Prognosis of hemangiosarcoma in dogs
The prognosis for dogs that survive with hemangiosarcoma is very poor. I have searched the internet for answers since my dog Moebert died of this horrible disease. Hemangiosarcoma is a very aggressive, very persistent type of cancer that can spread rapidly to other parts of the body to other tissues, especially the liver, lungs, and abdominal lining. Hemangio (sarcoma) a blood-fed sarcoma; which means that the blood vessels grow directly into the tumor and it is usually filled with blood.
At that point, you will see any “clinical signs” such as pale gums, cold to the touch (your body, mouth and nose), shortness of breath, abdominal swelling, just to name a few. it would probably be too late as it was with Moebert.
The earlier your vet diagnoses and treats canine hemangiosarcoma, the better the chances of survival, but unless they run blood tests, X-rays and look for something specific, they will never know either. How would you know that your dog might have a “hemoabdomen” (which means free blood within the abdominal cavity)? Sometimes the spleens will develop masses and these are usually benign tumors (hemangiomas) or malignant tumors (hemangiosarcomas).
The treatment and prognosis of a hemoabdomen depend entirely on the cause. In most cases, the cause of the bleeding must 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 loss of blood can be life-threatening and lead to a (hemoabdomen). Studies have shown that most bleeding tumors are more likely to have been hemangiosarcoma. There is a 50:50 chance that it is one of the two, the only way to know for sure is through a biopsy.
When the spleen tumor ruptures, the dog usually has profuse bleeding in its abdominal cavity, which is usually very detectable to the vet by the swelling of the abdomen. In my opinion, it would still be too late to actually save your dog. Even if they could be stabilized, which would involve taking radiographs / X-rays and / or ultrasound, replacing the lost blood volume with intravenous fluids and blood and oxygen transfusions, the result would be the removal of the spleen, but in many cases if it has metastases; which means that it has spread to other parts of the body and with that the prognosis becomes very bad. Remember that hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive cancer and that is the problem, even with the spleen and tumor removed, the dog was probably saved from death by bleeding, but will probably eventually die from the cancer.
So what is the prognosis for hemangiosarcoma in dogs?
In the long term, if your dog is diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, your chances are slim to none. Survival time after splenectomy is 3 weeks to 3 months, with chemotherapy it could increase survival time from 5 to 7 months, only a few dogs have survived after one year. Of course, survival time can vary depending on the scale of the disease, aggressiveness, and follow-up care. Follow-up care usually includes monthly chest x-rays and physical exams that are necessary to monitor any recurrence of the cancer. Most dogs will likely die or be euthanized due to this metastatic disease. This type of cancer, I’m sorry to say, is fatal, but if caught early enough, the dog’s life can be prolonged, but at whose expense? … The answer is as much for you as it is for your dogs.
If your dog is diagnosed with canine hemangosarcoma, you will have some very difficult decisions to make to say the lease. No one wants to do anything to save their pet in the first place, but what are you going to put your best friend through to do that? X-rays, blood tests, surgery, pain only for you to give in to cancer and die anyway. Should you consider your age and whether or not you have other health problems and what your quality of life would be like? Then you have to factor in all the vet bills that would go into extending your dog’s life by just a month or three or maybe even days. This is not the type of cancer that chemotherapy can cure (which can make your dog sick) if you get rid of the cancer from one place where it is more likely to have spread to another. The result will be the same.
Only you, the owner, can make this arcading decision. It doesn’t matter if you contracted this disease in its early stages or not, the prognosis will continue to be poor. I didn’t have to make a decision; it seemed like my dog Moebert made them for me. He never showed signs of being sick. It is true when they say that hemangosarcoma is the “silent killer” because in most cases the cancer has already advanced before the dog owner realizes it. Moebert waited for me to get home from work so we could both say goodbye; I know it in my heart.
Had he undergone the surgery and everything else? If I had saved his life and had been better and “cured” … you can bet. It meant more to me than life. I am so glad I don’t have to make a decision about whether to have surgery or even consider euthanasia. Sometimes circumstances don’t give you time to ask questions and when you’re so upset, one wouldn’t be thinking clearly anyway. I know I wasn’t, I probably would have done anything to keep Moe alive, but it wouldn’t have been for his sake, it would have been my own selfishness in not wanting to lose him and that wouldn’t have been right. I have never been as devastated for losing anyone or anything in my life as I am for my Moebert.
Love and hug your pet every day and every opportunity you get, because you never know what can and can happen. You may not have another chance.
For you and the health of your pets,