Jump to section

What is Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma?

Liver and spleen hemangiosarcomas are typically diagnosed in elderly dogs; however, they can occur at any age. The cancer appears at a slightly elevated rate in male dogs over female dogs, and is more commonly found in the Boxer, English Setter, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane and Pointer breeds. Because these tumors occur within blood vessels, there is a risk of the tumor(s) rupturing and causing internal hemorrhage. For this reason, some dogs may die of sudden hemorrhage before the cancer is diagnosed. Because of the rapid rate of metastasis, there is also a risk of the cancer having spread, particularly to the brain or heart, before the cancer is diagnosed.

Hemangiosarcoma is an incurable malignant cancer forming a tumor or tumors in the cells that form the inner lining of blood vessels and can occur in the liver or spleen. This cancer metastasizes at a rapid rate and affected dogs have limited survival time.

Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $16,000

Average Cost

$10,000

Symptoms of Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

  • Weight loss
  • Wasting
  • Weakness
  • Lameness
  • Collapse
  • Muscle incoordination
  • Partial loss of muscle control
  • Seizures
  • Dementia, confusion
  • Pale mucous membranes due to internal bleeding
  • Acute blood loss
  • Palpable or visible abdominal mass
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Abdominal swelling due to fluid buildup
  • Excessive bruising
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

The cause of internal hemangiosarcoma in the liver and spleen is unknown.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

In order to aid your veterinarian in diagnosis, you must provide your veterinarian with your dog’s medical history as well as a thorough reporting of the onset of symptoms, including as much detail about the symptoms and their severity as possible. Based on the symptoms provided, your veterinarian will be able to discern which internal organs are being affected and differentiate between other possible conditions.

A chemical blood profile will be conducted in order to measure chemical aspects of your dog’s blood; particularly, urea, nitrogen and creatinine levels will shed light on your dog’s kidney function and albumin, bilirubin and other protein levels will assess the functioning of your dog’s liver. A complete blood count, measuring red and white blood cell as well as platelet levels, will determine if your dog has anemia or a low platelet count, both of which are signs of the disorder. A urinalysis is another important tool for assessing kidney health, and your veterinarian will be looking for high levels protein and bilirubin in your dog’s urine.

If these tests confirm compromised liver and kidney functioning, your veterinarian will likely move on to imagining in order to obtain a diagnosis. X-rays will likely be taken in order to view a possible mass in the abdomen or the presence of a buildup of abdominal fluid. Further, x-rays may be taken if metastasis is suspected and can reveal the extent that cancer has spread. The spleen and the liver may be assessed further by ultrasound, and EKG, or echocardiography, may be utilized if there is a buildup of fluid around the heart in order to detect compromised heart functioning due to a cancerous mass. Often a diagnosis will be confirmed by fine needle aspiration biopsy that will be sent to the lab for analysis.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

When determining your dog’s treatment plan, you will need to discuss survival time with your veterinarian. There is no cure for liver and spleen hemangiosarcoma. With aggressive treatments, your dog’s survival time may be up to 1 year after the development of the cancer and that time decreases to just a few months if untreated.

Initial treatment will involve IV fluids and blood transfusions in order to stabilize and maintain fluid levels as well as manage anemia. In some cases, in order to prolong your dog’s life, a tumor on the spleen may be removed along with the surrounding tissue, which may include the entire spleen. If this surgical treatment is possible, it alone can extend your dog’s life for two to three months. Surgery may be complemented with chemotherapy in order to delay the spread of the cancer, and may increase survival time. The life expectancy of dogs that have undergone both successful surgical treatment and chemotherapy is an average of 7 to 9 months, with 10% of dogs surviving past one year. These treatments are designed to decrease discomfort in your dog as you are prolonging its life; however, some owners may opt for euthanasia, as there is no cure.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

For dogs in treatment for liver and spleen hemangiosarcoma, close monitoring at home and frequent follow-up visits will be necessary. After surgery, your dog will be sore, and it will be necessary to restrict activity in order to avoid sudden hemorrhage. To promote rest, provide your dog with a quiet, comfortable place away from stimuli. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medication as a part of the palliative treatment program. Be sure to follow directions and administer as prescribed.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $16,000

Average Cost

$10,000

arrow-up-icon

Top

Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Gozer

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu terrier mix

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

5 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hemangiosarcoma

Our dog had a splenectomy after his spleen ruptured due to hemangiosarcoma. It has been 7 days since the surgery and he is recovering well. We have an appointment for suture removal and to see an oncologist next week which will be 12 days post surgery. My question is: How soon should we start chemotherapy? Should we try to schedule an appointment with an oncologist sooner? Our dog also has an enlarged heart and murmur but after doing an echocardiogram, they do not feel as though he needs heart meds at this time.

