Euthanasia Was Best Answer for Dog With Hemangiosarcoma

Once this type of tumor spreads, no treatment can halt the cancer.


Q. I had a beloved German Shepherd Dog, Schultz, who was 8 1/2 years old. I noticed a change in his appetite the last few weeks. It became worse each week with him not eating at dinnertime. I thought it was his food, so I started feeding him chicken and rice. Then I noticed last week he was vomiting. I saw him do this about three times last week. I also noticed that when I went outside, he was not interested in coming with me. Last Thursday, I was petting his belly and noticed a swelling under his private area. I took him to the vet who found a 16-inch long malignant tumor. There wasn’t much room for his organs and the tumor was squeezing his stomach. The vet also found spots on his lungs. He had lost 8 pounds at this point.
She said that this was one of the largest and most aggressive tumors she had seen and that an operation and chemotherapy were not options. So I had two options, giving him pain killers and an anti-inflammatory with the possibility that the tumor would rupture, or to euthanize him. My husband and I decided that we did not want him to suffer so we put him to sleep. My last GSD had the same condition, but we let him suffer too long. I did not want this for Schultz. However, I still feel guilty about my decision and cannot stop crying.

A. I am sorry to hear about the loss of Schultz. You obviously cared greatly for him. You need to know that he had an untreatable condition, he was suffering, and euthanasia was the most humane decision you could make. It took a true act of love to put the alleviation of your dog’s pain ahead of your need for his companionship.
He had a malignant tumor of his spleen that had already spread to his lungs, so it was inoperable. This type of tumor, known as a hemangiosarcoma, is unique to dogs and most common in German Shepherd Dogs and Golden Retrievers. Typically you will see vague signs at first, such as loss of appetite, lethargy or periods of fatigue. Over time, you may note weight loss, vomiting and pale gums.
In about 20 percent of dogs, these tumors are benign and can be removed surgically. Unfortunately, there is no way to know in advance of surgery if they are benign or malignant. However, when chest X-rays show spread of the tumor to the lungs, the mass is malignant, and there are no viable treatment options.
Alleviating your dog’s suffering through humane euthanasia was the best choice since treatment would have been hopeless and he only would have gotten worse. Try to enjoy all of the great memories you have of him. Remember his spirit and heart.


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Scorpy   Menifee, CA

5/31/2016 6:13:19 PM

A couple of weeks ago my nine year old yellow lab couldn't get up no matter how much we tried to coax her. This little girl normally acts like she's still a three months old puppy! We immediately rushed her to the vet who did blood work and an X-ray, then based on those results an ultrasound. He called us to say she had a mass in her stomach and she was haemorraging. We gave consent to operate, which, bless her heart, she survived. The vet had to remove her spleen and said there was a tumor on it and he was sending it out for
I have been hoping against hope it wasn't cancer but today, taking her for a checkup, the vet showed me the biopsy results.....hemangiosarcoma. I couldn't take anything else in and he didn't offer up any
Since being home, as you do these days, Google became my best friend and after reading about this really evil aggressive cancer I am contemplating letting my darling girl cross the rainbow bridge now rather than her have another hemorrhagic experience. Right now she's back to her old self (acting like a 3 month old) but it's only a matter of time.....a very very short
This will be my second lab I've lost in 3 years to this vile
Thinking of you all out there having to make this really hard decision as well as those of you who have already said adieu.

Incredibly sad and heartbreaking times

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Sam   Los Angeles, California

3/10/2016 3:35:50 PM

My beloved dog was diagnosed July 2014 with dermal hemangiosarcoma. He had legions removed and they have returned. He is 11 years old and I dont know if i want to be in and out of vets putting him through surgeries to remove them. He is otherwise healthy and active. I am trying to decide if having the surgeries is worth the trauma of the surgery and recovery to my sweet
Anyone with any advice?

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Sandra   Dorset, International

1/2/2016 3:20:57 PM

Just reading your stories I think I know what I must do now. I am so sorry for you all and understand the terrible pain you are feeling. My 12 yr old lab Tilly had shown these signs for about 4 weeks, the vet thought she may be in pain due to her deteritian of hips, shoulders ect. Last week she started on gabipenton and continue metacam. Last night she collapsed and was unresponsive, went straight to emergency vet or did echo confirming blood around her lungs, a tumour. They did a emergency drain to remove the blood surrounding her heart, frusimide and vetmedin. Today she is a little brighter but dreading it happening again, I was hysterical at the vets and have cried all day. My own vet coming mon and think I know what to do. So sad and heart wrenching

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Eve   studio city, California

11/27/2015 2:35:13 PM

A week ago today, my beautiful little man, the love of my life , Tabasco, (maltese) was running and jumping around like a puppy. He was 12 years and 4 months old. I had always prided myself on how healthy and amazing he was and fed him organically. About an hour after lunch he came over to me and gave me the strangest look ever and then wanted to go outside away from me hovering over the grass in a strange position. Of course I made an emergency vet visit and after 4 hours there, i was sent to a specialty group where they could take an echo cardiogram and ultrasound. We arrived there and he was collapsing and vomiting. The Cardiologist came back within 10 minutes and told me he had Hemangiosarcoma, and that even trying to remove the fluid was terribly risky because the tumor was where they would put the needle to drain the fluid. I was given the most hopeless prognosis and was in horrifying shock. I had to make the decision to take him back home only to die within hours or days. After almost fainting, I got a hold of myself and remembered that I made a promise to myself and to him, that I would never ever let him suffer. I held him in a dimly lit room and watched him peacefully drift off to sleep after a quick injection. I have never known such pain and I actually do not know how to go on without him. He was literally attached to my body at all times. The only thing that is giving me any sense of will right now is that there are others out there who have gone through or are going through the same thing. i have never known such love and the loss is unbearable.

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