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Tumor breakdown
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Tumor breakdown

My cocker spaniel has a large multilobe hemangioma pericytoma on his back and right side.  He had surgery, but it came back the vet has pretty much given up, says he may "bleed out".  Now the center of the tumor has opened, the lobes collapsed , leaked blood ,and a large ugly scab has formed.  He also has dark red spots on some of the bald lobes which I painted with "New Skin" . Though he is not as active as he once was,he still enjoys life and doesn't seem to be in pain.  He eats, goes for walks, etc.    He takes Clindamycin twice a day and supplements for probable anemia.    Should I soak the scab with a solution and remove it? or should I leave it alone?  The tumor feels hotter than his normal skin .  
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441382_tn?1329196690
I would not mess with it.  I know you're tempted to try to remove the scab, but I would just leave it alone because as Ginger said, it could end up bleeding terribly if you bother it too much.

Hemangiopericytomas are not cancerous in the true sense of the word, they do not metastasize to other body systems.  When you remove one, however, and it grows back, it becomes more and more invasive with each successive recurrence.  Radiation therapy generally works to get rid of the tumor, however it must first be made smaller by removing as much as possible, otherwise the mass will be too large to respond to the radiation.

After radiation, even though the tumor usually grows back, it normally takes at least 8 to 12 months for it to grow back, and even longer for it to become disfiguring and to grow to the point where it becomes lethal.  For this reason, if a dog is elderly, it's usually a good "cure" to do the radiation after surgically removing as much of the mass as possible because the dog's natural lifespan will usually end before the mass has time to come back and become a problem again.

If you have already done everything you can for your dog in terms of mass removal and having the mass recur, I would leave things alone and just keep him comfortable until the mass infiltrates to the point where it is interfering with other bodily systems.  If it's on his back and right side, it
will probably begin to interfere with the right lung and possibly begin to impede the digestive tract somehow once it gets too large for the body to accommodate it.  At that point I would say that that would be your cue to have to make that decision that every pet owner dreads.  However, until then, just keep him comfy, love him, and make sure that nothing happens to cause the mass to bleed.  If you have to, put a T-shirt on him so that he doesn't scrape it on anything or figure out something else you can cover it up with to protect it.  My heart goes out to you, it's so sad to see them go through something like this.  

Ghilly
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675347_tn?1365464245
Wll I have no experience with this form of tumor, so cannot give you a 100% definite answer, but would advise (simply from a sixth sense about it) NOT to artificially remove the scab, however unsightly it might look, as it might start to bleed a lot.
The heat you feel could be infection or inflammation or both.
When you say the vet has more or less given up -what exactly do you mean? Do you mean he gave up on the surgery and didn't continue with the tumor removal? Or do you mean he has given up generally??
It sounds rather to me as if the vet is giving you little advice about what to do. This wound needs professional attention I would say, and someone to tell you exactly how to care for it. The vet -surely -should do that?
Is the Clindamycin to treat infection around the tumor site? Or for some other problem?
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The Clindamycin is for the infection in the wound.  The clinic owner told me to keep it clean with antibacterial soap.  The second vet whom I have seen more lately, said it would probably not hurt to use the "new skin" on the wound.  She is surprised the dog is still living, but I have read on the internet that some dogs live with these tumors for years.  I was soaking it with a gauze pad of soapy water then bandaging it with a non stick dressing, but after applying the  "new skin", I have just kept it loosely covered by a child size T shirt.  The owner vet first diagnosed a fatty tumor and it remained for a year, then he urged me to have it removed, and it was done, but he then said it might come back and it did.  In about 9 months it was back and much bigger and I was afraid another operation would kill my dog so I cancelled another surgery.   Then they both recommended not putting the dog through radiation because he was 10 and we live far from a facility and it costs a great deal. Except for the disfigurement and the wound, he seems fairly normal.  I can't see euthanizing him now.  If he is suffering okay, but he seems happy to be alive, though he does sleep a lot.  He is now 11, the tumor is right under his skin and bulges a lot.  I asked if they could debulk and close it in case it ruptures badly, but the vet said that the skin was not good enough to cover the area again.  A friend whose dog had another type of tumor said her vet advised her to wait until it stopped eating before euthanizing.  I have accepted that my dog is dying, but I want to do what is best for him.
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441382_tn?1329196690
I would not mess with it.  I know you're tempted to try to remove the scab, but I would just leave it alone because as Ginger said, it could end up bleeding terribly if you bother it too much.

Hemangiopericytomas are not cancerous in the true sense of the word, they do not metastasize to other body systems.  When you remove one, however, and it grows back, it becomes more and more invasive with each successive recurrence.  Radiation therapy generally works to get rid of the tumor, however it must first be made smaller by removing as much as possible, otherwise the mass will be too large to respond to the radiation.

After radiation, even though the tumor usually grows back, it normally takes at least 8 to 12 months for it to grow back, and even longer for it to become disfiguring and to grow to the point where it becomes lethal.  For this reason, if a dog is elderly, it's usually a good "cure" to do the radiation after surgically removing as much of the mass as possible because the dog's natural lifespan will usually end before the mass has time to come back and become a problem again.

