Looking for Support (lost dog to hemangiosarcoma) - Page 3 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #21 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 12:18 PM
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While it is silent and deadly, I do not think it is all that hideous. I am really sorry for your loss. Shepherds worm their ways into our very souls and losing them is always losing a part of ourselves.

But God created people with much longer lifespans than dogs, and they have to go someway. But 7.5 years is way too early. That is awful. They do have to go someway, and hemangiosarcoma seems like one of the better ways to go.

I had a hemangiosarcoma scare with Arwen when she was just under seven and pregnant with her last litter. My vet had palpated her and felt her spleen was enlarged. He did x-rays and said that it was. He said hemangiosarcoma, and then told me with a surgery, she would probably live 6 - 12 months, without it 3 months. I let them do some bloodwork, and when he called me back, (bloodwork showed nothing) he said I should take her for an ultrasound.

So off to the Akron Veterinary Referral. In the mean time, I looked up some information, and found that normally, when they bleed out, they get very sleepy and then fall asleep, and never wake up again. I made the decision that if she did have it, I would take her home and make her last few months happy ones, and not subject her to surgery.

The vet at Akron palpated her, and agreed with my vet, and told me that after the ultrasound, the next step would be to see if it had masethesized (sp?) in the lungs. I let them do the ultrasound, and guess what, no tumors, no hematomas, she was pregnant. I did tell them all that, and Arwen was dancing around like she knew what it was all about. But whatever.

The pregnancy was problematic and I had them spay her.

At eight and a half, she had a urinary tract infection and was not keeping herself as clean as usual, we did some bloodwork and she was a point low on thyroid, we fixed the infection and started some thyroxine, and I switched her food, and she got better. With the change in foods and with collaberating with the vet, we decided to discontinue the thyroxine.

When she was almost nine years old, I let her out in the morning, she was running in the field, happy. When I came home that night, I found her on her cot, peaceful, she looked so good, healthy, peaceful, just dead. The day before she had left some kibble in her dish -- that was the ONLY symptom she had.

But it did not seem like she suffered. And I can take some comfort in that. I say that I would have not opted for surgery, but Arwen was my heart dog. I do not know if my emotional self would have been able to follow through with what my logical self had determined. The choice was not given me. I am actually glad for that.

I wish I could have been there when she passed, to say goodbye. But I would have probably rushed her to someone and maybe agreed to something painful or invasive.

Tell your dogs how much you love them every day, so you will not regret losing them without telling them what a good and special girl they are. We do not always get to know when they will pass. Hemangiosarcoma takes them quickly, they do not suffer or at least they do not linger with a terrible, painful illness. But it is hard on us to lose them when they appear healthy, and are too young.

Jenna, RN CGC & Babs, CD RA CGC HIC
Heidi, RA CGC
SG3 Odessa, SchH1, Kkl1, AD
Ninja, RN CGC & Milla, RN CGC
Joy, Star Puppy, RN CGC
Dolly CGC & Bear CGC
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post #22 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 01:14 PM
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Well put
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post #23 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Selzer - thank you for your story. I am so sorry for your loss as well. It sounds as if you went through such a sorrowful experience - but it seems that you have been able to come to terms with what happened and your insight is very wise.

Everyone who posted today has given me much comfort in knowing I am not alone in having dealt with such a scary experience. That it was beyond my control. And that guilt will get me nowhere. And the choices we each have made given our own personal experiences with our best friends was done to the best of our ability given the knowledge and instinct we were provided at that time.

You all were so kind to have added to my thread today. So begins the healing process .... I know that life goes on. And I must believe that Klaus knew how much I loved him - and that I did the best that I knew how. He was happy boy and loved by so many. I can only hope that I will see him again one day.
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post #24 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 08:57 PM
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I am so sorry to hear of your loss! You gave him a great home for six years. I think we always second guess ourselves. My Carleigh passed away in December of hemangiosarcoma at the age of 12 1/2. Before that, I had never heard of it. Up until the night she died, she played like a puppy. In time your grief will lessen and you can open up your heart to another furbaby!

Brenda & Jenny AKA Brenleigh's Lady Guinevere
RIP-Carleigh 8/98-12/10
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post #25 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 11:36 PM
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I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my 12yr old Smokey Joe to this in 2008. He seemed fine, just a bit slow. One day he just didn't seem "right". We called and made an appt for the vet the next day. Smoke passed that night in my husbands' arms. We didn't have a clue that anything was wrong. The vet said that all signs pointed to hemangiosarcoma. I'm almost glad we didn't know. There was no worrying or sad thoughts until the day he passed, and he passed in my husbands arms and knew he was loved.


Shadow - GSD
Apache - Bernese Mtn / Australian Shep X
and gone but NEVER forgotten:
Smokey Joe - GSD/Rott X
Jake - Westie-Poo
Mandy - Peke-a-Poo
Denae - Akita/Malamute/GSD
T.J - Great Pyranees

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post #26 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 12:05 AM
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The late Barker the Younger came down with this. I remarked about her abdomen when I left her for boarding but they failed to ask the vet to look at her. I, too, thought her lethargy was related to another issue - her recovery from ACL surgery. When I got back, she had a bleed significant enough to demand immediate attention. I opted to operate & since the margins were clear & no apparent liver involvement, we thought she had something of a chance. With chemo I got another three months with her. With the next bleed, the ultra sound showed significant liver involvement. As she would only feel significantly poorly if she were allowed to die on her own over the next day or so, that time I opted to put her down. Surgery was not an option.

There's a real catch 22 with the disease - if they bleed out, the cancer will probably spread through the blood - if they don't, you will not get any notice that they have it.

It stinks.
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post #27 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by JeanKBBMMMAAN View Post
..... So while your brain knows you were right, the love that we have for them always makes us second guess everything we do.
How true...

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post #28 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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I was directed to the poem "A Living Love" by Martin Scot Kosins by a member of this forum ….you know who you are and I thank you. No doubt many of you are familiar with this poem …. but there is one line that I love - and that I believe we all may be able to relate to:

“….there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love -- like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this Love will remain and grow -- and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live.”
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post #29 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 01:11 PM
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I am so sorry for your loss!


enjoying life with Penny 6/04 & Blaze 11/12
while Sasha watches over us

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post #30 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 03:16 PM
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We believe our Ray probably died of hemangiosarcoma also. He was fine on Friday and on Saturday he wouldn't eat and seemed a little under the weather, but nothing that would make us rush him to the vet. By Sunday he could barely get up. Our then vet came to the house and said we should take him in to the office for a chest x-ray, thinking it might be congestive heart failure, but his heart was not enlarged and his lungs were clear. We took him home and the vet made arrangements for him to be seen at a specialty clinic the next day.

My husband was driving him to the clinic about an hour and a half away, and he looked in the rearview mirror once and Ray had lifted his head up. Rick thought maybe he was uncomfortable, so he stopped along the highway and made sure everything was ok. He started driving again, looked back at him once more and he had passed away. He was only 8 years old.

We questioned and doubted ourselves for a very long time that we hadn't noticed something, done something sooner, differently, etc. But in the end, we followed our vet's advice and did what we thought was best at the time.

I know the pain you are going through. It just doesn't seem fair that these magnificent creatures are only with us for such a short time. I don't know if you've ever read "The Journey", but this it one of my favorites by Crystal Ward Kent and I must have read it a million times after Ray died:

Crystal Ward Kent - The Journey

Take care.


Kaiser - 8 yrs old

Ray (Radar) - 8 yrs old - At the Bridge
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