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hemangiosarcoma of the spleen
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hemangiosarcoma of the spleen

We euthanized our 7 year old GSD this week who collapsed a few days prior.  He was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen and had it removed in emergency surgery in August 2007.  I took him through chemo and he survived 6 months following the surgery.  On his last day, he was rebounding following a traumatic night a few days earlier vomiting and collapsing.  He couldn't get up the next day but was more responsive the following.  Although fatigued, he could walk the day after that and even began playing with his toys.  So he was recovering.  But he still had a nasty cough, no appetite outside a handful of food each day, and fatigue/anemia.  

I read the natural end was not painful-a collapse, shock and death.  But what I saw Saturday night was terrifying for us both.  He was so sick and scared so I made the decision to "help". I now I have huge regrets and need some answers or any information to deal with my devastation.  

How long does a dog having hemangiosarcoma typically have from the initial collapse to the final?  I understand the inevitable outcome of the diagnosis but loved him more than anything.  I'm tortured by my decision.  I did it for him but can't seem to find an answer.  Is there pain and suffering in a natural death in this case? What is typical?  Are there other regrets either way?  I know these are questions that should have been asked earlier but the entire experience has missed my expectations every step of the way.

I thought I had more time.  Thank you for any help you can offer.  
Tags: euthanization,, hemangiosarcoma
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165308_tn?1323190145
Even though we battle with decisions, I feel that final answer that we make is done very quickly..almost like a blur.  That is the way that I feel about putting my dog down in December.  On this site I have read regrets about putting dogs down (which I feel it is part of the grieving process)....as well as those whose dogs died naturally while suffering from an illness, regret that they didn't put their dog down sooner, because they didn't want any unnecessary suffering.  Either way it goes...we all wonder but we all did the RIGHT THING.  Even though no one wants to make that decision, we do what we need to do in our pet's best interest.  Please do not go down that road of guilt.  You know what was best for your dog.  You know the quality of life.  Just the fact that you are questioning yourself shows how much you love your dog and would only do what needed to be done.  I wish you peace and hope one day soon you will be able to smile at the happy memories that you have shared.
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I'm so sorry to hear about your struggle dealing with this decision. 18 years ago I had to put my beautiful dog, Bruno, to sleep. It was the hardest decision I ever made. After I made the decision I doubted my decision greatly, but now I realize I actually waited too long. My father was ill for 10 years and I wished I could make the decision to put him out of his misery, but when the time came for me to actually decide his fate I almost couldn't do it. So many people say it is so much better for our furry friends because we can put them out of their misery, but that decision is heartbreaking. You just pray God will make the choice for you. I understand your feelings and they are completely normal. I really think for me it was part of the grieving process. Be around people who understand how much your dog was a part of you. To me by Sam is my life and just as important as my husband and other family members.

I am now beginning the process with my dog Sam. I noticed the growth in his mouth 6 weeks ago today. It was found in his mouth and I prayed it was skin hemangiosarcoma, but it wasn't. They don't feel they removed all the mass. We were suppose to start chemo yesterday, but due to his lack of appetite, vomiting and occasional diarrhea he isn't strong enough. I am taking it day by day. It's hard, but I am SO thrilled that I adopted this stray beautiful puppy and saved his life. I really try to concentrate when times are so tough how much happiness he is giving me and how great of a life he had. I also let the tears flow cause it is also a natural way of healing.

I will keep you in my prayers.

Jane
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82861_tn?1333457511
Please try to let the guilt and regret go.  Everything you wrote tells me you made the perfect decision.  There's just no telling how much time any person or animal has where cancer is concerned.  All it takes is for it to invade one "wrong" place, and that's the end.  There is no expiration date with cancer.  

Try to look at your decision this way:  you did him a huge favor.  I recently had to euthanize our old dog who was in kidney failure and know how terrible that decision can be.  You did RIGHT.  I don't care if you have to tell yourself that a hundred or a thousand times a day, but do it until you finally believe it because it's the truth.  He's gone to his final reward and will never have to be sick and in pain ever again.  The one drawback to loving animals is that they just don't live long enough to suit us.  It hurts so badly to lose them, but we're special folks because we pick ourselves up and do it all over again with yet another lucky pup, or kitten, or bird - it doesn't matter as long as we don't lose our capacity to love.
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165308_tn?1323190145
Jaybay always has the right words...I read her posts again and again because they help me to get peace.  Thank you, Jaybay.
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172023_tn?1334675884
I had to watch one of our beloved Dobes die a long, slow, painful "natural" death when my husband couldn't bear the thought of euthanasia.  That poor dogs final 2 weeks will be forever etched in my mind with shame that I didn't intervene over my husbands wishes.

He literally drowned slowly and painfully in his own fluids in front of our eyes.  I still cry to this day, remembering his suffering and pain.

You made the absolute right decision.  Our dogs depend on us to care for them, and that includes making the ultimate decision for a peaceful death, when death is inevietable and they are suffering.  

You are in my prayers.  
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82861_tn?1333457511
Aw Suzi, you're about to make me cry.  I'm glad that anything I've written helps you out, but you need to give yourself credit for moving forward.   When it comes right down to brass tacks, moving on through our grief is up to us as individuals.  I think you're coming along just fine.  :-)

peekawho, I know exactly what you mean about these things being a learning experience.  The first time is always the worst.  We all second-guess our decisions.  My husband couldn't deal with both euthanasia incidents in our married lives, so it was up to me to make sure our dogs didn't suffer.  Not a fun place to be in, but somebody has to step up to the plate.  Hubby is beginning to "get it" and I don't relish having to make future decisions with our current dogs.  It's just part of life unfortunately.
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Avatar_n_tn
We had to let our baby Nina (GSD) go on Monday 3rd March, 3rd and best GSD i've raised - beautiful character!!

