Why Spleen Cancer Breaks My Heart
What could be more devastating than the following:
You come home from work, find your dog extremely ill, rush to the vet, and learn that you have to make a decision either to operate now or wait while your dog suffers.
Unfortunately, stressful situations like the above occur daily when unlucky dog owners encounter the dreaded disease of splenic hemangiosarcoma (dog spleen cancer).
What is the Spleen?
Located adjacent to the outside portion of the stomach, the spleen is responsible for the storage of red blood cells.
When the spleen is affected by a tumor such as hemangiosarcoma, the risk of abdominal bleeding and subsequent death is likely.
Unfortunately, dogs suffering a hemangiosarcoma are highly susceptible to the acute effects of a splenic rupture.
What Happens When a Dog Suffers Splenic Hemangiosarcoma (Spleen Cancer)?
Dogs most likely to suffer dog spleen cancer are:
- Labrador retrievers
- Golden retrievers
- Large mixed breeds
Unless you are proactive in your approach to your dog’s health, then the following is the most likely scenario of a splenic hemangiosarcoma.
You have an older large breed dog that apparently appears very healthy.
For some unknown reason, your dog quits eating and/or becomes extremely lethargic.
If you look closely at the gums, they are pale.
Your dog seems very non-responsive and lethargic.
You rush to the veterinarian.
The vet tells you that your dog has cancer of the spleen and the spleen has ruptured.
The rupture has led to substantial blood loss, the cause of your dog’s weak, tired, and non-responsive demeanor.
Your Options for Splenic Hemagiosarcoma
If the above describes your dog’s situation, then the immediate option is surgery.
Surgery to remove spleen will remove the entire tumor.
However, surgery is somewhat complex.
Complexity occurs mainly because of the acute blood loss your dog has already suffered.
Blood transfusions during, before, or even after surgery are often needed.
After surgery is over and your dog wakes up, he may still be very lethargic and tired.
Lethargy will last approximately 7 to 10 days, and then most likely resolve.
After 10 to 14 days, sutures can be removed and your dog should feel much better.
The Reason I Hate Spleen Cancer (Splenic Hemangiosarcoma)
The most unfortunate fact about hemangiosarcoma is the disease metastasizes rapidly.
Unfortunately, the best prognosis is usually only another two to three months, even with the best of treatment and best of care.
I hate telling you these facts!
But, I have used almost every treatment imaginable including herbal medicine, chemotherapy, surgery, and vitamin C treatment.
No treatment I’ve tried prolongs life expectancy more than three months.
How to Maintain Your Dog’s Quality of Life
I’m sure you don’t want to give up on your dog.
And, I applaud your effort!
But, just know that spleen cancer is what I consider to be one of the “bad boys” in veterinary medicine.
However, you can take some steps to improve your dog’s well-being and quality of life as the disease, unfortunately, progresses.
Feed a whole food diet.
- 40% protein
- 40% carbohydrates
- 20% fat
The more fat you add to the diet, the more likely your dog will eat the food.
Feed your dog as much as he wants.
Mushrooms slow the growth of cancer.
Also, from an Eastern standpoint, mushrooms help to resolve phlegm and help your dog feel better despite declining health.
Lastly, I always put all of my hemangiosarcoma patients on anabolic steroids.
Anabolic steroids help dogs feel better from an emotional standpoint.
Anabolic steroids also increase appetite, maintain muscle mass, and maintain red blood cell function.
As you know, many dogs are neutered or spayed, and are therefore devoid of any type of sex hormone.
I believe an alternative source of sex hormones helps dogs feel better in the later days of their life.
Unfortunately though, the bottom line is hemangiosarcoma is “one of the bad boys.”
Our options are very few, and hemangiosarcoma proves 100% fatal.
Often, hemangiosarcoma comes on very unexpectedly and is a shock to the distraught pet owner.
If you have any other questions about how we can help your dog struggling with spleen cancer, download my dog cancer ebook.
In my dog cancer ebook, you will find tips to help you understand the disease process. You will be able to institute remedies to make your dog feel comfortable in the later days of his life.