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What Can We Expect? Likely Hemangiosarcoma Diagnosis


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Our beautiful boy turned 10 last week - over the last few weeks, his appetite has been terrible. We went through this with him before, last summer, and our vet did an exam and found nothing abnormal. Within a few weeks, he was eating again - but the last month or so, he has been less and less interested in food. Over the past few days, he will only eat a few ounces of food per day, and he's a big guy.

 

Last week, we took him to the vet and he found very high protein levels in his urine, he did a secondary test (I cannot remember what) and he diagnosed early stage kidney disease. He prescribed some Pepcid for his acid reflux, and 20mg of Benazepril for his kidney disease. He was also given two short-term medications to help with his appetite. After being on those meds for a week, his appetite did not return, so I asked for ultrasounds of his belly. We had a previous greyhound diagnosed with multiple masses with an ultrasound, after other tests showed nothing abnormal - we lost her within a few days.

 

Unfortunately, the ultrasound showed a grapefruit-size mass on his spleen and they recommended emergency surgery, due to risk of rupture. They did another ultrasound on his heart prior to surgery and found nothing, and also did x-rays of his lungs and found nothing. We went for surgery and they ended up removing a 5-lb mass along with his spleen (being sent off for biopsy). But, they also found metastatic lesions on his liver, which they could not remove. We were told hemangiosarcoma is highly likely, and because of the lesions on his liver, his prognosis is "very poor." We will get biopsy results Monday or Tuesday for a definite diagnosis.

 

Of course, I've done the research and I know that after a splenectomy with hemangiosarcoma, most dogs only live 2-3 months and if we added chemotherapy, it will likely give us an extra 3-6 months.

 

To all of you who have dealt with this - what can we expect? If don't do chemo, what will his quality of life be? If we do chemo, same question. How much longer after diagnosis did you have your grey? How can we make him most comfortable and happy during this time?

 

Many thanks for any advice. We are just devastated.

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Please do to get ahead of yourself--wait for the path report to confirm the diagnosis. There are many older dogs that have benign lesions on their liver. I don't want to give you false hope and I know it's is still likey to be hemangiosarcoma but, just see what the path report says. If it is cancer and you decide to pursue chemo most dogs do very well. The dosages given to dogs are much lower than what is given to people as with pets we just want to achieve remission and with people a cure (remember the lifespan differences). Of course finances will come into play-Ohio State is still giving free chemo drugs but, administration of the drugs and bloodwork can add up too. If you don't do chemo and the mass has been removed I believe your hound will eventually just start to show unwell characteristics. Lack of appetite, energy., possible vomiting from liver involvement.....until one day where you will know in your heart it would be time to release him from his illness.

I would suggest that once you get the path report and have a true diagnosis contact Dr Couto for a consult. He would be the best man to receive an opinion from on how to proceed. I wish you all the best.

http://www.coutovetconsultants.com

Edited by tbhounds
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I hope the tumor and lesions turn out to be benign :candle If not, my only advice about the chemo is to be sure he has recovered from the surgery before you start. Most dogs do very well with chemo, but my Molly had a difficult surgery and the chemo on top was just too much for her. I stopped it after one dose, knowing that it would shorten her time, but I wanted the time she had left to be as comfortable as possible. Again, her reaction to the chemo was not typical! :bighug

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I also hope the tumor and lesions are benign. :bighug

 

Our pup, Icabod, had a tumor rupture on his spleen almost 20 years ago (September 28, 1995), he was also 10 years old.

 

He had emergency surgery and went through 3 or 4 rounds of chemo of a 5 round treatment (too long ago to remember) before we stopped the chemo. He just started losing his appetite and not being happy. Icabod was a blood donor dog on staff at Colorado State University we adopted him. He loved going to the vet. He always had to take a tour of the sick ward as if to offer comfort to the patients. When he began to plant his feet and refuse to enter the vet school (U of I - Urbana) for treatment, we knew we had to stop.