Reading your words here have helped us hugely at this early stage of our grieving - she was 11 1/2 and had tumor on spleen which was found through scan after she collapsed on Sunday night.

We had both always agreed that we would never make her suffer for us and that if we were put in this terrible position we would do the right thing as her guardians - we believe we did and in some moments of doubt read your comments for others and regained some strength.

Thanks a bunch and keep up the good work for others

Mark n Vilna (x Nina x)
xx
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Avatar_n_tn
i had to have my cocker spaniel put to sleep on friday 3rd october, two days ago.
i got up in the morning and he was lying on his side and could not get up and he was breathing very fast.
when i got him to the vets they put him on a drip gave him painkillers and they xray him.He had a white mass on his spleen and liver.
the vet rang me and said leave him there for the night and he will ultrasound him but i got a phone call 30min later and the vet said it looks bad and the only thing he can do next is cut him open.I refused to have this done, my darling Joey was 13 years old and i was with him when he was put to sleep and i will never forget that even though he could not move when i was talking to him he was wagging his tail.
even though i am in tears writing this im hoping in the logn run it will help.
Thankyou to everyone for your stories as i am feeling very guilty, could i have done more but i couldnt stand the thought of him being cut open.
Rayner
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462827_tn?1333172552
Rayner...Please don't feel quilty...You did the right thing. I would have said NO to the cutting him open at 13, also.  I'm sure sorry about your loss, though. I hope time will heal your pain...Again, don't beat yourself up and don't cry. (I know it's hard!)  Joey knows you were trying to help him and he loves you for it!!!        Karla  
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We euthanized our 11 yr. old Pom. on 10/09/08 and I am devestated.  He has been treated for Addisons Disease and heart problems for 6-7 yrs. and I always thought my wonderful vet could pull out one more miracle for Cody.  Wed. evening he collapsed and we took him to the Emerg. Animal Hosp.  He was severely anemic, had fluid in his abdominal cavity and having very rapid heart rate.  The ultrasound the next morning revealed a tumor on his spleen bleeding into his abdomen.  It was most likely a Hemangiosarcoma of the spleen - he could not have survived surgery and the cancer would have been fatal.  I would never let Cody suffer for one minute knowing that it was never going to get better.  I held him and told him  how much I loved him and as Cody died, a part of me died.  I keep thinking, if I could have just had one more hour or one more day but it all happened so quickly.  I am heartbroken and can do nothing but cry.  Does anyone have any suggestions to ease the pain and memory of every second of the euthenasia.  I can't get it out of my mind.  Cody's (AKA "Code-Man") mom
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My dear sweet Hilde girl died today Oct 13, 2008 of hemangiosarcoma.  I loved her so much.  I thought she had a blockage or something that could be fixed.  Hilde was very thirsty, lethargic, and had to urinate often.  She had a small bit of diarrhea and not eating much except for a few treats. I felt some large lumps in her belly.  The vet opened her up and said her spleen & liver were in bad shape and that she wasn't going to wake her up.   Hilde was full of cancer and only 5 years old.  My sweet pit/lab mix is gone.  I am just devastated.  I love you Hilde.  You went away too soon.  I will love you forever.  Remember Mama loves you!
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I just had a similar experience as CMCoct and got to this blog needing the same answers - only too late.  My baby Bear had a tumor on her spleen, which surgery removed in July.  Biopsies revealed it was hemangiosarcoma, but other biopsies of her liver and lymph nodes suggested it had not spread.  We went through chemo which she tolerated great.  She was actually like a puppy again.  Then right before Thanksgiving she had the same symptoms that led to the spleen tumor diagnosis, and sure enough, she had a tumor in her liver.  IT was much sooner that I had hoped but not entirely unanticpated.  I thought, ok we'll just play it day be day we could have another month or 2 together.  Then only a week later she had what for us had been her worst 'episode' that I at least had seen to-date.  She collapsed and couldn't walk and it scared her and me so badly I decided I should let her go that next weekend.  
She was fine the next day and had a great week - playing running and eating well.  I told myself it was best to let her go when she was happy.  When I got to the vet yesterday, I was having second thoughts given her great week.  I needed the vet to say you are doing the right thing,  But she said, well, if she is still eating well and she looks good now you could wait and I could give you a shot to give her during the episodes, but they are not necessarily painful she just is weak.  But it had taken all the strength I had to get her there and I did not know if I was capable of doing that again.  I kept telling myself it was best to let her go when she was still happy. So I went ahead and she is gone.
Now I am devasted that I did the wrong thing.  It sounds like now that she wasn't really even in pain during those episodes - I had just assumed it but I was wrong.  Like CMCoct, I have no idea why I didn't ask my vet that question beforehand.  I could have had her who knows how much longer, and she would have been happy and it would not have been me just being selfish.  Now I am guilty and heartbroken. I miss her so much and I don't have the comfort of knowing I did the right thing.
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675347_tn?1365464245
You know what happens when we make that decision to have our dog euthanized? We are operating from intuition. We know what to do for the best, how to end things right.
I know what it feels like to decide to have this done, especially when the dog is more like a friend or family member. It has happened to me, and I know it will probably happen again. But the actual decision comes quickly....because we suddenly know what to do.
This was a serious nasty illness, with a poor prognosis. Better he's out of it now. I do believe they communicate intuitively with us, on a deep level at this time, showing us what they need. What they want us to do for them.
I am sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
You can never tell. Your decission was right. I have been through a simular situation. Have a 5yr old G.Ret`vr, had hemangiosarcoma of the spleen.Had the surgery removed to remove the Spleen (12 .05)while under anesthesea(sp)they biopsed the;Lungs, Liver, Lymph nodes,Stomach, Intestines,and did a bone marrow biopsy as well. The Spleen was aparently covered w/ nodes and (cancer) tumors.
The surgeons stated the other organs "looked ok" but the truth was in the biopsys.The Liver and a L. node came back w/ Cancerous cells.We had a treatment of chemo as soon as the recovery from surgery was complete.
He seem to be doing ok untill aprox around the 20th he had a stiff neck and was starting to not want to do much.To make the point the Liver cancer was VERY aggressive and he had a "collapsing" episode (12.24) after vomiting. This was the begining of the end. within 3/4 of a hour he was pretty much comatose. I sat w/ him and saw the gums turn from light pink, to white than the "yellow" came quickly. At that point about 1hr 15mns into this he had another vomiting episode along w/ a bowl movement while still being down. at this point I called the Vets to arrange the euthanasia and even he was somewhat "out" of it he had alot of discomfort. I first tried to have a vet come to the house but no success. It took a while to arrange for a ride and we had to carry the dog on a sheet of plywood. When placed in the truck his whole body "spased" and I thought he died, but was still alive. The ride to the vet was horrible to see this dog who was a little time ago healthy was now in alot of distress. As soon as we arrived at the clinic he basicly passed. I was holding him and felt sick to see what I was seeing. The vet came right out and stated the heart was still "very slow and faint" beating. While she tried to find a good vein the heart stopped. I took the rout you didn`t and both our outcomes are the same. Aparently this type of cancer in very aggressive and spreads fast. I did get a small amount of time and other than the 24th and a couple incidents they were what I can say were Good quality of life days. I thought we could beat the odds and we truly did everything possible. I even had a second opinion from a vet in a differant area state it would be worth the shot due to the age. I can`t say for sure your dog would have the same outcome but the odds are NOT in our favor. The day he couldn`t get up and I had top see what he went through while thev liver and other organs failed wasn`t pretty.
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441382_tn?1329196690
I know this was an old post that got resurrected, but to anyone who second guesses themselves when it comes to making that painful decision that we all dread regarding a beloved pet, our pets look to us to keep them safe, healthy, and free from pain and harm.  A terminally ill pet, does not realize that we are treating its disease with the hope of giving it some more time with us, it can't rationalize that it may feel better tomorrow after a night of sleep, all it knows is how it feels at that moment.  It cannot conceptualize that if we do a, b, and c, it might have another 6 months with us, all it knows is that it is scared, or hurting, or feeling sick, at that moment.  For that reason, if our pet is in that much distress, and it is known that the animal has a terminal disease, please do not wrestle with yourselves or torture yourselves over having made that awful decision.  By making that decision, you have performed the ultimate act of love for your pet, you have released them from the sickness, the pain, and the fear of being ill.  You have lived up to your end of the bargain you made with the pet when you took it in, to never let it suffer and to love it with all your heart.  Try to see it as having loved your pet enough to make sure that it didn't suffer even one more day instead of thinking "why did I do that now when he might have had another month with me?".  Another month of what?  More pain, more wondering why he was feeling that way.  

