. Alice says:

    You are welcome.

  9. Alice says:

    Don’t believe all you read. I personally know people that this has helped. I use it myself and I now also give it to my dogs that I have now and I know it works on all kind of infections etc.

  10. Alice says:

    Of course the FDA is not going to promote something that they have no control over. Most of the stuff they do approve for both humans and animals are really not fit for us or our pets but they let things go through anyway. Just like the products that are made in China that are killing our pets, one would think they would stop that wouldn’t you but they don’t. Look at all the harmful ingredients pet food companies can use and get away with. They don’t approve of anything that is natural whether it is supplements or something else that can’t be patent because the big Pharma can’t make any money off it. IT is really sad that our lives and our pets lives is ruled by how much money can be made.

    I am not telling you to use MMS but I know in my heart that if I knew about MMS I would have used it in a heartbeat on my Moebert and Curley for their cancer.

    Like I said I now use it on my other dogs. Two of them got into a fight and one came out with a really nasty bite on him (he had a fang hole between his eyes). “I cleaned the wound and then I gave him some MMS and it never got infected and within a couple of days it was healed. I have taken it for my own cuts, infections and colds that have gotten nip in the bud before they even got started. That is my “antibiotic” that I take and give my family and pets. Sure I could go to the doctor and take my dogs to the vets and what are they going to give me or them…prescription drugs that can cause all kind of side effects…no thanks.

    Okay I am sorry for going on but I really have no faith at all in the FDA especially when it comes to my health or my pets.

    I wish you the best I have been in your place and there is no words that I could say that will take the pain away when it come to losing your best friend.

    Alice

  11. Thanks for all the good info, it really helped me make my decision. You make an excellent point, and the responses from readers were very helpful too!

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