July 18, 2018

Gozer's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Twelve days is not an unreasonable amount of time after surgery to consider chemotherapy, although it shouldn’t be left any longer. When it comes to an enlarged heart, it is usually best to wait for symptoms to start and some medication used for medical management are contraindicated in asymptomatic patients. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 19, 2018

Thanks for your response, it is greatly appreciated. I have found the dialog in this forum to be helpful while I have been trying to learn more about hemangiosarcoma so I thought I would share Gozer's experience in case it helps someone else and their beloved family member. Gozer is a 14 lb, approximately 9 year old (he was a stray) shih tzu/ terrier mix. He does have a heart murmur and an enlarged heart due to a leaky mitral valve but is not at a stage requiring heart medication. He was his normal self on Tuesday July 10, but by late afternoon/ early evening he was slightly lethargic and a couple of times that night he mis stepped (slight loss of coordination). He still wanted treats on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning (July 11) he was still lethargic but eagerly wanted a treat. In addition, it seemed as though he was taking very deep breathes ever 30 respirations or so. Our local vet allowed us to bring him in first thing Wednesday morning (9:30 am)and noted that his gums were pale. A red blood cell count was on the low end of normal limits. During the weekend before that Wednesday, all 4 of our dogs had slightly runny stools (I assume due to a new treat they had), so I was thinking it may have had something to do with that. Gozer's belly also felt a little tight (which we later found Gozer's belly was distended), but he is a little overweight, so we weren't sure what we were feeling. We were sent home with an antibiotic. While at the vet clinic shopping plaza, Gozer did not seem to want to walk around much and would stop often (not to smell anything, just in needing to rest). This is highly unusual for him as he loves to go places and walk around smelling the surroundings. When we got home, I put the antibiotic in his favorite treat (small ball of canned dog food), but he was reluctant to eat it. Gozer has NEVER refused a food item. Basically, I would categorize him as 'pig' as normally he has a great appetite. After that, Gozer spent a lot of time in his quiet place (dog bed in our closet where he often goes during thunderstorms and fireworks). I went to check on him and noticed urine spots on the bed. We have a doggie door and the dogs can go out at any time into their fenced in yard. Whenever there have been 'accidents' in the house, they have been due to marking, not really having accidents so the urine on the dog bed where he was sleeping was highly unusual. So, I called the internal medicine specialist office that had recently done the echocardiogram for his heart. They did not have any openings that day, but the receptionist let me talk to the doctor who did his heart work up two weeks before. I described to her what we were seeing and she squeezed us in that afternoon at 2pm. The specialist did blood work and an ultrasound that showed a ruptured spleenic mass, which meant Gozer was bleeding internally. The news was devastating as they explained to us that it most likely meant hemangiosarcoma and explained the options of 1) surgery to remove the spleen which had a survival rate of as short as 2 weeks to 2 months, 2) surgery with chemo that may extend the life to 4-6 months or maybe a little longer 3) send him home with a Chinese herb, or 4) euthanasia. They also already had a surgeon available to talk to us and would do the surgery immediately. They also explained that quality of life was usually very good with the surgery and chemo option. We elected to go ahead with the surgery. The surgery was completed before we arrived home (1 hour) and the doctor called to us to say that it all went well and that it did not appear that any other areas were effected, but they removed the spleen and took a liver biopsy. We were to wait for the path report to know for sure if it was malignant and if it was in the liver as well. Gozer stayed at the vet for almost 48 hours, where his heart was monitored due to heart arrythymia being a common occurance with the surgery. Gozer did develop the heart arrhythmia and was put on a lidocaine drip to treat the irregular heart beat. Gozer did not eat anything during his vet stay nor did he defecate, but the vet said that isn't that unusual and that Gozer will probably start eating at home. When we picked him up, he looked wiped out but wagged his tail when we we took him outside and he licked our faces (what a happy moment for us!). When we got home, I made some small balls of ground chicken and microwaved them. We offered them after they cooled and Gozer quickly ate the microwaved ground meatballs within 10 minutes of being home. He also went outside and defecated. In the past, Gozer did not seem to do well on tramadol (he had a benign thyroid tumor removed a few months ago), so the vet put him on gabapentin for pain. We are absolutely delighted at how quickly Gozer was back to his normal happy self, It was amazing how quickly (about 4 days) he recuperated after having his spleen removed. Unfortunately the path report did show that the spleen had hermangiosarcoma but the liver showed no metasis of the hemangiosarcoma. On Tuesday July 24, Gozer had his sutures removed and we met with the Oncologist who explained the options and that a good quality of life was the priority. Gozer had his first chemotherapy (doxorubicin) following blood work that same day (13 days post surgery). My understanding is that he sat on a tech's lap while getting the chemo through an IV which took about 15 minutes. He was also sent home with a probiotic, an antibiotic, and a anti nausea pill. That first chemo was yesterday and I am pleased to say that you would never know it, Gozer is still his happy. active self. The current plan is to have 6 rounds of chemo, done every 3 weeks. The fourth chemo will be preceded by a workup (blood, ultrasound), to evaluate how his body is doing. Likwise, we are to meet with a holistic practioner at the oncologist office to discuss options of YB and a mushroom extract to augment the chemo to help set Gozer up for success. I will keep posting how he is doing and the treatments he gets in case it helps someone. But, so far, so good! Gozer is doing incredibly well out spleenectomy and his first chemo session. He's a happy, tail wagging, treat begging, active little dog that brings us a lot us a lot of joy. BTW, he is also still playing with our other 3 dogs.

