Hemangiosarcoma Cancer in Dogs

Can dogs have cancer?

Have you ever wondered if your dog could be suffering from cancer? Isn’t that a condition we only associate with the human being most certainly? But did you know that dogs can indeed have cancer too? This has often come as a shock to pet owners as they lack significant information about dogs and their health issues.

Hemangiosarcoma in dogs:

There are different kinds of cancers; benign and malignant. Benign cancer is not risky and life-threatening, but non-benign cancer can spread further and be life-threatening. The hemangiosarcoma generates in the endothelial cells and tumours have been found in different parts of the body in other cases.

How is it caused?

Just like humans, cancer is caused the same way in the body of other living beings. A tumour is formed due to abnormal production of cells when can either be dangerous or not. This happens when the mechanisms of cells in the body does not work in a normal way. Old cells do not die and abnormal production of new cells begins which forms a tumour. Tumours can be formed in different parts of the body. In dogs, abnormal production takes place in the endothelial cells and affects major parts of their body, including the heart, spleen, liver and skin.

How is a hemangiosarcoma dog identified?

The question arises, whether how to know if your dog is cancerous. Well, some major symptoms indicate hemangiosarcoma cancer in dogs as listed below.

  • Many dogs feel weak due to their body’s ongoing cancer condition, but this does not directly indicate hemangiosarcoma.
  • There is loss of appetite, but this is a major symptom in most dogs’ disease, making it hard to identify hemangiosarcoma.
  • Pale gums and tongue have often observed to be a major symptom in the case of hemangiosarcoma.

Although there is no direct symptom of hemangiosarcoma, the body expresses its problem through various other symptoms as listed above. Hemangiosarcoma can directly only be identified when the tumour ruptures itself and causes excessive bleeding in the abdomen. This condition is known as hemoperitoneum.

Method os diagnoses:

 The only way to diagnose whether the tumour present in the body is cancerous happens through a biopsy. After the tumour is removed from the body, a biopsy is performed in the labs and that finally indicates cancer or not.

Advanced diagnoses:

First of all, it is the responsibility of the pet/dog owner to be attentive towards the changed behaviour of their dog and be aware of any possibility of diseases. 

Through an advanced method, the possibility of cancer in a tumour can also be tested without surgery. In this method, a small tissue of the tumour is taken out and tested to check whether it is benign. 

The tissue is taken out through a needle-held process which is non-surgical. But as convenient as it sounds, this comes with some risk. In some cases, the tumour is located in very delicate areas of the body, so the risk of blood vessels being damaged in the process of tissue removal is possible. However, it has proven to be an efficient process in most cases and takes about 3-5 days to show results.

It is also important to manually check their body parts in case of symptoms to feel whether any tumour can be felt near to the skin. This helps in decreasing the risk of advanced stages of cancer and early diagnoses.

Regular examination and tests must be taken to ensure the dog’s internal body is functioning normally.

Jack Russell Terrier Lying Upside Down on Grass

Treatment of hemangiosarcoma cancer in dogs:

 The different methods of treatment include:

Removal of the tumour via surgery known as splenectomy. A series of chemotherapy then follow this if the tumour proves to be cancerous in the biopsy performed.

Radiation Therapy Treatment:

Radiation therapy has shown to be effective in some cases and not in others. Radiotherapy works as a minimal treatment to decrease pain and weakness in the body. It is used to improve the quality of life as much as possible.

Chemotherapy Treatment:

After the biopsy proves the tumour to be cancerous, chemotherapy sessions are scheduled which contains blood transfusion of the body. Pet owners are often scared to subject their dogs to chemotherapy as it is a harsh treatment, but, today, there are oral drugs available that can do the same job and it is also known as low dose chemotherapy. Yet, no medication or treatment is to be given without the examination and prescription of the vet.

A threat to life?

 Hemangiosarcoma can be life-threatening because in most cases, dogs do not show any symptoms and only start to show weakness and mild symptoms when cancer has already reached higher symptoms. In most cases, the condition is only found out after the tumour has ruptured. In this case, the possibility of survival becomes low. If the tumour is not removed through surgery and not followed by later treatments, the dog can die in one to two weeks.

Possible Preventions:

 Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent hemangiosarcoma as it happens naturally and the main cause is not found. The only way is to do your best and earl diagnoses is the only key.


 Before adopting a pet and taking responsibility for their life, it is highly advised to consult a veteran and educate yourself of all the possible diseases and risk factors. This will help your prepare as an owner for any condition that occurs and symptoms will work as an alarming situation for you.

It is also necessary to not diagnose or assume anything on your own as this could be a highly risky factor for your dog’s health. Always consult a veteran in case of any symptoms and do not panic because that what your dog needs the least.

A huge case of study is being done in different parts of the world about hemangiosarcoma so that cancer and its cause can be completely understood to help create better and mild treatment options as dogs.

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