Canine Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs When to Euthanasia & Life Expectancy

When caring for a dog with hemangiosarcoma, it is important to realize that there will come a time when euthanasia, or putting the dog down, will be the best option for both you and your dog.

When to euthanize a dog with hemangiosarcoma

How long will my dog live with hemangiosarcoma?

Without treatment, most dogs die within one to two months. The prognosis for dogs with HSA is guarded to poor. Although some may respond well to treatment, many die within less than 12 months after diagnosis due to organ failure or secondary tumors in other organs such as the liver and kidney.

Canine hemangiosarcoma stages

The stages of hemangiosarcoma differ depending on the type of HSA your dog has.

For Visceral HSA the stages are as follows:

  • STAGE 1: The tumor is less than 5cm. No secondary tumors are present.
  • STAGE 2: The tumor is larger than 5cm. It may rupture and there may be secondary tumors present.
  • STAGE 3: Secondary tumors have spread further, possibly including the lymph nodes.

For Skin HSA the stages are as follows:

  • STAGE 1: The initial tumor is only in the skin.
  • STAGE 2: The tumor spreads to the subcutaneous layers.
  • STAGE 3: Tumors spread from the skin to the muscle.

The prognosis for hemangiosarcoma in the internal organs is poor, typically one year or less. This is due to the fact that the tumors are aggressive and spread quickly to other areas of the body. Without treatment, death can occur within weeks.

The prognosis for Skin HSA is a little better. Diagnosis at stage 1 can offer a life expectancy of up to 2 years. Later stages may be just less than a year.

When to euthanize a dog with hemangiosarcoma or spleen tumor

  • If your dog has hemangiosarcoma and is not responding to treatment anymore, then it might be time to consider euthanasia. Signs your dog is suffering include excessive panting, and the inability to get comfortable or find relief.
  • If your dog seems to be in pain even with pain medication, it may be best to show them mercy and euthanize them so they will not have to continue to suffer.
  • If your dog shows an extreme lack of energy and seems sluggish and sleepy all day, they may be ready to be put down.
  • If you don’t want your dog to suffer, deciding to euthanize your dog with hemangiosarcoma can limit their suffering and save your family from experiencing the trauma of a painful death.
  • If you can’t afford a full course of treatment or simply don’t want to put your dog through it, then don’t. Bypassing treatment for financial reasons is not considered irresponsible; in fact, it’s a good reason to put down a beloved pet who would otherwise suffer needlessly if he were left untreated.

How can I help my dog with hemangiosarcoma?

Hemangiosarcoma is treated much like other forms of cancer in dogs. Your veterinarian may suggest surgery to remove your dog’s tumor. However, surgery can be expensive and most dogs who receive surgery will also need chemotherapy soon after. Chemotherapy treatment will help fight the hemangiosarcoma if it has spread throughout your dog’s body through their blood.

Your dog may be on chemotherapy for up to three months. Most dogs respond positively to standard chemotherapy but will need regular checkups to ensure that their cancer has not continued to grow. Other medications may be prescribed to slow the growth of the tumor and keep your dog feeling comfortable.

If your dog’s hemangiosarcoma is under the skin, the chance of success in removing the tumor is much higher. Tumors that develop in this way tend to grow slower and if immediately removed will completely cure the dog of the disease.

However, these tumors still have the opportunity to grow and spread throughout your dog. Even if surgery seems successful and your dog’s tumor has been successfully removed your vet may still insist on chemotherapy. The chemotherapy will help destroy every piece of the tumor that may have grown or spread throughout your dog.

Surgery and chemotherapy can help prolong your dog’s life for a short time. However, the majority of dogs with hemangiosarcoma die within a year of diagnosis whether they’ve had surgery and chemotherapy or not. Treatment can help your dog live longer, but cancer most often grows back and will cause them pain and discomfort near the end of their lives.

My dog has hemangiosarcoma and I have no money

Hemangiosarcoma strikes dogs suddenly and viciously, leaving a family sick with worry over what to do next. Many dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma will require financial assistance.

Brown Dog Foundation

The Brown Dog Foundation provides funding for pet owners who cannot afford expensive medical treatments for their pets. Visit their website for more details and to apply for financial assistance!

