Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Collapse / Pale Mucous Membranes / Seizures / Shaking / Weight Loss

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Rated as serious conditon

23 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Collapse / Pale Mucous Membranes / Seizures / Shaking / Weight Loss

Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Hemangiosarcoma?

Cancer of the blood vessel walls, called hemangiosarcoma, is most often seen in German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Flat-Coated Retrievers, and Boxers. This cancer can occur either inside the body cavity or on the surface of the skin. The skin variety can be easily removed surgically and carries an excellent chance of full recovery. Unfortunately, internal hemangiosarcoma is almost certainly fatal. Growths that form in the spleen, heart or liver are difficult to detect until they become large enough to show symptoms. Even at a microscopic level, hemangiosarcoma can spread and progress throughout the body, forming large, blood-filled tumors virtually anywhere. When one of these tumors bursts, it can cause an immediate internal bleeding crisis signified by sudden whitening of the gums, weakness and collapse. Unfortunately, by the time the animal arrives at the veterinarian’s office, it is usually too late to provide any treatment or care. Owners who notice any abnormalities of the skin, lumps in the abdomen, or abnormal weakness in their pet should see a veterinarian immediately.

Hemangiosarcoma in canine is among, if not the, most challenging and mysterious diseases encountered in veterinary practice.

Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive cancer affecting the cells that make up blood vessels, often forming masses in the spleen or heart. The cancerous tissue forming these masses is not as strong as ordinary tissue and may rupture when filled with blood, causing sudden internal bleeding emergencies and death.

Hemangiosarcoma Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $16,000

Average Cost

$9,000

Symptoms of Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

  • Lump(s) detectable in the abdomen
  • Black or red mass in the skin
  • Weakness
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Weight loss
  • Partial or complete loss of movement
  • Seizures and/or intermittent collapsing
  • General lack of energy, lameness, and/or lack of engagement
  • Pale mucous membranes
Types
  • Dermal (skin)
  • Visceral (internal)
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Causes of Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Accumulated lifetime exposure to carcinogens
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Diagnosis of Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

Dermal

Dermal hemangiosarcoma presents as a bluish, black or red lump in the skin. This condition may have a sun-exposure component, and occurs on areas with sparser hair growth. Dogs with short, white hair are at greatest risk for this type of hemangiosarcoma. A veterinarian will make a physical inspection of the lump and likely will send a sample for analysis.

Visceral

Visceral hemangiosarcoma is often diagnosed post-mortem due to the sudden onset of symptoms from a ruptured tumor. However, if a tumor happens to be close to the skin and is successfully detected, there are a number of ways to identify the cancer. The veterinarian will look for general swelling of the abdomen, and will look at the dog’s gums to see if they are pale, a simple check for anemia. If the lump is not immediately identified as benign, a blood analysis, urine sample analysis, and medical imaging of the chest and abdomen will also be requested. A biopsy of the tumor may be taken, but this must be done carefully to avoid triggering an internal bleeding crisis.

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Treatment of Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

In the case of dermal hemangiosarcoma, careful surgical removal is usually highly effective. If the tumor has been allowed to infiltrate the lower layers of the skin or muscle, chemotherapy is often administered as well and can include IV treatments of cyclophosphamide. Surgical excision and and chemotherapy combined give an excellent prognosis.

Visceral hemangiosarcoma treatment depends on the extent and size of the tumors. In cases where the cancer is localized to the spleen and has not ruptured, surgical removal along with chemotherapy can give a median survival time of around 4 months. Only 10% of dogs survive more than a year with visceral hemangiosarcoma. Complications of this cancer include clotting disorders leading to hemorrhage, intense pain if the cancer spreads to the bone, weakness and vomiting. In cases where the cancer has spread beyond the spleen, many veterinarians deem it kinder to euthanize the dog rather than subject it to the effects of the cancer.

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Recovery of Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

Dermal hemangiosarcoma is survivable if the tumor is small, removed completely and follow-up chemotherapy administered. Cases where the tumor has spread carry a poor outlook of 6-10 months survival time. Follow-up appointments and imaging will be needed to make sure the cancer has not spread or relapsed.