 

Icabod made it eleven months post surgery and chemo treatments before the cancer spread to his spine. He was on a three drug protocol (I think two of the drugs were adriamyacin and cytoxin???), I know the first letters of the drugs "spelled out a word". I don't know what chemo drugs they now use for treatment.

 

Again, like Remolacha said above, Icabod's reaction to chemo was not typical, but it is human nature to talk about what is not typical instead of the norm.

 

Sending hugs.

Annette, mom to Banjo (AJN Spider Man) & Casey (kitty), wife to Roy. Mom to bridgekids: Wheat (GH), Icabod (GH), Scarlett (Cab's Peg Bundy), Rhett (Kiowa Day Juice), Dixie (Pazzo Dixie), Pogo/Gleason (Rambunctious), and Miriam (Miriam of Ruckus) and Spooky, Taffy, Garfield, & Lefty (kitties)

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Another vote to not get ahead of yourself. I went through this when my Aquitaine was 9. I was so sure that everything would be bad news that I had signed a DNR for her in case anything happend in surgery. Then my plain speaking vet called to say he felt really good about the surgery and that she could get 3-4 more years. I canceled that DNR so quickly! You could still get a benign response. I certainly hope you do.

 

We didn't have to do chemo but those who know more about it seem to say only good things.

 

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

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Sending good thoughts. :hope

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

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sending good thoughts

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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So sorry, I lost my Sara to Hemangio, she was almost 11 and had an inoperable tumor in her spine. Sending good thoughts for your boy, each case is different, lots of spoiling and love, make each day the best you can, :grouphug

med_gallery_14228_2915_582.jpg
Roberta & Michael with Furkids- Flower (Shasta Flowers 6/7/06) & Rascal the kitty - Missing our sweet angels - Max(M's Mad Max) 10/12/02 - 12/3/15, Sara (Sara Raves 6/30/01 - 4/13/12) Queenie & Pandora the kitties - gone but never forgotten

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I lost my first greyhound to HS. I opted for the spleen removal because the disease came on so suddenly (he was perfectly fine one day and then the next day stopped eating and was diagnosed that afternoon). He was also 10. I opted for the surgery because the reason he became so ill was due to tumor rupturing and my poor boy was bleeding internally, (again he had absolutely no symptoms until the day it happened). The vet told me either we do the surgery or we euthanize due to internal bleeding. I opted for the surgery. He stayed at the hospital for 2 days, I visited him the next morning and he was up and grabbing roast beef that I brought for him right out of my hands! By the second day he was walking around and was pretty much back to normal. I took him home and he was just himself for the next 3 months. That is how long we staved off the disease. But these three months were goon ones. It was spring time, perfect weather, we went to the park, I gave my boy tons of love and attention and extra treats and he was happy. I don't regret making the decision of going with the surgery, it gave me a chance to enjoy a few months with my sweet greyhound. But it is as bad cancer. I fear HS and OS in greyhounds, both cancers seem to be fairly common.

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Thanks everyone for the kind words, thoughts and advice.

 

We brought our boy home on Friday, about 24 hours after surgery. He is still struggling.

 

He had a bad bout of diarrhea at the vet, and had an accident here at home while sleeping. We got him cleaned up as best we could, but he is very sensitive in that area at the moment - so we are trying to clean him here and there. He came home with antibiotics and Tramadol, and promptly threw that all up yesterday morning. I got some anti-nausea meds from the vet and he told us to hold off on the antibiotics until he was eating and could keep things down.

 

He is not eating much, a bite here and there. We have tried lots of food, ranging from chicken, beef and turkey (with and without rice and oatmeal). We got some high quality raw food that he was eating before surgery, he won't touch it. Same with canned food. We have tried eggs - scrambled, hard boiled and even raw. We have tried a few kinds of broth, bread/toast/biscuits/bagels. We have tried low sodium/organic lunch meat (he ate a few bites of this). I have also gotten some high quality ground beef and made tiny little hamburger patties - he has eaten a couple of those (maybe 2 ounces total). We tried a little piece of cheese, banana chips, I also made some low sugar ginger snaps (he seemed to like those, so I will make more today). He is also rejecting peanut butter. We basically just offer him food every hour or so. He is drinking water, which is good - and he is urinating - we take him out every 2 hours or so. We haven't left his side, even setting an alarm every hour overnight to make sure he is okay.

