Hemangiosarcoma is a cancerous tumor usually only treated with surgery, but around 30 percent of dogs can have a recurrence. Dogs with Hemangiosarcoma will generally live from one to three months from the time of diagnosis. Deciding when to euthanize a dog with hemangiosarcoma can be difficult. With hemangiosarcoma, cancer tends to be highly aggressive and often spreads.
When to euthanize a dog with hemangiosarcoma varies from canine to canine and depends on the dog’s overall health. The disease can grow very quickly; in others, it can remain dormant for several months and even years. Therefore, a biopsy is usually done to determine the aggressiveness of the cancerous cells.
In addition, the decision to euthanize a beloved dog is difficult, but when it comes to hemangiosarcoma, pet lovers should also realize that time is of the essence. The best way to decide is to talk with your vet and be prepared.
So many vets recommend putting your dog down once she is diagnosed with it. However, some dogs may live for several months after the diagnosis. So it depends on how advanced the disease is. Helping your dog remain comfortable will be one of your primary concerns.
What is hemangiosarcoma?
Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is cancer composed of hemangiosarcoma cells. These cells often form from the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. However, HSAs can arise from other mesenchymal cell derivatives such as smooth muscle, connective tissue, or even cartilage.
In simpler words, think of hemangiosarcoma (HSA) as cancer of the blood vessels. The “hemo” part refers to the blood, and the “sarcoma” part describes a malignant tumor, which means fast-growing cancer. The cancerous cells are originated in the lining of the blood vessels and then spread throughout the body.
Hemangiosarcoma typically occurs in older dogs because they have been exposed to more ultraviolet light, a risk factor for the condition. The most common places for hemangiosarcoma tumors are the spleen, heart, and skin, but they can occur anywhere in the body.
Furthermore, hemangiosarcoma is highly malignant and metastatic, spreading throughout the body to internal organs. Because it grows rapidly, often into large masses and with little signs, tumors may rupture suddenly, causing life-threatening internal bleeding.
The best way to diagnose HSA is by splenic or heart biopsy. Abdominal ultrasound reveals most tumors but not those in the heart or spleen. Treatment options include surgery and chemotherapy.
Dog spleen tumor life expectancy without surgery
The median survival time for dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma with surgery is 141 days, while the median survival time for those without surgery is only 21 days. However, the exact prognosis varies.
Furthermore, a dog with a spleen tumor can live for years with the condition, sometimes without even being diagnosed, as long as he is not experiencing any symptoms. As soon as a dog shows signs of illness, however, his life expectancy decreases sharply without surgical removal of the spleen.
This problem with spleen tumors is that about 50% of the time, metastasis (spread) has occurred to other parts of the body and the life expectancy is often very short.
Signs that dog dying from hemangiosarcoma
The most common symptoms of hemangiosarcoma are lethargy and loss of appetite. As the disease progresses, it causes bleeding, bruising, and breathing problems. During this time, your dog will be experiencing a lot of pain that must also be managed with medication. There are options for hospice care for you and your pet and caring for your pet at home. The following are other symptoms of hemangiosarcoma in dogs:
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Sudden bursts of energy or excitement and followed by collapse
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and/or weakness
- Anorexia – Abdominal bloating
Canine hemangiosarcoma stages
Dogs with hemangiosarcoma may have no symptoms at all, or they may show various symptoms, depending on the stage of their disease. The stages of hemangiosarcoma are:
- The first stage is when the tumor is confined to the spleen.
- The stage of ruptured spleen tumor.
- Distant lymph node or other tissue metastases.
Dogs with stage one tumors can live for about two years after surgery, while dogs with the last two stages can only live for about 6-10 months.
What are end stages of hemangiosarcoma in dogs?
The end-stage hemangiosarcoma in dogs involves the spread of cancer (called metastasis). The most common places it spreads to are the liver, lungs, and brain. As with most cancers at this stage, it tends to be incurable and survival times short.
In addition, the terminal stage of hemangiosarcoma in dogs occurs when the dog’s body can no longer overcome the effects of the disease. During this stage, pet owners should consider quality-of-life issues and decide whether to euthanize their pets.
Do dogs suffer when they have hemangiosarcoma?