Visceral hemangiosarcoma is almost always fatal. Pain can sometimes be managed with analgesics, but the severity of the cancer is such that recovery is not possible, and pets often succumb to the complications of living with it.

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Hemangiosarcoma Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $16,000

Average Cost

$9,000

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Hemangiosarcoma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Zora

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German Shepherd

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

So back in November 2017, we took our oldest German Shepherd to the vet and she had what I deemed a bad tumor on her side, along her lower ribcage. It turns out is was Hemangiosarcoma and the vet did a fairly agressive removal of the tumor but did not know we should probably have done Chemo on her. Fast forward to about a couple weeks ago she would be very lethargic and not eat for a day. She has done this a couple of times. I think she has lost weight. She does go down in weight for the summer but I am concerned. I am worried we did not have the proper after care and we could be looking at Hemangiosarcoma again just internally this time. I have a vet appt on Monday morning. I am just curious what types of questions I should ask or have them run specific tests.

July 14, 2018

Zora's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Lethargy and loss of appetite are symptoms shared with many different conditions and are not specific to any particular condition. Chemotherapy is indicated in many cases of hemangiosarcoma, but depends on various factors and your Veterinarian’s or Oncologist’s opinion. Your Veterinarian may want to perform an x-ray or ultrasound given the history of hemangiosarcoma. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 15, 2018

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Rocky

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Shepherd mix

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13 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Incontinence
Paralysis
Rapid Breathing
Rapid Pulse
Internal Bleeding
Tumors
Hemorrhaging

Wondering if with this cancer as my Rocky has (inoperable and metastasized... please see my comment on Sam's post for more specifics on current condition), if there are any tell-tale signs of whether he is in pain still (after giving him both CBD and tramadol it doesn't appear he is to me but want to be sure)? And also, any tell-tale signs that he is in active stage of death as in days to live (rather than weeks/months)? He is paralyzed except for upper body, internal bleeding that can be seen around navel and groin area as dark red/purple skin, incontinence but regular bowel and urine and eating still.

June 6, 2018

Rocky's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Whether or not Rocky is in pain isn’t really the main question, it is to look at his quality of life; is delaying euthanasia due to Rocky’s best interest or in yours. I don’t recommend euthanasia without examining a patient first but based on the information presented in your question and below Sam’s post, I would recommend that you seriously consider euthanasia as Rocky seems to be existing and not living. As far as pain is concerned, dogs are stoic and don’t easily exhibit pain so monitoring for it can be difficult. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 7, 2018

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Coral

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pit bull terrier

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8 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Collapse

My dog is is 8 year old pit bull terrier. On 5/11 she collapsed due to a mass that burst in her spleen and caused internal bleeding. The vets said there’s an 85% chance she has hemangiosarcoma and we’re waiting for the path report to come back. So far, her recovery has been exceptional she’s not tired and not really minding the 10 inch incision anymore. Maybe I’m trying to be too optimistic but if she indeed had this aggressive cancer do you think her recovery would have been so quick? From almost dying on Friday, to coming home on Sunday to walking around and having energy just 4 days after surgery, do you think the odds are on our side!?

May 15, 2018

Coral's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

With splenic masses, complete removal of a benign tumour (normally with splenectomy) is curative; however if the tumour is malignant the prognosis is not as favourable. Without getting the histopathology report back no Veterinarian is going to give you an indication of long term prognosis, but I’m happy that Coral is doing well so far. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/splenic-masses

May 16, 2018

How is your pup? What was the diagnosis? Benign or malignant? We are in the same situation now...

Aug. 4, 2018

Kelly A.

