What Is Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs?
Canine Hemangiosarcoma (HSAs) is malignant and highly cellular; infiltrating neoplasms in dogs especially develop from the uncontrolled proliferation in the endothelial cells of blood vessels.
Also called angiosarcoma or hemangioendothelioma, Hemangiosarcomas are more prevalent in dogs accounting for roughly 1-3% of cases. Hemangiosarcomas can develop anywhere as blood vessels run all through the body; however, the most common locations are the spleen, liver, heart, and skin. Most HSAs (apart from that appearing in the skin) are both locally invasive and have a high likelihood to metastasize to other organs. These tumors are very fragile and are typically filled with blood.
These tumors are hard to categorize and are frequently considered as a group due to the similarity in their presentation. Almost 25 percent of splenic hemangiosarcoma affected dogs also have a similar tumor of the heart. Non-visceral forms such as HSA of skin also occur. Most of the cases are not diagnosed until the tumor tissue gets ruptured and resulting in disastrous hemorrhage.
Although the exact cause is unidentified, genetic susceptibility and environmental factors are considered to play an important role. Sadly, the hemangiosarcoma prognosis is considered to be poor. Regardless of aggressive oncological and surgical intervention, over 75% of tumors relapse within the first year.
What Is Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs?
Hemangiosarcoma symptoms vary depending on the location.
- When skin is affected: Swollen, nodular, firm bump or lump on or under the skin, Bleeding or ulcerated lumps.
- When the liver is affected: Protruding or distended stomach, Bloating or abdominal pain, Feelings of abdominal fullness, Lethargy, Nausea, and vomiting.
- When the heart is affected: Slow/fast/erratic heart rate, No appetite, Exercise intolerance.
Other systemic signs:
- Swelling / Edema of the face and extremities.
- Loss of appetite / Weight loss
- Polydipsia / Polyuria
- Breathing or digestive issues.
Treatment Options For Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs
Survival rate and prognosis are dependent on the grade and stage of cancer, and how promptly treatment is given.
Hemangiosarcoma getting completely cured is really uncommon, but treatment can make your dog feel better, with the least side effects.
Surgical options such as amputation, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these modalities may be tried.
(Prednisolone): 2 mg/kg (or 40 mg/m2) PO daily.
By itself, the antitumor dosage of prednisone increases average survival times to 1 to 3 months, but it is not beneficial in all cases. Sometimes, it makes subsequent chemotherapy treatment less successful.
Chemotherapy is found to be less effective. Daunorubicin, vincristine, vinblastine, dactinomycin, colchicine, etoposide, and mitoxantrone is commonly used.
This may be used to shrink cancerous cells prior to surgery or used post-op to reduce the duration of the resulting remission.
Home Remedies For Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs
Hemangiosarcoma cannot be completely cured even with medical management. Discuss home treatments with your vet to ensure there won’t mess with other medications.
How To Prevent Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs?
Prevention is not possible for canine HSA as the causes in dogs is varied. Treatment and survival rates vary depending on the grade and stage of cancer.
Check your dog on a regular basis and consult your veterinarian immediately if you find any unusual swellings, firm bumps or lumps on or under the skin, or bleeding or ulcerated lumps.
Affected Dog Breeds Of Hemangiosarcoma
Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Portuguese Water Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Flat-Coated Retriever, Boxer, Skye Terrier, Basset Hound, Dalmatian, Labrador Retriever, Italian Greyhound, Greyhound, Whippet
Causes, Types, And Stages For Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs
- Radiation or electromagnetic fields exposure or living near waste incinerators.
- Certain viral infections.
- Exposure to carcinogens or toxic chemicals.
- Exposure to herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides.
Primary Hemangiosarcoma: They originate in the blood tissue itself and spread to another part of the body. Primary HSA has a propensity to metastasize to lymph nodes, skin, and spleen.
Secondary Hemangiosarcoma: That arises from a different organ or tissue and metastasizes to the blood.
Splenic HSA can be classified as:
- Stage I: Limited to the spleen.
- Stage II: Splenic tumor (ruptured) with or without regional lymph node involvement.
- Stage III: Metastasis to distant lymph nodes or other tissue.
Cutaneous / Subcutaneous HSA:
- Stage I: Limited only to the dermis.
- Stage II: HSA along the hypodermis with or without the involvement of the dermis.
- Stage III: HSA along with dermis, hypodermis, and underlying muscular involvement.
Stage I tumors: With surgery alone > 2-year median survival time.
Stage II and III tumors: With surgery alone - 6 and 10 months, respectively.
- Routine hematology, Blood smears.
- Clonality assessment by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.
- Abdominal ultrasound.
- Fine-needle aspirate and cytological examination via microscopy.
Hemangiosarcoma activity is complicated and depends on many factors. In general, the cancer is staged from 1 - 3; stage 1 is less destructive than stage 3 HSA.
Unfortunately, most of the HSA’s are rapidly progressive and high-grade. Initially, there will be enlarged lymph nodes and no clinical signs of illness, if left untreated, most dogs reach terminal stages 1 - 2 months from the presentation.
When To See A Vet For Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs?
Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:
- Swollen, nodular, firm bump, or ulcerated lump
- Swelling/edema of the face and extremities.
- Slow / fast / erratic heart rate.
Food Suggestions For Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs
- Low fat, high protein foods - Snapper, Tuna fish, Low fat cottage cheese, White-Meat Poultry, Peas, Lentils, and Beans.
- Lean meat Protein - White-fleshed fish, Chicken breast (skinless, boneless), Turkey breasts (skinless), Beef liver, Beef (sirloin tip side steak).
- DHA - Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Herring, Oysters, and Shrimps.
- Antioxidants - Tomatoes, Blueberries, Cooked yellow squash, Steamed broccoli, Spinach, Kale, and Green beans.
- Fats - Lean ground beef, Beef tallow, Lean turkey bacon (microwaved).
Dogs with Hemangiosarcoma often survive for 1-2 months without treatment, but with treatment, the prognosis is somewhat better. Dogs can have an improved quality of life for a period of time with proper treatment.