Dogs with hemangiosarcoma suffer, especially if they are not diagnosed and treated quickly. In addition, his pain level can vary depending on the stage of his hemangiosarcoma, how it is being treated, and how your dog reacts to treatment. However, in many cases, dogs with hemangiosarcoma have a very good quality of life and rarely show signs of distressing pain.
Furthermore, Dogs with hemangiosarcoma can suffer from a variety of symptoms. Often these are related to anemia due to the bleeding from tumors and loss of blood to vital organs. This can cause lethargy, paleness, and weakness.
Bleeding into the chest or abdomen can also cause localized discomfort, swelling, and labored breathing. Vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and weight loss are common clinical findings in affected dogs. In addition, complications from surgery (which is a treatment option for some dogs) can occur.
How quickly does hemangiosarcoma spread in dogs?
Hemangiosarcoma in dogs should also be seen as an emergency since these cancer cells break off easily and spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. A delayed diagnosis can mean a shorter lifespan for canine hemangiosarcoma.
Hemangiosarcoma affects blood vessels and quickly spreads to vital organs like the heart and spleen. In some cases, the condition may be operable, but if left untreated, it will spread.
Most dogs with hemangiosarcoma have a metastatic spread of the tumor at diagnosis.
How can you tell if a dog is bleeding internally?
To determine if a dog is bleeding internally, take its temperature. If the temperature is below 98 degrees, hemorrhaging or extensive bleeding from injury is possible. Additionally, look for signs of shock, such as dilated pupils and cold limbs.
According to the American Kennel Club, a dog bleeding internally will have pale mucous membranes, a fast heart rate, and panting. In addition, any blood seen in the stool can indicate internal bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract.
Also, tumors of the blood vessels called hemangiosarcoma can form in the skin, spleen, heart, and other organs. One symptom of internal bleeding is pale gums. The major sign of internal bleeding is weakness or collapse.
What happens when a dog’s tumor bursts?
A dog’s tumor may burst under intense physical exercise or strain conditions, such as when a dog is playing, running, or falling.
When the tumor bursts, blood will begin to escape from its site in the body and enter other tissue causing the pet to rapidly experience blood loss. If you know your dog has a tumor and it ruptures, it is important to get to a vet immediately.
Also, when a dog’s tumor bursts, there is a sudden release of the stored cancer cells into the body’s circulation. This can result in major organ damage.
When should a dog be euthanized?
Euthanizing can be a difficult decision for dog owners, but it can be the most beneficial one in some circumstances. Euthanasia prevents any potential pain and suffering when an animal has a terminal illness or injury. It is also sometimes more affordable than paying for treatments that may not prolong life significantly.”
Euthanasia should be considered when a dog’s quality of life has deteriorated to a point where the dog is no longer feeling well most of the time. The treatments that can provide relief without significantly compromising the quality of life are ineffective, inappropriate, unavailable, or declined.
In addition, if your dog shows signs of consistent and unrelenting suffering and if all treatment options have been exhausted, euthanasia may be best for your dog. Ultimately, this decision must be made with the help of your veterinarian and family. It is not one to be taken lightly.
How long can a dog live with a bleeding tumor?
The average life expectancy for a dog with a mast cell tumor is around two years, although dogs have survived for many years longer than this. In addition, despite conventional wisdom, dogs in the advanced stages of mast cell tumors do not always bleed heavily.
Let me put it this way; they can live a healthy life for quite a long time, even with the tumor. If it is cancerous, then, of course, it will shorten their lives. However, if it is non-cancerous, then your dog should be able to live just as long of a happy life as any other dog with treatment.
When to euthanize a dog with cancer?
Dog cancer can impact a dog’s quality of life. You must decide when to euthanize a dog with cancer-based on your dog’s pain level and other symptoms.
Here are some things to look out for that can help you decide when to euthanize your dog:
- Your dog no longer wants to play or interact with you or other members of your family.
- He can’t get comfortable in any position.
- He walks with a stiff gait and may have trouble getting up from lying down.
- Breathing becomes difficult and heavy.
- He loses his appetite.
How to stop a bleeding tumor on a dog?
It is important to be cautious in stopping the bleeding from a dog’s tumor. Stopping the bleeding from a tumor on a dog’s body can be done with the following steps.