Animals do not "do" illness well.  In the animal world, showing that you are ill makes you prey to another animal.  Humans can cuddle up on the couch with a blanket over them and, even in the face of serious illness, they know WHY they feel the way they do.  Illness is frightening for animals because it is instinctive for them to not want to show it, because even though they are house pets, their genetic makeup tells them that if they are sick, they are sitting ducks, and that is a scary thing for them.  So if it is a terminal illness, and it has progressed enough for your pet to be showing outward signs of being ill, please don't torture yourselves, because you are showing how much you love and understand them to release them from that pain and that fear.  Comfort yourself with the memories of the good years you had together, and know that you performed the ultimate act of the love a pet owner has for his pet, releasing him from the pain.  

God Bless anyone who is forced to make this decision.  It's the hardest thing in the world to do. But never second guess yourself.   Never torture yourself for having loved your pet, and for having kept up your end of the bargain.

Ghilly
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82861_tn?1333457511
I agree 100% with Ghilly.  When you have a pet with a terminal illness, particularly cancer, there is hardly a "wrong" decision.  Sometimes fighting back with chemo and radiation are a worse way to go than letting the illness take its course.  All we can do is evaluate our loved ones' quality of life as best we can and take it from there.

Some dogs make the decision for us.  They make it very clear they are through with trying to eat, drink, play or even cuddle up with us.  Others, like my Chica one year ago, refuse to give up one minute of life no matter how miserable they feel.  That's how I can say there is no true "wrong" decision.  We all know our dogs better than anyone else.  True love and respect can mean saying goodbye before we ourselves are ready.
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Avatar_m_tn
This site has some good info:

http://doghemangiosarcoma.blogspot.com/
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Avatar_m_tn
Devastating barely describes my day.  
Errands on Friday, worked Sat/Sun, commitments on Monday.  Though everyone who was around my Sadie, a 10yr old Belgian Malinois, over the weekend didn't notice a difference in her behavior, I noticed a drastic difference.  She didn't show much appetite on Monday night; she's a picky eater anyway I thought. But she seemed a bit lethargic too and her breathing seemed rapid.  Tuesday morning, she wasn't herself ~  appetite and energy.  Hand fed her some chicken, but she just kind of layed around and then the breathing still seemed fast.  What got me to call the vet for a visit on Wednesday morning was the large mass above her right shoulder.  "Please don't let it be cancer" I thought.  Vet said with the location, it was probably a fatty tumor and I should think about removing it to help with range of motion and also to give Sadie aspirin for a week, that she's probably just sore.  Other treatments were postponed for the day, feeling slightly relieved that she's behaving this way because of a soreness.

