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Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

By: Dr. Kimberly Cronin

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Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests that may be needed to recognize hemangiosarcoma and to direct treatment include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) including platelet numbers
  • Clotting tests
  • Serum chemistry panel and urinalysis
  • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays) and/or ultrasound
  • Abdominal tap
  • Chest X-rays
  • Ultrasound of the heart
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Pericardial tap
  • Biopsy

    Treatment

    The treatment and prognosis depends upon the location of the tumor. When the tumor occurs in an internal organ such as the spleen or heart, the chances of long-term survival are poor. Treatment is more successful when this cancer occurs in the skin. Exposure to the sun may play a role in the development of this type of skin cancer. Dogs with poorly-pigmented skin and sparse hair coats, such as the whippet, saluki, bloodhound and English pointer, are more likely to develop this form of hemangiosarcoma. There is no known cause of hemangiosarcoma in other locations. In humans, exposure to certain chemicals such as vinyl chloride has been implicated as a cause.

    Treatment for hemangiosarcoma may include the following:

  • Stabilization
  • Intravenous fluids
  • Blood transfusion
  • Pericardial tap
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

    Home Care and Prevention

    Seek veterinary attention promptly if your pet develops pale gums, signs of weakness or collapse. Have any new lumps on your pet evaluated by your veterinarian.

    Minimize your pet's exposure to the sun, especially dogs that are poorly pigmented and have a sparse hair coat.

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