Re: Need help w/hemangio sarcoma (?)
Unfortuneatly, I know more about hemangio than I want to. Lucy had NO symptoms at all, was fine until a mass on her spleen ruptured and she needed emergency surgery. A biopsy showed it was hemangio, which, I'm sorry to say, has a dismal prognosis.
Hemangio can be a silent disease, Lucy was symptom free while it was growing, and even until the day she died, she felt fine except for some appetite issues from chemo.
It would be better if your dog had the mass removed and biopsied, it may not be hemangio. If it is not removed, it may burst, which can cause a life-threatening bleed and seed the abdomen with cancer, which grows fast.
If you get the mass out, it can increase survival time. Also, it gives the doc a chance to look around the abdomen for other possible tumors.
I opted to do chemo. I took Lucy to a top oncologist, but the protocols don't really differ from vet to vet much. I consulted with the head of oncology at U Penn and was told that adriamycin, aka doxorubicin, is the only drug proven to slow the spread of disease. Other drugs such as cytoxin and some others, have not been proven to increase the length of time.
HOWEVER, there is a school of thought that after 4-6 rounds of doxy, there can be what's called a metronomic protocol, which is low doses of oral chemo, which may include cytoxin.
It is a very, very hard and frightening diagnosis. I did the chemo and also did holistic care for Lucy to help her with chemo. Her quality of life was very, very good, lots of running on the beach and playing. her white cell counts stayed normal all through chemo as did her heart, which can be damaged by the doxy. Her appetite was challenging though and I ended up cooking for her and trying lots of food--chemo can make food taste bad to dogs.
I was hoping and praying for her to live six months, which is common for a dog getting chemo. She lived exactly three months destpite chemo. She had clean utlrasounds two days before she died. Ultrasounds don't always pick up on small lesions hiding around the liver.
It is a scary disease, I can't minimize that for you. THere is a GREAT support group on yahoo called the Sumner Foundation, where people post their treatments, holistic supplements, food ideas, concerns, fears, etc. It kept me going through some hard times. If you email me privately, I"ll send you the link.
If you choose to do chemo, I'd ask the vet if they are experienced in administering it--doxy can be tricky and the dog has to be sedated\--if they pull out the catheter in their leg, it can burn their skin.
I was advised by nearly every vet except the money-hungry oncologist NOT to do chemo. I did because I was playing the odds and wanted more time. It is a very aggressive cancer and even chemo can only extend lifespan for a few months.
On the Sumner group, there ARE some people whose dogs completely bucked the odds and lived over a year, almost two years. There are not many, but they are out there. That hope can mean a lot.
Hindsight is everything now, I Lucy's chemo did not extend her life much, if at all and I wish I had not done it. But had I not, I would have spent my life wondering what would have been.
I'm so, so sorry I don't have better news. Not every mass is hemangio, there are benign masses. A biopsy is the only way to tell.
If you pursue additional treatment, perhaps ask your vet if any vet nearby have any oncology experience and consider seeing that vet, or if he'd be willing to consult by phone with one.
If you need support, please feel free to email me privately throughout this. It's scary and you should not feel alone.
Prayers and good wishes being sent your way and for Zero.
Aik vom Haus Gold "The Rock" Age 11
Zuzu--gsd DOB 4-21-09. Naughty n' nice
Lucy, Black GSD 2/1997-12-25-2008.
" T'was Heaven with you Here."
Dweezil, WGSD. RIP, 13
Moon, WGSD. RIP , 12
Shining found treasures both.