Come Thursday, with only continued deterioration in her condition including her respirations seeming more labored, the vet couldn't get her in for full blood work until Tuesday.  730am yesterday morning I was frantic to find some other vet to get her in somewhere that was going to be able to run the gammet on my girl and figure out what was wrong with her.  At this point she was only getting up to pee 3 times a day with what appeared to be increased thirst and the respirations had turned noisy and her nose had turned from dry to runny, the discharge light pink.

Thank God!  An appointment at 10am.  The vet was amazing!  A very thorough exam.  We did blood work, checked out the shoulder mass, check the other lymph nodes and felt her and listed to her up and down and an abdominal xray.  My poor Sadie just laid there, too weak to do much else.  I was thinking infection or something "treatable" even after the vet felt there was fluid collecting in her abdomen. I was so unprepared for the news the vet returned with ~ hemangiosarcoma of the spleen with no long term prognosis.

I took Sadie home last night for the entire family and other pets to say their last goodbyes, with plans to return for euthanasia at noon today. I slept with her on the porch where she liked to lay, and lately with almost no strength to do anything else.  Listening to her breath through the night was heartbreaking.  I just remember hearing her labor to breath, then the breathing would slow and quiet and I just prayed it would all end right then so it wouldn't have to come a me deciding to put her to end the next day.  She made it through the night and was found in the same immobile position in our wood shed, one of her favorite places to lay.  She could watch everything going on out front.  She was the protector of the property.  So this lameness was beyond "not her" and must have been very difficult position for her to feel in.

All morning I was second guessing my choice to go thru with things.  I called doctors that knew, friends with internet access (I couldn't even research myself, our server was down), and several other vets, including the location they suggested if we wanted a possibility of a few months life extension thru spleen surgery.  With all the info pointing in the same direction, I had to keep reviewing in my head all of the results at the vet and how 99.9% conclusive they were that this is what she had.  I so had to release that minute shadow of a doubt that it was something else.We were so blessed to arrange appointments with the vet that we did.  They agreed to come to our house to give Sadie the medications. Sadie was so weak from anemia, nose crusted with blood-tinged discharge, even her crystal clear, sparkling eyes of wisdom looked like they were bleeding inside.  The color blurring around her pupils.

I felt helpless to see her laying there.  One vet said the bloody nasal discharge was from possible matastisis, the other mentioned pulmonary effusions.  Either way, they are both awful and systemtic effects. 1130, our entire family was there holding her, sobbing.  She was so weak, it took a small fraction of the medicine before she collapsed into my arms, go limp and heavy and quickly fade off to sleep.  We kept her at home for short while longer, and brought her ourselves back to the clinic to say even more "goodbyes".  

I can't believe she's gone.  It all happened so fast!  One day she was my complete companion, herder of the other pets, protector of the property ~ to watch that all slip away so quickly ~ it's all surreal!  I don't know if this comment will help anyone.  I think it may have helped me a small bit.  Tears, tears and more tears.  I miss her so much already even though it seems like I've been on a roller coaster of morning over the past 5 days.  