July 25, 2018

Gozer's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Zeke

dog-breed-icon

Goldendoodle

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

My dog had a splenectomy after his spleen ruptured due to hemangiosarcoma and recovered well from surgery followed by chemo. Three months after surgery, he was showing signs of a bleed. He was clenching his stomach. I gave him several “emergency pills” from the Yunnan Baiyao packet, and he quit clenching after an hour. But he was lethargic and just layed around, never getting up. In this case, is it recommended to take a dog to the ER. Is a blood transfusion advisable? I always thought that this is just how it ends with hemangiosarcoma. But now I’m wondering, could a blood transfusion fixed this for at least a while. He was so happy up until this point. I wasn’t sure what to do so I just layed with him for 5 days where he would periodically pant a lot, but continued to drink water and was very bright eyed. I never considered what my options were if there were a bleed and there was no protocol set by the vet. What would you recommend to do in this situation?

June 27, 2018

Zeke's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

You should visit a Veterinarian regardless for an examination to determine the severity of this latest bleed and to determine if there has been a significant loss of blood volume; without examining Zeke myself I cannot give you any specific advice, but be prepared if your Veterinarian advises you it is time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 27, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Spike

dog-breed-icon

Boxer-Bulldog

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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

Critical severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen
Fever
Pale Pink Gums
Swollen Legs/Feet

Hello, my 12 year old Boxer-Bulldog began feeling hot like he was running a fever about 4 weeks ago and a little slow/responsive than normal. I have him his Rimadyl I had for a knee issue that comes-goes and he seemed to shake the fever to only have it return the following weekend. This time he was more lethargic and hotter which was more noticeable than the week before. I gave him the Rimadyl again, and again he bounced back. During that week I noticed he wasn't eating much so I tried soft dog food which got him eating again, but the following day (Thursday)he had severe gas follow by diarrhea. By Saturday it had not let up, and he vomited for the first time then laid down and would not get back up. He was very unresponsive and had the high fever once again, so I took him in to the vet. It was night/day difference however when I got his leash and he was going to go for ride. The ER Vet is a whole story in itself, but they did do blood work which came back fairly normal outside of signs of an infection. They gave him a shot (Cerenia 10mg) and prescription (Metronidazole 250mg x21). As the day progressed, he seemed better but his sister (litter mate) started in with the severe diarrhea so I split the prescription between the two the next few days. Both cleared up. By the following Saturday, Spike I noticed looked very swollen in his stomach area, but was still acting fine. The next day, the fever returned and he was very lethargic and you could see it in his eyes something was off. After the experience at the ER Vet, I elected to take him in on Monday to a regular vet. That appointment, they put a syringe in the swollen abdomen and they quickly filled with blood. They recommended putting him down as they believe he has cancer and the tumor ruptured causing him to have internal bleeding. They said he could collapse at any moment, or would be suffering and in extreme pain in the next few days. Since then it has been a full week, he does not show any severe symptoms as explained to me or on this website outside of the pale gums and swollen abdomen. The only change I have seen is over the past couple of days his legs/feet have become extremely swollen. Outside of these physical features, he is still eating great, going outside regularly and function in that aspect as well, still perks up for treats, wanting to go for walks, or any other key words. He gets up and down the stairs regularly, on and off the bed, and even others view him as being himself. I'm at a total crossroad on knowing what is right or wrong with him. It's clear he is 12 years old and there is something severely wrong with him, but at the same time I am hopeful we still have time with him and possibly something can be done to remove the excess fluids somehow, as I can see that extra weight is taking a toll on him, but he doesn't appear to be suffering to make the decision to end his life. At this point, I honestly do not know if I can trust my local vets to provide the care for him if it is even an option. I would like try to seek a second opinion, but I am hoping for some down to earth straight up honest advise here on his prognosis and not spend another large sum of money on a vet that only wants to run test after test to tell me what they already know. If the tests are actually going to benefit his life, then I'm more than happy to invest in that treatment. If his time is as limited as the last vet determined without all the tests, then I'm prepared to make that decision too. Thank you so much for your help!

