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