I am so grateful to have had her as a pet, she was the most amazing animal!  I am grateful to have had last night with her and be with her in her last moments. I still have those thoughts: she was such a strong dog, maybe she would proved them wrong with a long post surgical recovery, maybe she was bleeding from something else, if only I had done bloodwork on Wednesday, did I miss seeing something?  All the "what ifs".  I hope I did the right thing by her.  I will miss those eyes, her cuddly neck and seeing her everyday.  I'm going to miss awful sleeping with her tonight.  I've slept on the floor with her a few times over the past week.  I love you Sadie!
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I am so sorry to hear about Sadie.  My beloved Kiodee, German Shepard (10) died on Sunday morning around 2:30 am. She had a mass on the side of her stomach, and we had it checked out immediately.  The vet did a biopsy, and the results came back negative for cancer.  We were so excited and that was 10 months ago.  She was a fighter, having many medical conditions since she was born.  She had a heart murmor, had displacia in the elbow of her front right leg, and then formed arthritis.  But every day she would smile at me, and was always my protector.  On the day of my birthday party, the family wanted to check out new property that my wife and I had purchased.  I picked her up and put her in the truck and she was excited.  We get there and she was running around having a great time.  When it was time to leave, she went to jump in and got stuck half way up, which usually happened.  When we got home, she would not get out of it.  I picked her up and put on the ground gently asking her "what is wrong baby"  My dad checked her out and she was in no pain, but was extremely weak.  So, my parents finished their visit, and I brought her in the house.  She puked within an hour, and I called the vet.  He said that from the sounds of it, she hurt her back or tore a muscle.  I checked her eyes and her gums and everything was fine, so I thought.  She puked again and wanted outside because she was embarrassed.  I let her out and then followed her, she was laying in the grass. I told her to get up and to go to the kennel so that nothing harms her.  She got up, and jogged easily to the kennel, laid down and just sighed.  I touched her back and felt her stomach and I noticed that her stomach was mushy not hard rock.  Odd i thought so I checked her gums again and eyes, and all was well.  So I felt the vets prognosis was correct plus she never vomited any blood.  I told her that daddy loves her and I will be back a first break of morning to take her in to see what we need to do.  I stroked her head, kissed her and came in at 2:30 am. I woke up at 6:30 am and bolted outside to see how my baby was.  She died in her sleep.  I was devestated, and my wife was to.  I called the vet and he came down immediatley.  He felt her and checked her out and he said she was dead for almost four hours.  My baby waited for me to leave, and finally went home.  Riddled with "what happened" i orded an autopsy and got the results today.  A malignant tumour had burst in her spleen and she bled internally she was loaded with them, called hemangiosarcoma.  Knowing this now has given me great peace.  I miss her so much and feel that if I would have had her at the vet's I would have done anything to save my sweetheart, but the prognosis would have been the same.  If she would have been miraculously saved, she would have had to have the spleen removed and she might have lived another month or so, but with what quality of life.  I love her so much that I am at peace with my saviours decision to take her.  The cancer did not spread yet to her brain, heart, kidney or liver, and it would have and she would have been in pain.  I know I will see her again when I cross over the rainbow bridge to get her. I love you Kiodee, and daddy will be with you again someday.
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675347_tn?1365464245
I am so very very sorry. I know exactly how hard this is, how it hurts. My dog had hemangiosarcoma of the Spleen, but also tumors on her liver, and three subcutaneously.
The first thing I knew about this was an egg shaped smooth lump came up on her ribs literally overnight. It wasn't there Saturday....it appeared Sunday morning. I was so sure it couldn't be cancer, and thought maybe she had a bruised rib.
The vet did a needle-biopsy, and suspected Hemangiosarcoma. Yet she still seemed fine! Very well in herself with no lethargy or vomiting. She was no youngster but was incredibly fit and active.
Then suddenly she had an internal bleed. She almost died, then pulled out of it and was recovering very well. The vet did an ultrasound and found the Spleen and liver tumors. He said if she had "slow bleeds" occasionally, she could have months, and have quite good quality of life in between. He had seen that happen. However that was not to be. One week after her first bleed, she had a second, and it was very bad. I had to have her put to sleep.
Until the last 2 weeks of her life she was an active healthy dog, I would never have guessed she had terminal cancer. That's the thing with Hemangiosarcoma . They seem OK until it suddenly overwhelms them. No one knows it's there.

Please accept my condolences in your grief. Know that the love never dies. Know that your girl has gone to Spirit and is just fine where she is. I have had 4 events since my dog died that have shown me her eternal life. They were very powerful and lovely experiences, never to be forgotten.
Hold onto the love you had for your girl, through your tears.
Take care,
Love and hugs from me.
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My dog is a 9 yr old Gt Dane w/hemangiosarcoma. He was fine until last night. He suddenly cannot walk, nor can he stand. His tumors are really prominenant, subcutaneous. I cannot stand the pain of watching him leave his body, yet his vet says he isnot in pain. I am washing his face with a cool cloth, holding his head. My husband and I are taking turns staying wiht him so he is never alone. How do you handle this? The pain is unbearable. I do not want to lose him, but I do not want to prolong this agony. WHat to do? What to do?  
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Avatar_m_tn
Lovers of life, compassionate, caring and kindhearted folk,

I wish you resolve as your remember your beloved and the wonderful memories shared.  You made your decisions from a place deep devotion, so it was the right decision.

The Meaning
As bright as the sun, you say
As swift as the Autumn winds

But, no matter how powerful, I say
How empty without LOVE

With deepest sympathy and warm regards,
Lauren
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Avatar_m_tn
Lovers of life, compassionate, caring and kindhearted folk,

I wish you resolve as your remember your beloved and the wonderful memories shared.  You made your decisions from a place deep devotion, so it was the right decision.

The Meaning
As bright as the sun, you say
As swift as the Autumn winds

But, no matter how powerful, I say
How empty without LOVE

With deepest sympathy and warm regards,
Lauren
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So here we struggle with this dilemma as well. Rushed our Swiss Mountain dog, Gridley, to the vet tonight. He had been on Prednisone which, initially, perked him up as good as new, Today we came home to find him unable to stand and listless. Gastric ulcer vs. hemangiosarcoma of the spleen. Cannot stand to see him suffer. Spending a few nights at the vet's office to see what they can do. He has lived an amazing 10 1/2 years (life span is 6-10 years). Would hate to see him leave us, butwant him to be free of the pain and suffering.
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Dear Katkrauss,
My heart is with you, our beloved Golden passed away on the 27 of Jan. from the same cause, we didn't even know about the disease until my girl Sam was suddenly taken sick, she eas 12 and had been in good health until then. Our lives are diminished by their loss but you did the right thing.
Debi
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To answer the original question posted back in 2008 for anyone's future benefit, survival time after initial collapse is highly variable.  Assuming the hemangiosarcoma has only metastasized microscopically and has resulted in a tumor bleed from the spleen or liver, survival time can be several days or weeks.

If you thicken the blood using Yannan Baiyao (YB) capsules (Amazon.com), you might be able to successfully treat multiple bleeding episodes for several weeks or months.  It essentially the opposite of what aspirin does and allows for faster coagulation. One account on the internet demonstrated three months survival time after initial collapse using YB.  If the bleed is too great, then the dog may go into anemic shock and not recover regardless of any treatment, short of surgery.