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Bandit

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Boxer

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pale Gums

Hello, We have a 12-year old male Boxer. We started one day with a bloody stool. Took him to the vet - he was diagnosed with colitis and given antibiotics. The red-blood stool turned into a black, tarry one within a week. Then, one day out of the blue, he had a small seizure that was hard to detect. Later that evening, he totally collapsed while running after a ball, and began to have a seizure on the ground. We brought him in and took him to the vet. Due to his age, the vet decided to do some xrays. While on the x-ray table, Bandit had another seizure. He said Bandit's spleen and liver were very enlarged. He showed us the pictures and said it looked like cancer. He gave us a grim prognosis. Six months to live. He gave us Phenobarbytol for the seizures which have not returned thus far - about four weeks now without one. He is unstable on his feet and seems pretty lethargic. He is eating and drinking. After about two weeks on the Phenobarbytol, he began drinking excessive amounts of water. An entire bowl at a time. He began peeing in the house. Not normal. Now, after several weeks on Phenobarbytol, he seems to be drinking much less water, hardly any, however he seems very, very hungry. He is constantly wanting food or a snack. We are feeding him his regular meals, plus more snacks throughout the day. He is so hungry, though, he is eating the trash. He looks like he has lost weight. We continue with his Phenobarbytol prescription and special dietary food from the vet. We are keeping him quiet with no excessive exercise. The seizures have stopped for now. He also has very pale gums and seems confused and disoriented often. We are trying to discern what is the right thing to do here. It doesn't look like he is ready to go, but just hard to tell what kind of quality of life he is having.

May 1, 2018

Bandit's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm very sorry that that is happening to Bandit, it is always hard when things start to go wrong. The increased urination and thirst, and disorientation may be due to the Phenobarbitol, and that can take a few weeks to normalize in a dog's system. The weight loss and pale gums may be related to any splenic or liver masses. If it seems that he is relatively happy, it may be worth continuing with the medication and monitoring him for more normal behavior. It may also be a good idea to have his Phenobarbitol levels checked if he has been on that for 4 weeks, to see if you can drop the dose down at all. I hope that he continues to have a decent quality of life once the medication side effects are stabilized.

May 1, 2018

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Binx

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Australian Shepherd

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13 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness

I took my 13 1/2 year old female dog, Binx in for her yearly exam in Feb. I mentioned that for about the last year her back legs seem to go out on her or buckle when we are walking. It’s like she just kneels down 4-6 times during a walk. I was told it was arthritis and started her on Rimadyl. The vet said I would know in 2 weeks if it was helping her and it to let them know. She was helped significantly and after 2 weeks went to pick up another bottle. The Vet tech told me I would need to have lab work done before it could be refilled again. I took her in for lab work several weeks ago and the next day heard back that all 3 liver enzymes were elevated. She could not tolerate the Rimadyl. WE started her on Denamarin for 30 days and then she would have her labs done again and if that brought them back down, we could then start something else for pain. Last week when she woke up from her nap, she could not step up onto one step to come out of her room. It scared me because she had never done this before. I ran to get a blanket to try and lift her with it and when I was heading back to her room, I noticed she had made it up the step on her own. I took her outside on a leash, and when we were ready to come inside she couldn’t get up the step onto the front porch. I was crying thinking she is so old and this is just the beginning of the end. She has also been sleeping most of the day for the last 10 months or so. I just assumed it was normal. This was on a Friday, and all last weekend she just laid on her bed and hardly got up. I was so worried and knew it was much more than just arthritis. She looked so sad and seemed like she wasn’t going to be around much longer. I didn’t want to leave her all weekend, but we left for an hour on Sat and Sun and when we left she was asleep. Off and on all weekend, when she needed to go out, she had trouble with the step. We decided to keep her out of her room while we were gone because we didn’t want her to fall. She also has a bed in our bedroom so we told her to lie down in there. She seemed so confused and really wanted to go into her room. It’s her favorite place to sleep and hang out. When we arrived home, she didn’t even get up to greet us. She just laced there. On Monday morning we took her to the vet. She had gained 7 pounds since Feb. Her abdomen looked thick and bloated. I hadn’t noticed this but my husband had. He didn’t tell me because he didn’t want to worry me. She didn’t have a temperature and her heart rate was good. Her gums looked pink. We decided to do an ultrasound of her abdomen. We were shocked when she told us she had a huge, ugly mass she thought was on her liver. She also said it looked like it had paper punch holes all over it. She said Bing was squirming and so it was hard to get up as high as she wanted. She basically told us she has 2 weeks to live and that we could go to a specialist if we chose to do so. She also said Bing had fluid in her abdomen maybe around the liver, I’m not exactly sure. I was in shock. Bing has always been pretty healthy. She has parvovirus as a puppy before we adopted her and almost died. All her liter mates died. She also had pancreatitis when she was around 6 years old. I don’t know what to do or if there is any hope at all. The Vet also told me that the tumor could rupture and she would bleed out. I haven’t left her al week since this devastating news. The next day I called the vet and asked her if I should avoid anything at all or if i would have any warning that B in was bleeding internally and then she told me she didn’t think that would happed. So, one day she tells me that she could bleed to death and the next day she says she probably won’t. I’m on pins and needles and terrified the tumor is going to rupture and she will bleed to death. I also asked her if she knew for sure that it was malignant and she said no, not unless we did a biopsy. She prescribed GABA pectin for pain and said to finish up what was left of the Denamarin. We also got her some CBD oil and saw an amazing change in her the next day after 2 doses. We are not giving her the Gabapentin any longer. She’s still sleeping a lot and eating and drinking. We took a long walk the other day and i feel guilty because I know she over did it. I let her take me to her favorite places and she had so much fun. My app on my phone said we walked 2 1/2 miles. She was dragging and barely made it home. She couldn’t get up the step again on our front porch, so we had to go next door to my sisters house for awhile so she could rest. Do you think I should contact a specialist? My vet said tumors on the spleen are the ones that rupture and she didn’t think her spleen eas involved. One more thing, she did say that there were like bright lights on her spleen or maybe bright spots. Thank You so much for your time.