 

I pray that he eats something soon. His normal, healthy weight is 87 lbs - on surgery day he was 77 - and then they removed a 5 lb tumor. I imagine he is around 70 now and it is heart-breaking.

 

Got his Tramadol and Pepcid in him around 7 this morning, and will likely administer anti-nausea meds around noon. Will offer more food after that. I am on the morning shift with him so my husband can sleep since he was up with him all night. I am making sure I remain positive with him and our other grey, upbeat, gentle and nurturing. It's all I can do for him at this point.

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He may need to return to the vet for IV fluids. He can also receive injectable medications allowing his tummy to rest. See how he does In the next few hours if he doesn't improve I would transport him to an e-vet for the rest of the day and night. They released him awful quick.

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I'm sorry your boy had been diagnosed with probable hemangio. I have had 4 dogs (all Labradors) pass of this. 3 were very unexpected and the Labs passed away the same day. My chocolate Lab, Bailey, collapsed at lunchtime one afternoon - I knew what that collapsing meant by then- so I got her to the vet ASAP. They did surgery, removed the spleen, and she came home the next day. She recovered from the surgery quite well.

 

The next description is quite graphic.

 

3 weeks after her surgery I was awakened very early on a Saturday morning by heavy panting. Bailey was in distress, that was quite clear. I tried to get ready to take her to the emerg vet but 45 minutes later she had passed away, still at home. The vet speculates that the hemangio had attacked her aorta or another large blood vessel, ruptured it and she was bleeding internally. She had gone to the vet the day prior and he was quite pleased her her progress after her surgery. So we have never had a dog survive longer than 3 weeks post hemangio diagnosis/surgery. Sorry to tell you that, but it was our experience.

 

My thoughts are with you, it's a difficult and uncertain time.

Tin and Michael and Lucas, Picasso, Hero, Oasis, Galina, Neizan, Enzo, Salvo and Noor the Galgos.
Remembering Bridge Angel Greyhounds: Tosca, Jamey, Master, Diego, and Ambi; plus Angel Galgos Jules, Marco and Baltasar.

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Wow, 4 dogs lost to this dreadful disease - I am so sorry. So when Bailey collapsed, was this because of a rupture, or something else? I'm very grateful we caught it before it ruptured. Since this is the 2nd time we've had an ultrasound done that revealed serious masses, even after others tests showed nothing (in our girl that we lost in 2010) or in Deacon (tests only showed early stage kidney disease) - I will likely be asking for ultrasounds earlier.

 

Deacon ate a little more yesterday, though still not much. He has been drinking water, and urinating just fine - but yesterday he actually pooped on one potty break, and it was relatively normal (not diarrhea) - so I am happy about that.

 

Our vet agreed with us that 24 hours in the hospital was sufficient for him, unless he had other issues. He wasn't eating there, either, and was absolutely miserable and anxious - he didn't want to lie down in the crate there and they were concerned they would have to sedate him - something they, and we, didn't want. We wanted to bring him home ASAP, as our last experience with leaving a dog overnight ended with an early death caused by their mistakes (not to mention some relatively inhumane treatment of her when we were forced to euthanize). The entire situation made us vow to never leave a dog in that situation again, unless it was due to surgery or some other emergency; otherwise, they are home with us. Luckily, this is a new emergency vet in our area, with a state-of-the-art facility, so we feel a little more comfortable, but we were clear with them about our aversion to hospitalization (and why). And if a dog is terminal, we want them at home with us. My heart still hurts thinking of what our girl went through, and that was 5 years ago. :(

 

I will call the vet again today with an update on his condition. He has done great the past two nights - I stayed with him last night and I was on such high alert that I woke up every time he moved! He got up twice for a little water, but had no issues at all - and went out to urinate first thing at 6:30. Got his Pepcid, Tramadol and anti-nausea meds in him, but still not interested in food. We'll try again every hour!