May 22, 2018

Spike's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

If your veterinarian suspects that Spike has a hemangiosarcoma in his abdomen, the prognosis for long term survival is very poor. I'm not sure that you need to make the decision right away if he is still eating and playing and seems happy, but you will probably need to in the near future, sadly. The only test that I think might be of great value would be an ultrasound, as they will be able to visualize his spleen and liver and confirm whether this is actually the case. I am sorry that is happening to him.

May 22, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Rigby

dog-breed-icon

Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

Our ten year-old golden retriever has isolated ALT elevation - 189. It was in the 160s a month ago. She has no symptoms suggestive of hepatocellular disease - good energy, good appetite, no weight loss, etc. Does ALT has particular specificity for hepatic diseases and if so, which ones? She has hypothyroidism and is euthyroid presently.

March 26, 2018

Rigby's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

An elevated ALT is indicative of active damage to the hepatocytes, and that is all that it can tell you as an isolated enzyme. If she is clinically normal otherwise, there may be a transient event or infection happening, and many dogs respond well to Denamarin. 189 is not a huge elevation, although it is mildly concerning that it has risen from last month. Without knowing more about Rigby, I can't really comment more than that, but it would be worth discussing whether she may benefit from short term medical therapy.

March 26, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Nora

dog-breed-icon

German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

3 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen
Pale Gums
Low Energy
Pale Pink Gums
Ultrasound Shows Masses Internally,
Shortness Of Breath On Excersion
Shrtness Of Breath On Excursion,
Shrtness Of Breath On Excursion,,
,Shortness Of Breath On Excursion,
Pale Gums,
Pale Pink Gums,
.Pale Pink Gums,
Swollen Abdomen,

Today my dog was given an ultrasound and we were told there are two masses,one that has encompassed,the spleen and the other in her liver according to doctor,fairly large. All of this developed abruptly after,she got skunked. It would appear the the skunk placed the organ in overdrive and awok the developing masses that are believe to be tumors. She has had a blood transfusion before the ultrasound and it helped. She is taking pregnazone and vitamin K twice a day. She can start another regiment of antibiotics. I understand dogs can live without a spleen. Can a liver transplant be done? I haven’t found any sources where this is addressed. Also is threre an ability to clone healthy organs that could be used.(my knowledge of cloning is only what I’ve heard in a he news,. This german Shepherd is very special to us as I am sure the dogs of the other owners that contact you are to them. But Nora is a gifted dog that makes the elderly smile and she loves to show everyone how alert she is to her surroundings which I think tends to make them see more as they watch her. It would be a shame to have to give up someone so special to a community and my wife and I.

Feb. 14, 2018

Nora's Owner


answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Liver transplants are not currently commonly done in dogs, sadly. Cloning of organs is not an option at this time, either. Depending on the size of the tumor on her liver, she may be able to have a resection of that piece, and if it is not a neoplastic process, that may help her. She may benefit from chemotherapy, depending on what type of masses these are. It would be best to talk with your veterinarian about options, outcome, and possible treatments.

Feb. 14, 2018

Thank you for your professional assessment and advice.

Feb. 14, 2018

Nora's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

DIVA

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Quiet
Quet

My 12 year old lab was recently diagnosed with internal bleeding from a ruptured tumor on her spleen. A diagnosis revealed her spleen as irregular so they assume that it is cancer but cannot be confirmed without a biopsy. The bleeding has stopped and she seems fine now. We tend to really watch her constantly now. She has good appetite. Seems a little quieter than usual but still very alert. She has always been very hyper and active. Could you tell us what symptoms would indicate progression of the disease if it is cancer and if not cancer what can we do to support her health

Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcoma Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $16,000

Average Cost

$10,000

How can we help your pet?