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another hemangio thread - advice please
I hope that I can make this simple and clear, here goes.
Cajun is a 7.5yo intact GSD. No history of hemangiosarcoma in the bloodlines . My dogs have been raw fed (PMR) for just over a year now. I practice minimal vaccines, rabies every three years after puppy vaccines and flea treatment if they get fleas.
Cajun recently has been having a hard time defecating if he is fed bones, which up until recently have been a main part of his diet. Now even one chicken back causes straining the next day. This started a few weeks ago. Also a few weeks ago I noticed his urine was very yellow. I have been keeping an eye on this and he started peeing a lot. No straining, a good stream but it is like he cannot void his bladder in one go. It is not a leg lifting thing, even in the back yard he will pee, then go to the other side of the yard and squat and pee, then squat and pee again. Producing urine each time in a steady stream. Eventually all he produces is dribbles and then he is done peeing. Wednesday night I took both boys for a walk, he peed many times and we came home. An hour later he peed on the floor. I took him out, he pooped and then had another big pee right after the poop.
Thursday we go to the vet with a urine sample. He has an enlarged prostate, makes sense with the peeing/pooping thing. Urinalysis comes back and there is no infection, no crystals, PH is 6.5. But his bilirubin is high. Vet is very concerned and is thinking hemangio at this point. We do bloodwork and wait for results. Get results on friday. I tested for everything - he has no lyme, no heartworm, T4 thyroid test is normal, WBC, RBC everything is normal except his ALT is 16 healthy range is supposed to be 18-121 and his lymphocytes are 0.9 healthy range to be 1.0-4.8. There is no abnormalities in the bilirubin in his blood. We do a second urinalysis today just to make sure, and results are the same, bilirubin is high. Specifically it says Large (+++).
Vet consulted with a cancer specialist, they also think hemangiosarcoma. Probably on the liver, or on the heart causing it in the liver and spleen. The reason we are not seeing bilirubin in the blood is because his kidneys are very good.
My head is spinning, I am trying to remember everything that is being told to me and the reasoning. It is really hard to understand and remember everything but I am trying my best.
I know this is very hard to diagnose and most dogs are diagnosed when they start to bleed out. Cajuns case would be a rare early catch of the disease. I have done some research and read many stories on here. Jocoyn seemed to go through something similar with Grim and I do plan to pm her.
I was given a few options: xrays which may or may not show the tumors, if they do then at least we know. Testing the liver bile acids - he would be fasted, bile tested, then fed and bile tested again. This is very expensive and might not tell us anything useful. And we could try a round of antibiotics in case it is an infected liver. They also want to put him on a low protein veterinary diet while on the antibiotics. I have no desire to put a dog with possible terminal cancer on a high carb diet, and he does NOT do well on kibble and is a very difficult dog to deal with when on kibble.
I do not feel like prolonging his pain. As it stands right now he is his normal, crazy, active self. He is not sick. He is eating, drinking, running, playing, no vomiting, no diarrhea, no pale gums, no lethargy. So I do not think he is bleeding out yet. We caught this very early. I do not plan to remove the spleen, nor do chemo. If it is the cancer then treatment will be palliative until the time comes when he needs to be released of pain.
There is still the issue of the enlarged prostate. Neutering would help lessen the hormones and reduce the size of the tumor. If there was no chance of cancer I would go this route. However, and this may sound cruel, I do not want to spend $600 on a neuter for a dog who may not live more than a month. I also do not like the idea of his body trying to recover from surgery while fighting cancer at the same time. So, through my research, I have learned certain drugs may reduce the hormones and reduce prostate size.
So what I have tentatively decided to do is the xrays and hope they show the tumors, do the antibiotics because that can't hurt and do the hormone drugs to shrink the prostate size. Keep him on his raw diet as that should help keep tumor growth slow. Keep an eye on him and make his life as wonderful as I can.
If anyone has any info on early diagnoses of hemangiosarcoma, or any insight on my thoughts and what I plan to do please share. My heart is breaking for my boy and I don't want to do wrong by him.
I'm sorry your having problems, can't help much, just offer my sympathies. I would think the tumors would show up on X-rays if hermangiosarcoma is the problem, mine did, but it sounds like mine were further along, also they both panted a lot, even when inactive. I heard others with hermangiosarcoma use yunnan baiyao, might be worth checking into just in case. Hope its something else.
I'm sorry that I don't have any advice for you, but I also wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about your problems with Cajun. I hope that someone experienced with this issue will be able to give you some advice.
The one thing I will say though is that the vets thought that our last dog had hemangioscarcoma. Her only symptom was grand mal seizures. They did X-rays and saw some spots on her spleen and her brain. We had her spleen removed and the spots weren't hemangiosarcoma. We lived somewhat close to Davis, so we had them remove the tumors in her brain and they ended up being benign. She had a happy life for several more years. The vets really thought it was hemangio. I guess what I'm getting at is that like you said, you never know for sure. I'm really hoping that this is the case with your Cajun.
Sending many good thoughts and :hugs: your way. Please keep us posted.
I think it is best to do high quality ultrasound in addition to X-rays. The ultrasound will show metastases on the liver and other changes of soft tissue. It should be done by a specialist who knows what he is doing and on a good quality instrument. They did ultrasound on my dog to make sure his liver is clean, before we did the splenectomy.
Hopefully this is not hemangio.
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