If you have already done everything you can for your dog in terms of mass removal and having the mass recur, I would leave things alone and just keep him comfortable until the mass infiltrates to the point where it is interfering with other bodily systems.  If it's on his back and right side, it
will probably begin to interfere with the right lung and possibly begin to impede the digestive tract somehow once it gets too large for the body to accommodate it.  At that point I would say that that would be your cue to have to make that decision that every pet owner dreads.  However, until then, just keep him comfy, love him, and make sure that nothing happens to cause the mass to bleed.  If you have to, put a T-shirt on him so that he doesn't scrape it on anything or figure out something else you can cover it up with to protect it.  My heart goes out to you, it's so sad to see them go through something like this.  

Ghilly
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675347_tn?1365464245
I don't pretend to know very much about this, I have only just been reading up on it...but have you heard of "NEOPLASENE" treatment?
Neoplasene is a drug derived from Blood Root (herb) which can be either used as a Salve (for tumors of the skin) or tablets.
This site would give you much more information:

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2978296/Discussion-of-and-Clinical-Guide-for-The-treatment-of-neoplasm

This treatment is not always supported by some veterinary surgeons, and if treatment is started it is important they be done under full veterinary supervision, as when the tumor starts to be "eaten away"  open wounds occur that need supportive care.

It might be interesting for you to research this however.
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441382_tn?1329196690
Neoplasene is scary stuff, Ginger.  I don't know how much you've read about it, but it MUST be administered (from what I know of it) in a vet's office and the animal kept under VERY close watch while the Neoplasene is on his body, because it eats away tissue and it can't differentiate between cancerous tissue and healthy tissue.  Basically, whatever tissue it comes into contact with, it eats away, in some cases right down to the bone.

Not too many pet owners have the intestinal fortitude to be able to go through with the treatments at home, not to mention the dangers of getting the stuff on parts of the body where it doesn't belong.  I've seen dogs with holes in them because the stuff touched someplace where it wasn't supposed to and it's bad enough when it's applied correctly, but when accidents happen with that stuff it's gawdawful!

By far and away, the safest way to use it is to have the pet remain with the vet until the treatments are over, because there are so many things that have to be taken into consideration, not the least of which is that they have to wear special cones that cannot, under any circumstances, come loose because they cannot, CANNOT be allowed to lick the stuff.  I don't mind telling you that I am scared poop-less of that stuff!  LOL

Ghilly
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675347_tn?1365464245
I know. It does sound scary. Definitely not something to try at home!
It is a treatment which has to be done under full supervision or hospitalization even.  I could imagine how terrible it might be if not applied correctly, and even how bad it could get if it WAS.
And it sounded to me as if it would not be suitable for every patient.
Many vets from what I could understand, are not in favour of it.
I just wondered if -in extremis - this treatment could be discussed with the vet, and a possible referral to a veterinary surgeon who knows how to use this stuff.
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441382_tn?1329196690
I've seen two dogs in my career who were given home treatments of Neoplasene and they both looked as though they had survived a nuclear holocaust!  I've never seen anything so awful in my life!   We didn't get the dogs at our hospital until they had been "attacked" by the stuff, so I can't say that I have any knowledge of how competent their owners were when it came to applying it, but man alive, it was just enough to make me NEVER want to have anything to do with this on a personal level, and before I would let my dog be treated with it, I think I would do an exhaustive search into the background of the hospital administering it to see what their own experience with it was.

Ghilly
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675347_tn?1365464245
Ghilly, that is truly horrific!
How anyone could be "let loose" to home-treat their dog with this, I don't know. How could this substance be readily available for just anyone to get hold of? And/or....any vet or practitioner allowing home treatment?
It makes me shudder.
Anyway -on consideration, better to keep away from Neoplasene unless, like you said, the doctor administering the treatment knew precisely what they were doing, and had plenty of experience
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you all for your information.  Chipper still has an open wound between two scabs which I cover with a T shirt that is changed every day.  He keeps acting fairly normal and sleeping a lot, so I guess that he is not dying right now.  It helped me to learn that by the time radiation was mentioned the tumor was too big to be successfully treated.  
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441382_tn?1329196690
I completely agree with your decision not to euthanize right now but to just let him go along as he is for a while.   Even though they are small dogs, Cocker Spaniels are not terribly long-lived and due to a LOT of overbreeding due to their great popularity during the 50s, 60s and 70s they are a breed that suffers from MANY genetically-transmitted problems, and these problems take their toll.  Usually by the time a Cocker reaches the age of about 8 or 9 they are already dealing with a few of these problems, and if they get past the age of 10 before something dire happens you can count yourself among one of only a few.  Many of them suffer from epilepsy, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye), various types of cancer, autoimmune problems that lead to horrible skin conditions, ear infections, the list just goes on and on.  It is the rare Cocker Spaniel who lives past about 12 without MAJOR problems.

I know that doesn't make the situation any better for you, my heart still goes out to you that you are faced with this, but the truth is the fact that he's a Cocker just is not in his favor.  As long as he seems to have some good quality of life, he enjoys his meals and the occasional walk around the yard, let him be.  You will know when it is time, believe me, and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt.  

Ghilly
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