My 9-year old Boxer Rocky had his spleen removed due to a hemangiosarcoma tumor.  Then six treatments of single agent chemo followed every 3-weeks.  He did great!  He also has been on I'm Yunity mushroom polysaccharde peptides, which supposedly results in a longer survival rate than chemo (additional University studies are required to confirm this finding, as the researchers neglected to use a placebo or control group.)

Four months from diagnosis, Rocky suddenly become lethargic again, he could barely stand straight and his gums were very light pink (pale.)  We took him back to the Oncologist and she found a bleeding tumor on his liver.  We decided to have a second surgery immediately (actually today), and he has come out of it well.  Hopefully he will survive the recovery period over the next 24-hours.  The Surgeon told me that they removed 1/2 liter of pooled blood from the abdomen prior to his surgery.  He had to be given blood transfusions to increase his hemoglobin count.  No visual metastasis noted once again (but it it certainly there microscopically.)

That said, our Boxer may live only another 2-3 months before the cancer forms new bleeding tumors.  Perhaps with the mushroom polysaccharde peptide capsules, he may live longer.  He will also be treated with YB to control the bleeding near the end to extend his life further.

It has cost us a fortune to "buy" additional time for my beloved dog when dealing with this horrible caner.  It makes no financial sense whatsoever, however, our Boxer is considered a family member and we will do what we can within our budgetary means to extend his life.

You should not feel bad in deciding not to treat your beloved dog for this type of cancer.  In the end, a few months of additional life will not mean much down the road.  Albeit, it is nice to have some extra time to cope emotionally and reinforce that loving bond with your dog one last time.

I hope this post allows some of you to research the treatments available if you decide to prolong your dog's life, as well as answer the original posted question.
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With respect to my last posting a few hours ago, I was notified at 2 AM that Rocky did not make it through the recovery period.  They took him outside for a slow walk 12-hours after surgery and he collapsed due to heart/lung arrest.  I originally specified Code 2 on the paperwork prior to surgery, and after 15-minutes of CPR and stimulant heart meds, he was still non-responsive.  I asked them to stop.

His age, weakening of the heart due to chemo treatments and the effects of anesthesia all played into it.  We are completely devastated, lots of tears and coffee in the middle of the night.

My heart goes out to all owners that have to go through this.  Not only is this a dreadful cancer, secondary complications due to it can be even worse.

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Detrick...I am so sorry for your loss.....You did a wonderful job for your Rocky and should be commended for it...Thank you for giving him such a loving home all these years......RIP Rocky....You were/are very much loved...One of the Lucky ones!!!!

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.......Karla
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Oh thank you so very much, Karla.  Very kind, heartfelt words.

It has been very difficult to cope with the loss.  This is what happens when you have no kids and your pets become your life.

We have 9-years of great memories and hundreds of photos.  Rocky will be remembered.

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My GSD was diagnosed with inoperable hemangiosarcoma yesterday.  I cannot begin to describe the pain I feel at the moment - my heart is completely broken.  He is on pain killers at the moment but the vet has not given us much hope.  I am now faced with the most agonising decision of my life.  He is my best friend, my life.  Tears are streaming down my eyes as I look him in the eye and try to rationalise what needs to be done and when?  The pain is unbearable
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Here I am 6-months after the passing of my dog from hemangiosarcoma, visiting this site again.  It is difficult to forget the past and each month is a small stepping stone towards recovery.