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

The ASPCA has grants for victims of domestic violence who need help caring for their pets when fleeing from an abusive situation. These grants are available in all 50 states, but you will need to contact your local ASPCA chapter for details about the application process in your area.

Care Credit

CareCredit is a health care credit card that can be used for any pet-related expenses and some human medical costs as well. It works just like a normal credit card, and you can get either a 6- or 12-month interest-free period. After that, interest will apply. This card may be easy to get, even if your credit is not good, but the interest rates are expensive, so it should only be used if you know you can pay off the balance before the interest-free period ends. You can find out more about Care Credit by calling (800) 677-0718!

The Magic Bullet Fund

The Magic Bullet Fund was founded to provide financial assistance in the form of grants to families who cannot afford life-saving cancer treatment for their dogs. They help dog owners pay for the cost of treatment for canine hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.

The Onyx and Breezy Foundation

The Onyx and Breezy Foundation offers financial assistance to owners and/or rescues of dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, a rapidly fatal cancer. This assistance is in the form of a one-time grant, which can be used towards an activity that will improve the quality of life for the dog while they are receiving treatment or in the time leading up to end-of-life decisions being made.

VetBilling

This organization is dedicated to helping pet owners across America afford quality veterinary care for their beloved pets by providing a financing option that suits the needs of each individual. The VetBilling network represents over 5,000 veterinarians across the country.

Paws 4 A Cure

Paws 4 A Cure is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to those who cannot afford veterinary care for their beloved furry family members. They assist with vet bills throughout the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. Paws 4 A Cure works with both traditional and holistic veterinarians.

You can find more by doing a Google search for “help with vet bills” or similar terms, including your state name. If you’re searching online, look for up-to-date contact information, and make sure the organization appears legitimate before sending any personal information.

NOTE: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this list, as it is compiled from information provided by the organizations themselves. Please confirm all information before applying for any assistance, and let us know if there are any changes or additions we should make.

Yunnan Baiyao for canine hemangiosarcoma

Yunnan Baiyao is a herbal product used in traditional Chinese medicine for both humans and animals.

Since the product is patented by the Chinese government, the ingredients are unknown. Licensed holistic veterinarians support the use of Yunnan Baiyao for dogs with hemangiosarcoma as it improves clotting and blood platelets. This is especially useful for dogs with hemangiosarcoma of the heart or spleen.

There is also research being conducted into the effect Yunnan Baiyao may have on the growth rate of HSA tumors. In addition, Yunnan Baiyao also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can help to reduce swelling and associated pain.

When considering home remedies, always consult your veterinarian and only accept products from a licensed physician. Join online pet forums and speak to dog breeders to find reputable holistic vets.

Cancer diet for dogs with hemangiosarcoma

The golden rule for dogs with cancer is not to feed starchy or sugary foods. Sugar acts as a good source of cancer, allowing it to grow and spread at a faster rate. Removing sugar from your dog’s diet will essentially starve the cancer cells, slowing the growth rate.

Ideally, you should speak to a homeopathic or holistic vet who can design a diet for your dog. It is important to include fresh, healthy ingredients to ensure your dog gets the maximum possible nutrients from his food.

Raw meat is best, but you can lightly bool or dry fry it if your dog is fussy. Organ meat is essential as it has high protein and low starch content.

Include berries for antioxidants, low glycaemic vegetables such as zucchini, green veggies, carrots, and chickpeas, plus eggs (without the shell) for amino acids.

Conclusion of hemangiosarcoma or spleen tumor in dogs

When a dog is diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, the overall prognosis is poor. Because this cancer has a tendency to spread so rapidly, and because it often causes internal hemorrhaging, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort very quickly. The average lifespan post-diagnosis is only 6 months, although some dogs experience no symptoms at all until the end.

The age of your dog, his current state of health, and whether or not he has developed metastasis are some of the key factors that will influence your vet’s recommendation. If your dog is not in any pain, and there is no sign of metastasis, you may be able to extend his life for a short period of time with treatment. However, if he does have metastasis or if he is in pain, then it may be best to consider euthanasia as soon as possible.

This is one of those rare cases where euthanasia may be the best option from the start. It’s important to remember that every dog and situation is different. Though it’s difficult to make this decision, sometimes it really is the best thing for your pet to do.

Hemangiosarcoma- What You Need to Know About Your Dog's Cancer
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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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