Looking for Support (lost dog to hemangiosarcoma) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for Support (lost dog to hemangiosarcoma)

Hello to the forum. I registered in hopes that there may be more loving pet owners with a similar situation and who may be able to direct me to the latest sources of information regarding Hemangiosarcoma. I lost my boy Klaus on Sunday evening to this horrible disease. I brought him into the vet for what I believed to be a stomach issue, only to be told that he was dying of a large tumor that had ruptured in his spleen - and the cause was most certainly HSA. Given the severity and intensity of the bleed, I was forced to decide then and there to opt for surgery or euthanasia. Given how bad the bleed had become, and the poor prognosis, I opted for the later in hopes I spared him any more pain and discomfort. It was the most painful experience I could have been faced with. I have done a considerable amount of research online, in between my moments of complete grief, to comprehend how something like this could have occurred so quickly as he was already being treated regularly for arthritis with blood tests and x-rays - which showed no tumor a month ago. While it appears that this form of cancer is prevalent among shepherds and golden retrievers, it is of little comfort given the lack of time that I was given to say goodbye to the one thing I held most dear in my life.

Klaus was a rescue dog, who experienced a traumatic first year and a half of his life before we found each other. I was fortunate enough to have had him for six years - though at this time I do believe that it was he who rescued me. It is believed he was a german shepherd/golden mix. One day, when I recover from this major loss, I fully intend to adopt a shepherd or shepherd golden mix once again as he was truly the best of both breeds and a kind loving soul. But, before I do, I was hopeful to gain as much knowledge as I can about this cancer if I am expected to face it again.

Any thoughts or sources of information/stories would be most appreciated.
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post #2 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 09:52 AM
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I am going to move this to the health section of the board. I am sorry to welcome you under these circumstances and I am very sorry that you lost Klaus, but so glad you found him in the first case (for both of you).

I talked to a vet at Cornell about hemangiosarcomas - just to ask - can you generally predict/find them early. He said no.

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post #3 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate you posting this in the correct location. I also appreciate you providing me with the update from such a reputable source.
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post #4 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 10:03 AM
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I am so sorry for your loss. I lost two of mine to HSA.

I was blessed with 4 wonderful months with my boy after diagnosis and emergency surgery. This is our story.

Please say a prayer for my boy - HS
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post #5 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 10:15 AM
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Actually...Jean asked the vet at Cornell on my behalf......due to my grief...my agony over "could I have changed things"..."did I miss something"...etc..

I lost Mya the same way....great one day....collapsed the next. Upon arriving at the ER...we got the same news...she coded before we could even make any decisions...and despite CPR...could not be revived.

In the end...it's a silent, deadly, fast, aggressive cancer....in most cases...there are no signs. I am so sorry for your loss. I understand the grief all too well. Prayers for peace for you.

Mya-Queen GSD Love you always and forever!
Ava - Princess GSD
Cheyenne-GSD I will never forget you sweet girl.We were blessed to have you in our lives
Buddy-Sweet lap cat - Forever in my heart.
Baby - Crazy cat
Spencer - Eclectus parrot
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post #6 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 10:24 AM
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I sorry for your loss. I lost my girl from this almost 2 years ago. I don't think they feel any pain from it, we had just come in from a walk where she ran around and played, she had never had a health concern in her life until 20 minutes before she died
I too asked the vet if there was anything we could have done, he said even if you noticed it in the beginning, the prognosis isn't good and the treatment just causes more pain than good, and if the treatment is "successful", you only get an extra few months. He said with this disease, it really is best not to know. You get to enjoy each day with your dog, not knowing it's your last.
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post #7 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your messages. I have read "RebelGSD"'s reply and story - and that was a heartbreaking, and all too familiar story. Thank you so much for sharing. Klaus was suffering and on meds for severe arthritis (even at age 7.5), and I confused his lethargy and lack of appetite with what I was already experiencing in dealing with his prior collapses due to his prior diagnosis. Under all other conditions, if his symptoms occurred even three months ago, I would have rushed him to the vet much sooner. He had been through surgery a few years ago for bladder stones so I would have been prepared to help him once again through any issue. But, at this late point, the prognosis made by all three vets on staff was that if he made it through surgery I could only expect one day to four months as you both pointed out. I didn't know what to do. I am struggling with that same question of "Did I make the right decision?" I can only hope that I did. It was hard to put down my boy who was still alert and confused. It appears as if this is what many owners have dealt with.
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post #8 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 10:27 AM
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Just wanted to say so sorry for your loss-so glad you rescued her
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post #9 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 10:28 AM
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I just went threw the same thing 4 weeks ago. Its a shock and horrible, do not blame yourself, its not your fault. With animals, they cannot talk and tell you something is wrong. When you finally notice a sign its usually to late.

Love the memories and get a new pup it does wonders. I have lost 8 great sheps already and its never a good thing but its something I expect and accept, its just worse when they go to early.

I feel your pain.
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post #10 of 174 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 10:34 AM
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I disagree that the treatment does more pain than good. My boy had excellent quality of life during the 4 months and every moment we were given was precious. It was definitely worth it and I would do it again. Other owners that treated their dog felt the same way. And there is a small fraction of dogs for whom surgery means full recovery, according to the experience of the oncologists at the University of Pennsylvania who treated my dog. 4 months in a dog life are equivalent to 3 human years. I know many people who put themselves through much more difficult treatments for a chance of getting an extra year or two.
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