If you want to discuss your case involving your beloved GSD, we are here to help you cope.  I am sorry nobody responded to your post until now.
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My furry baby was diagnosed on Thursday evening with this cancer. He collapsed and we rushed him to the animal hospital. My vet didn't think he would survive the night and said I could take him home if that's what I wanted to do as it would not make a difference if he was there or at home. The next day, Friday, he rallied a bit and started eating and drinking. He was still very weak though. Today he is off food again and not drinking very much. He is sleeping quietly and doesn't appear to be in pain. I really don't know what to do. Should I give him a bit more time so that maybe he can recover from this episode. There is no treatment or cure and I know that even if he rallies this time, there will be another episode. He doesn't want to leave us. He is fighting to stay. My heart is broke. I am devastated beyond words. He is an 11 and a half Labrador Mix and he is everything to me. I want to give him a chance but I don't want him to suffer either.
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Hello, we put our toy poodle down who had this disease. He never actually cried when he was sick, but he couldn't have felt good, and I wonder if he was in pain. He was totally lethargic, would not eat, had watery diahreah and his eyes became sort of glazed over. After we put him down, his bowels released and a ton of blood came out of his rectum. I don't know if this is normal for this desease or not, but it was truly horrible. Because of this, I gave him a bath afterward in our kitchen sink, and dried him so that he looked beautiful on top of a blanket we put in a little coffin we had purchased from a pet cemetary. I wrote how we felt about him, and recited the words out loud in a little ceremony with my husband before putting him in a hole in our back yard. I cried my eyes out, but the ritual may have helped a tiny bit. A second vet we went to at the end gave us prednisone pills which actually gave Sunny a little rally for a week or so before we put him down. His eyes cleared and he definitely seemed happier. This is something  you might ask your vet about. Looking back on it, I don't think our vet was as good as he might have been in treating the diahreah or suggesting the prednisone. I also think it was rough on Sunny simply going to the vet and being poked, prodded, stabbed for blood tests and forced to stand or lay this way or that. All I can think about now, is how bad a body must feel going through any of that with internal bleeding, even without chemo or other heroic measures. So for me, I don't think I would do anything extreme unless it promised a complete cure or a long period of regression.  Give the prednisone pills a shot for a last rally, they really helped Sunny, and as much love as you can these last days.  Whatever decisions you make will be the right ones as long as they are made with love. Wishing you and Lockie peace.
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I miss you Hilde and will never forget you.  Your sister Molly looks around the room when I ask her about you.  She remembers you too.  I am grateful you were in my life, you sweet, funny girl.  Love you for ever Hilde,  Love, Mom and Molly
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Our 11yo Lab has hemanogiosarcoma. She had her spleen and a huge tumor removed two weeks ago.  Now her gums are white again and her abdomen bloated, which we were told were the signs that she would probably only live a few days.  We obviously want her to be with us for as long as possible but don't want her to suffer.  How do you know when the right time is with this disease?  Will the natural death be painful?
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I'm so sorry to hear this.  Our lab was diagnosed two weeks ago, had surgery and rallied. Now she's relapsing.  My heart goes out to you.
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Labdog. I know how you feel, My lab/shep mix is going through the same thing. I had her spleen removed 4 weeks ago and she was like a puppy afterward. A few days ago all the symptoms came back. The cancer is now in her lungs and on her heart. The Dr said less than 2 weeks. I want to do what is right for her. Every time I think OK tomorrow is the day she perks up and acts like nothing is wrong. Then the next day she is back to acting blah. It's a roller coaster of highs and lows. I want to do what's best for her and not me. It's just so hard. She is 14 and I've had her since she was 3 months so we have a very close bond. I just watch her and trust my instincts that I will see when it is time. I want her to go out with dignity and not when she is too sick to move. My heart goes out to you. Trust your instincts and do whats best for her.
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My beloved GSD Bucky was diagnosed with hermangiosarcoma after emergency surgery to remove his spleen on Friday.  We are bringing him home today and he's recovered well, but I'm aware his prognosis is 1-3 months without chemo, maybe a few months more with chemo.  My instinct is to make his last days as comfortable as I can and not put him through the trauma of additional treatment, especially given that no matter what, he will not have long.  I'm so scared.  This came on so quickly and unexpectedly; he's a very active and healthy 8 year old that we rescued just 3 years ago.  I love him with all my heart...I think he is my heart.  I'm filled with gratitude that he came into our lives, he has transformed our lives into something very meaningful.  He is the kindest and best of dogs.  I wish I were more confident in how to proceed, will I know when it's time?    Any words of advice or encouragement would be appreciated.
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I wanted to follow up on my post about Bucky;  I wanted to offer what I am learning from him to get beyond the fear and be with him in a positive, loving way that will help him make his transition.  He showed up in our life just in time, and he will leave when it's time.  My job is to be present with him, to celebrate the miracle that is every day with him as long as he needs us, and to let go of him when he needs us to.  I think he showed up to be my teacher, my friend and a soul mate, I am the luckiest being in the world to have shared this bond with him.  I will hold his love close, and hopefully find the courage to pass it on.  Buddhists believe that our positive state of mind approaching our deaths is incredibly important in our rebirth. I do believe in the power of energy as a tangible thing.  hope to offer him peace, I will let him know it's okay to go and not to be afraid.  See what a good teacher he's been?  Thank you all for sharing your stories, we are not alone in what we're going through.  Bless you all.
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I know how you feel and hope I can give you some hope. My Nick,a GSD mix?also had his spleen removed 8/15/13. He was 11 years old and the best dog I've ever had. I decided to try Coriolus versicolor & Agaricus Blazei Mushroom Extract supplements, changed his diet to a homemade dog cancer diet, adding turmeric and milk thistle to his food. He had 1 episode since when he collapsed, couldn't get up for several hours-but then came out of it fatigued but recovered a couple days later. On Feb. 4th he did it again but this time he also had a seizure. This time I checked his gums...they were very pale so I gave him the little red pill (in Yunnan Baiyao capsule package-you can get these online from ModernHerbShop.com ). He recovered within 15 minutes and showed no signs of problems afterward.
      Unfortunately we now know he has another big mass in his abdomen, probably connected to the liver. He has not wanted to eat for the past 3 days and is very lethargic. I'm sure he is failing and we will have to make that awful decision soon. I am very grateful for the 8+ months we have had him since this awful prognosis. Try to enjoy him while you have him and think positive. My best to you and all who have to face this horrible disease.   Nicksbuddy
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Thank you for your comment nicksbuddy.  He's been home for a a little over a week and recovering well from his surgery.  We did start him on the Yunnan baiyao, he's eating, going for walks, playing with his ball and enjoying being with us.   What a week of gratitude, every part of our day that I enjoyed before the diagnosis I can appreciate even more because of it's precious nature, a good lesson for all of life.  I'm inspired by Nick's resilience and yours, and I'm sending you guys blessings;  it sounds like you have loved each other well.
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I started a blog to cope with the process of fighting this cancer.  Information and solid support is sparse out there, so I wanted to put something out I thought might help.  Please check it out:  http://annagrundel.tumblr.com/   Our dog Bucky is in his third round of chemo (I was debating whether to do it, and now I'm glad we have no matter the outcome).  I've learned a lot from surgeons, oncologists and holistic vets, especially important is the info on diet and supplements I've included.  Nicksbuddy gave me some real encouragement.  My thoughts are with you all.
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My 14-year-old Anatolian shepherd mix Lamar had been weak in his hind legs for a while, and then his hind legs gave out a couple of times. I thought it was just the arthritis, but when his gums were pale and he literally couldn't walk I knew it was something more. I took him to the vet and an x-ray showed his spleen enormously enlarged and bleeding into his abdomen. The vet said either hemangiosarcoma or hemangioma, no way of knowing which. The vet assured me he wasn't in pain, and said that it was totally appropriate to take him home and let him pass away on his own, which would probably happen in the next few weeks. She recommended Chinese patent formula Yunnan Baiyao to control bleeding and ease pain.