April 13, 2018

Binx's Owner

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This is always distressing when you hear this type of news and you want to do all you can for Binx. The type of tumour most common on the spleen is hemangiosarcoma (malignant) which may rupture; hemangiosarcoma may also affect the liver as well. Without a biopsy it is difficult to say specifically what the tumour is but statistically we’re looking at a malignant tumour; I think it would be wise to speak with a Specialist since you don’t seem sure specifically if the tumour is liver, spleen or both. Once you speak with the Specialist you will have more information to make an informed decision in Binx’s best interest. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 14, 2018

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Zoe

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Mixed

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Shock, Low Bp, Anemia

My brother's 11 year mixed female went into shock and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and found to have a ruptured mass on her spleen. We were given the dire news that 80% of these are cancerous and they suggested surgery or euthanasia. I had the 3K to pay to have her stabilized and she recovered and we brought her home but did not have the cash for surgery. A few days later I was able to make available 6K for surgery and talked my brother into it though he fought me on it not wanting me to spend the money etc. I chose to go to the University of PA which is one of the best hospitals in the country. The day I brought her in they did additional testing and found that she might have a spot on her lungs, she had spots on her liver (which is typical of spread from cancer) and her kidneys were in bad shape either from cancer or they took a hit for the initial blood loss. Again, they said it looks like cancer, so asked us we want to go ahead with the surgery or euthanize her. Again, I talked my brother into the surgery which they did an hour later. After the surgery she had some breathing issues which suggested could be cancer in her lungs but a day later not only did her breathing return to normal (with a lot of intervention on their part) but her kidneys began to significantly improve. Again, though they said there were two masses on the smaller size which are usually cancer. Low and behold today we found out that everything was benign. No cancer. We are both shocked as we expected the worse. My suggestion is that if you love your pet and can swing the money - do the surgery. Expect the worse but hope for the best. I just went through thousands on two of my cats and did not get good news but I have never ever regretted the expense.

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Toby

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Silky Terrier

dog-age-icon

16 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Tumor

My 16 year old silky terrier had a bleeding skin tumor and a sudden tumor in his eye that grew very quickly and caused secondary glaucoma. We had the skin tumor removed and it came back as dermal hemangiosarcoma. An abdominal ultrasound showed small masses on his liver and spleen, and a chest xray showed it had also spread to his lungs. We got glaucoma drops and pain meds and ordered the yunnan biyao and tried to make the most of the time he had left. The vet told us it would be weeks, not months at that point. Exactly 1 month later he started coughing up blood and mucus. There was a lot of blood, it was terrifying. The emergency vet we went to that night said this was the end, although he did stop coughing. We didn't want to put him through that again, to die a horrible death drowning in blood. We put him to sleep at home the next day. I'm glad I waited to Google hemangiosarcoma until afterwards, and just listen to my vet. My heart goes out to anyone going through this.