Using Epsom salts
- Gather a small store of Epsom salts.
- Add water to the salts and stir them until they’ve completely dissolved.
- Prepare a bandage.
- Use this as you would normally do on your dog.
- Wet the cloth bandage with the Epsom salt solution, and then wrap it around your dog’s open wound.
- Apply pressure to the area with the cloth. Keep it wrapped for 15-20 minutes, or until the bleeding stops.
- Warm the cornstarch until it reaches a paste consistency, then gently apply this to the bleeding skin tumor to stop the blood flow.
- Let it sit for five minutes or until it dries, and repeat as necessary.
Can a dog live without a spleen?
Dog can live without a spleen. Even though the spleen is a secondary organ and can be removed, this organ is still incredibly important to your dog’s overall health. While a dog can live without a spleen, the prognosis depends on how severe the splenic problem caused its removal and whether or not an underlying disease process exists in your dog.
In general, a dog with a non-functional spleen can live without it. When the spleen is removed or does not function correctly for medical reasons, the liver takes over its functions. The liver cannot produce platelets as the spleen can, but it can help filter out blood parasites and clear away old red blood cells.
How long will a dog live after spleen removed?
There is no immediate change in the dog’s life expectancy when the spleen is removed. Many dogs go on to lead full and active lives. Dogs with their spleen removed are not at risk for ruptured spleen, splenic tumors, or cancer.
However, many dogs require supplemental red blood cell support after splenectomy due to a condition known as immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA).
In addition, if the spleen tumor is benign and has not metastasized, there won’t be a life expectancy change after surgery. However, dogs with malignant tumors spread to other parts of the body have a poor prognosis, even with surgery.
Also, as long as the dog does not have another infection, he should live a normal life span.
Is internal bleeding painful for dogs?
Pain is a subjective symptom; therefore, one dog may experience pain and not show any signs, whereas another dog may appear to be in excruciating pain. Some dogs with internal bleeding, for example, will pant excessively or pace and will often stand with their abdomen tucked up.
Panting, tucking up the abdomen, or pacing is all signs of pain, but some dogs don’t feel or show that they are in pain until it’s too late.
Furthermore, internal bleeding can be painful to dogs, but it’s not the bleeding itself but the reason the internal bleeding occurs that will cause pain.
The pain caused depends on the severity of the bleeding. A small amount of bleeding may not cause a dog any discomfort at all. More severe bleeding may be a life-threatening emergency, usually resulting in immediate pain.
What causes spleen cancer in dogs?
Spleen cancer is quite rare in dogs. One of the major causes is hereditary hemangiosarcoma. Tumors on the spleen may also be caused by chronic inflammation exposure to certain toxins or viruses.
If your dog has been exposed to any of these things, please discuss them with your vet. Dogs that are more likely to get this type of cancer include Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, and Poodles.
In addition, Spleen cancer affects dogs in one of two ways. Splenic hemangiosarcoma is a malignant canine cancer that affects the spleen and spreads rapidly to other organs in dogs. Splenic hematoma occurs when the spleen ruptures.
Is hemangiosarcoma in dogs painful?
Hemangiosarcoma in dogs is painful, and the pain mostly arises from the solid tumor masses and the pressure that it creates inside the abdomen.
Other signs of pain include restlessness, panting, reluctance to walk or move, muscle wasting, and aggression. Sadly, hemangiosarcoma doesn’t respond well to chemotherapy or radiation. Therefore, treatment needs to be started quickly to increase the chances of success.
Furthermore, Hemangiosarcoma may cause so much pain that it interferes with normal activities such as eating or playing. However, some dogs may not show obvious signs of pain.
Hemangiosarcoma is a very common cancer in senior dogs, affecting the dog’s spleen and heart. Often, dogs with this disease show no symptoms until the very end, when they suddenly collapse due to internal bleeding and shock. If it cannot be treated or managed, you must decide whether and when to euthanize your dog with hemangiosarcoma.
This is the most difficult decision to make. Unfortunately, no one can make this decision for you, and it is a bad idea to do so based on the opinions of strangers with no knowledge of your dog’s temperament, personality, or health.