This was July 9. I got the Yunnan Baiyao the next day and the results were almost immediate. Lamar could get up and go for a good length walk, was perky and wagging and barking like he always has. In the past week and a half, he's been up and down, often wants to go for walks, and yesterday we went to a beautiful swimming hole in the forest that's always been one of our favorites. He was definitely weak, and I'm not sure how comfortable he is. It's just so hard to know.

My fiance and I are going on a long-planned trip to see his family in Europe in 5 days now, and I still haven't decided what to do. If I were staying I would almost certainly let him pass on his own, and that is what the vet recommends. But I don't want him to suffer, and I don't want my wonderful petsitter to have to witness his death or make the call to have him euthed. On the other hand, he's done so well with the Yunnan Baiyao, I wonder if he is likely to make it another 3 weeks until I get back.

It is so hard. I want him to pass when he chooses and not to be the agent of that, but also want to be there for him.

I think there's just no way of knowing. You have to just make a decision you can live with, and know that your dog knows you love him or her no matter what. An ex-boyfriend said one really useful thing in the time we were together; You can't know whether a decision is the right one or not. You can only make a decision, and then make it the right one. I think of that often.
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I am so sorry for you and Lamar. You are faced with such a tough situation. I was in a similar situation and I chose to put my dog down. He may or may not have been a little closer to death than your lamar. He had been off his specially home cooked food (for this disease) for weeks, and very lethargic. The end was obviously near although prednisone had recently given him a boost. I didn't have the benefit of the medicine you are giving Lamar. I had never heard of it until after Sunny passed and My vet never mentioned it. Maybe others who have used it can give your more insight into the course of this disease with the benefit of the med you are using.  The only sure thing is that Lamar will pass away from this disease. If you have great faith in your petsitter to be around all day for him and be loving and make good decisions, than go on your trip. If your sitter doesn't know Lamar well and you can't count on her to be with Lamar and be watchful, then I would probably not go on my trip or put him down before leaving. If you put him down you will know that both he and you have missed severe wasting away and possible suffering - definitely heartache. If you're going to bury him in your yard you have logistics to work out. You will probably feel guilty no matter what you do unless you don't go on your trip and then you might feel resentful. Can you postpone your trip and still go later?  Good luck with your decision......It really is tough. In my situation, I knew that Sunny wouldn't last more than a couple weeks at the very most, and they weren't going to be good weeks. In the end, I think I probably did the right thing, but it was hard and I did feel guilty........
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I am DEVASTATED!!!  I just found out 4 days ago that my dear Cody Jack had suspected Hemangiosarcoma!!! :-(  He had a nurf football sized TIGHT mass under his skin.  And when they got ready to needle aspirate it...it started bleeding.  They thought it would be puss or swollen tissue.  So we had his blood clotting factor diagnosed and found it normal.  Then after xrays and an ultrasound.....TWO liver tumors and the blood mass tumor extended from the tight area on his right side into his abdomen!!!  I was in SHOCK!  We NEVER knew!  He was 9 years old, and always laid back and stoic.  He had hypothyroidism and hip dysplasia, so he was always kind of "chill".  But he'd run after a squirrel like nobody's business.  His appetite decreased over the last two weeks, but otherwise...he was in GREAT spirits.

We laid our beloved Sheltie, Cody-Jack to rest yesterday.  Internal Med Specialist said with the amount of blood in his abdomen and the tumor...surgery would be too risky and with poor prognosis.  I was the most painful thing I have ever had to do.  My heart is broken!  I love, Love, LOVE that pretty boy!!!!  I took him to Chick-fil-A for a grilled patty as his last meal!!  He had NO idea!!!!  I feel like I BETRAYED him!!!  :-(
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I am DEVASTATED!!!  I just found out 4 days ago that my dear Cody Jack had suspected Hemangiosarcoma!!! :-(  He had a nurf football sized TIGHT mass under his skin.  And when they got ready to needle aspirate it...it started bleeding.  They thought it would be puss or swollen tissue.  So we had his blood clotting factor diagnosed and found it normal.  Then after xrays and an ultrasound.....TWO liver tumors and the blood mass tumor extended from the tight area on his right side into his abdomen!!!  I was in SHOCK!  We NEVER knew!  He was 9 years old, and always laid back and stoic.  He had hypothyroidism and hip dysplasia, so he was always kind of "chill".  But he'd run after a squirrel like nobody's business.  His appetite decreased over the last two weeks, but otherwise...he was in GREAT spirits.

We laid our beloved Sheltie, Cody-Jack to rest yesterday.  Internal Med Specialist said with the amount of blood in his abdomen and the tumor...surgery would be too risky and with poor prognosis.  I was the most painful thing I have ever had to do.  My heart is broken!  I love, Love, LOVE that pretty boy!!!!  I took him to Chick-fil-A for a grilled patty as his last meal!!  He had NO idea!!!!  I feel like I BETRAYED him!!!  :-(
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