 

Thanks again for all the advice and information. Our first grey died in his sleep due to a heart attack, and we lost the 2nd in the emergency vet fiasco - both were very quick. So difficult to know what to do when you have something like this happen.

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Glad he seems improved-totally understand why you wanted to bring him home-having an anxious dog hospitalized is tough. The anti-nausea tablets are they cerenia? If so they usually work pretty well. You can also ask for a script for zofran (ondasatron)--they can be given with the cerenia. Fingers crossed he'll improve throughout the day. Have you tried chicken baby food??

Edited by tbhounds
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He is on a hunger strike again today. I think he's eaten 1 slice of deli turkey, 2-3 bites of ground beef, about half a slice of toast with a little chicken broth and 12 pieces of pasta that I cooked in beef broth. Vet prescribed something to help with his appetite - and some food they give in the ICU to critical patients w/ a big syringe. He told us to insert it in his cheek in little bits, as it is harder to spit out that way. Not looking forward to this at all, but he hasn't eaten more than a few ounces of food per day since early last week. Fingers crossed! :goodluck

 

And yes, the anti-nausea med is Cerenia. So, we are using Famotidine in the AM since he has always had some acid reflux, with the Cerenia. He also gets Carafate to "coat his stomach" and now we have Mirtazapine for his appetite. Also the Tramadol, of course. Not getting his antibiotics right now, as he just cannot handle it. :(

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Wow, 4 dogs lost to this dreadful disease - I am so sorry. So when Bailey collapsed, was this because of a rupture, or something else?

 

Hi there, yes when Bailey collapsed at the lunchtime, her spleen had ruptured. I got her to the vet ASAP, within an hour, her spleen was removed and she came home after an overnight at the vet. 3 weeks later she had the panting episode and passed away probably due to a ruptured major blood vessel.

 

My first Lab had 2 episodes of extreme weakness- not quite collapsing- and I later found out that she had a rupture inside of her spleen. She passed on the operating table- the vet told me he would not wake her up if he found the hemangio had spread - it had.

 

Hopefully your boy will start to eat something soon!

Tin and Michael and Lucas, Picasso, Hero, Oasis, Galina, Neizan, Enzo, Salvo and Noor the Galgos.
Remembering Bridge Angel Greyhounds: Tosca, Jamey, Master, Diego, and Ambi; plus Angel Galgos Jules, Marco and Baltasar.

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Please ask for the ondasatron--it's a medication often prescribed when chemo is given to reduce nausea. I've taken it myself and it really works very well with no side effects.

Edited to add-I would stop the Tramadol at this point-it may be making him feel awful and his post op surgical pain should be resolved by now.

Edited by tbhounds
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My heart goes out to you. You are doing everything that can be done and most of all you are using the strongest and best medicine of all-love. I understand and agree completely with you that he is better off home. I had a similar incident with my boy Minny where they griveously injured his hip because they were lazy & negligent & improperly moved him (he was non-ambulatory) nearly ripping his leg off. While it didn't result in his death directly it severely crippled him and resulted in excruciating pain and made it nearly impossible for him to even be able to stand up again. After this happenned I brought him home immediately and took off from work caring for him myself for 2 weeks until he crossed over. I too said NEVER AGAIN. The fact is they don't care about out dogs-not really. You know what the vet in charge of his case told me? I am a sworn officer in 2 states. I am very good at recording testimony so you can believe this or not but it is true. The vet told me "Its not about compassion." Many of them don't love or care about our precious family members like we do. And after seeing what they did-I decided just like you NEVER AGAIN will I subject one of my hounds whom I love soo much to being in a hospital 1 second longer than is absolutely necessary. It was heartbreaking seeing my sweet Minny suffering and screaming in pain and unable to even put weight on his leg at all because of what they had done to him-and at the same time he was fighting to survive his original problem. THERE IS NO DOUBT YOUR BEAUTIFUL BOY IS IN BETTER HANDS AND GETTING BETTER CARE AT HOME WITH YOU. We both know that after what happenned when we trusted our precious hounds to them before. Sending love and positive energy and prayers going up from KY.