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Harry

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terrier

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14 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Stiffness
Vomiting
Pain When Lifted

My dog, Harry, was a nearly 14 year old terrier mix. My wife and I made the difficult decision to put him to sleep Monday morning. His symptoms were sudden and acute. He was in severe pain (ears back, body stiff, quick breathing, fast heart beat, vocalization of pain, unable to move) and at some point during the night he vomited and collapsed. We rushed him to an emergency hospital where they performed a battery of tests and determined he had a large mass in his abdomen (deemed the source of his pain) which seemed to have ruptured with blood filling his abdominal cavity. It was very early in the morning so I do not remember everything the vet told us (I am in the process of retrieving his medical records) and I'm upset because I think he said it was a hemangiosarcoma but I do not remember. He was surprised in that there was so much pain.....he had to give Harry a large dose of a painkiller and it took a long time for it to take effect. The sounds of my little dog screaming from somewhere within the vet hospital will forever haunt me. It is this pain that has me pondering days later.....the vet told us while he's seen the tumor and the bleeding before it is usually not associated with pain, or at least pain we can detect. Due to the sudden nature of this, I was thinking he had an ulceration of some sort in his GI tract, and while there was evidence of blood in his stool his vomit did not have any sign of blood, and there was no diarrhea. In the days leading up to this he had been very weak. We tried to go on walks, as he would act excited, but as soon as we would begin he would slow way, way down. He was on an antibiotic and prednisone, and I was attributed much of his condition to the pred. He had a good appetite and, while a bit slow and tired, seemed to be doing well. I had seen two vets in the last two weeks due to symptoms in his nasal area, and had been informed that he likely had a nasal sarcoma of some sort. He did have many lumps that were mostly deemed to be fatty deposits, but the second vet found a mass on his neck that looked worrisome and told me his lymph nodes were enlarged/inflamed (a word like that). Besides the loss of my companion of nearly 14 years, it is the suddenness of this episode that has me very upset. It came on virtually without warning, and while we were aware that the end was likely in sight, we were not prepared for the sudden onset of symptoms that led to the death of our baby. Any advice or conjecture as to the nature of his final time here on Earth would be most appreciated. My wife and I definitely feel for all of you who either have a baby hurting or have lost your baby. Thanks for reading.

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Winni

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating, Lethargic, Pale Gums,

My girl Winni was diagnosed a year ago. The vet said she would occasionally bleed internally and then recover. He said this typically happens a few times, until one day it bursts internally and they fall asleep and die. So far, it is exactly like he said - about once a month her gums will turn pale, she will not want to eat and she walks very slowly. She usually recovers within 2 days and is back to normal. She is in one of those cycles now, but I feel she is worse this time. We are on day 2 and I'm keeping a close eye on her. I don't want her to suffer. She is just sleeping a lot and is not eating yet. Once she starts eating I know she is ok for now. However, I feel we are nearing the end. Over the past couple of weeks she has become incontinent at night. I can also tell her mind is starting to go. I just don't know when the right time is to make that hard decision to euthanize her. We had a another dog with this many years ago and one time I came home to find him totally paralyzed. All he could move were his eyes. It was heartbreaking and I don't want Winni to go through the same. She is my heart and soul. My once in a life time dog. It is so hard.

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Barry

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Dachshund

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Loss Of Appetite

On Wednesday 3/01/19 I learned Barry had a 5cm mass in his abdomen. Due to Barry having a heart condition surgery to remove and test the mass is not ideal. Should I request a needle biopsy to at least know if the mass is malignant or benign? The specialist I saw wasn't very positive about surgery survival or the needle test being accurate. We have Barry home with us on heart medication and antibiotics, he is active and eating again. I will change his diet and ensure his physical activity is cautious but without knowing what the mass is I'm distraught hoping he isn't suffering and I dont sleep so I can check he hasn't passed away.

Hemangiosarcoma Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $16,000

Average Cost

$9,000

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