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Ondasatron was what Heyokha was given. :)

 

Racingdog, I'm sorry you've had such bad experiences, but I don't think it's fair to paint everyone in the veterinary profession with the same brush. I've had wonderful, compassionate vets over the years, who honestly do care about my dog (and my cats, in the past). In fact, when Heyokha was recently hospitalized, the surgeon who operated on him and the surgeon's girlfriend brainstormed about good foods to bring him to tempt him to eat. They brought in yogurt, chicken, applesauce, etc. And that's just one example. Keep in mind there are vets and vet techs who are active on this board, and they are all compassionate people who take the time to respond and offer advice to people they'll never even meet in person.

 

OP - my boy was hospitalized with an obstruction which led to a perforated intestine. He had to have radical surgery to clear the impaction and close the perforation. He also had abdominal sepsis, so that had to be cleaned out, too. He didn't eat for 5 days and lost 13 pounds. I managed to get some chicken in him one night while I was visiting, and his appetite began to pick up from there. So, not the same illness as your boy, but just wanted to share our experience. Don't give up hope - your boy may still be working on his appetite. Hope it picks up soon :hope


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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We saw a tiny bit of progress with Deacon - we got a can of the food administered w/ syringe last night (about 5.5 ounces) in him - he didn't seem to mind much once it was in his mouth! We also gave him the medication to help with his appetite and amazingly, he ate his bedtime snacks! We normally give snacks at lunch and bedtime, and he hasn't been interested in those for a couple of weeks - but I offered them last night, since his sister was getting them, and he ate them! Yay!

 

This morning I tried feeding him the canned food from the vet in his normal bowl, but he didn't want it - so he got the syringe again. I think we are going to go for 2-3 cans per day, but he seems to be handling it very well. I will keep trying to feed him normally (in his bowl) and if he doesn't eat, then we'll resort to the syringe until he is eating normally again.

 

Overall, we've had good experiences with vets in our area - it's just the one emergency/specialty vet that we do not like. I had a girlfriend who also had two really awful experiences with them, and online reviews are quite bad - so mine is not an isolated incident. We met one vet there (a cardiologist) that was great, but overall, they seem much more interested in profit than the animals. It's shame. Our regular vet office is great, very caring people and they do all they can. The vet we are taking him to now is actually the practice we used when we originally adopted - we stopped going there because we had some issues with them and the care they provided to our dog who had multiple heart issues - they were just not capable of treating him. We gave them another chance when they built their new practice, and expanded it to include more specialists and the 24-hour emergency care. I'm glad we gave them a second chance, as they have really been trying to help us with Deacon. I think it's true for human hospitals/doctors and veterinarians - no matter how much they care about their patients, you will always love your loved ones more! :)

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just a thought about getting nutrition into your boy --- try Raw Hamburger meat. get organic grass fed if possible.. just roll it in

little balls and see if he'll take it, if not, then the balls are easy to just push down their throat and it's easily digestible too.

I had to do this for several months while nursing my boy back to health. I ended up using the hamburger balls as a way

to administer all his pills and supplements.

 

good luck!!

lorinda, mom to the ever revolving door of Foster greyhounds

Always in my heart: Teala (LC Sweet Dream) , Pepton, Darbee-Do (Hey Barb) , Rascal (Abitta Rascal), Power (Beyond the Power), and the miracle boy LAZER (2/21/14), Spirit (Bitter Almonds) 8/14

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