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My GSD has a hemangiosarcoma on his ribs. It was diagnosed a year ago and we opted against the surgery to remove it (and several ribs.)
It's grown to the size of about half of a grapefruit. Didn't seem to bother him at all, just a happy dog enjoying life. Last week it ruptured for the first time. Gums were whiter than his teeth, needed a lot of encouragement to get up, then falling trying to walk, felt cold to touch. His side was completely distended to where you couldn't even see the primary mass. We rushed him to the Vet to euthanize, but the vet wanted to try some things first since it's not on an internal organ. So he gave him a high dose of yunnan baiyao (he was on it, but we'd run out for a few day waiting for the next order to arrive. Sure wont' let that happen again!), and created a compression vest and sent us home.

It's been rough since then, but he seems to be slowly regaining energy. His side moves when he walks. Skin on his side and belly is dark from the blood pooling. But he's picking up toys and trying to pull on the leash when we take him out. He seems uncomfortable at times - especially while standing up and laying down - despite the tramadol and gabapentin he's on, but then seems fine. He's drinking a lot of water and peeing plenty, but his urine seems really dark. he also seems nauseated and we're having to give him cerenia. He's not eating very much, even hamburger or chicken, but he's got plenty of gas! and has had a small bowel movement since.

Our vet's been out of the office, and the other one at the clinic didn't return my phone call. I'll be calling again in the morning and hoping ours is back.

I'm worried about the nausea and dark urine. I don't understand the cause. But mostly I'm worried about the future. I know this will happen again. I know the options, it's just hard. Right now, I'm just grateful for the extra time with him, even if it ends up just being days. But hemangiosarcoma is an evil evil thing.

Anyone out there have experience with a dog surviving a ruptured hemangiosarcoma? How'd things go from there? How much longer did you get to have together? I know every situation's different, but any similar experiences would be welcome.
 

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An acquaintance had something similar happen to their dog. The details elude me now but I know that he got another year out of his girl, might even have been two years.

I wish you and your dog the best, these are hard times for the you. Just try to relax and take things day by day. You can always make any radical decisions tomorrow.
 

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I had a dog who had his first hemgio bleed and then recovered quite a lot. We resolved to put him down the next time because there is no getting better and we didn't want him to suffer unecessarily.

We took him to the big hospital for a CT scan and to see if it was operable and basically it wasn't. He had a huge amount of blood trapped in some internal cavity and they said as soon as a bump made that hemmorhage he would bleed out and that would be it for him. They told us he could die literally at any moment.

He had a good month high on tramodol, and we fed him anything he wanted and did everything he wanted. He was happy.

Then it started again, trembling, white gums etc. We let him go at that time. As I understand it they can sometimes bounce back breifly but they will have less and less time in between with more and more suffering.

I fostered a dog from my vet who was dying of this but he was farther into the progression. He had two bleeds in the rime we had him, the first I wasn't sure because we had just brought him jome and I didn't know him. Unable to stand or walk, eat for 24 hrs. He did bounce back and regain the ability to walk with help getting up. A week later same thing, on the floor trembling and can't stand. We took him for euth at that time. He had had a really good week, playing with toys in my house. It was too late for him to have more than a good week. He was totally emaciated with a big belly full of fluid. I think that dog was past where I would have ever let a personal dog get. I tried to get him to get back on his feet and live a little because I just wanted him to have some happiness. He had been abandoned and had spent a month in a tiny cage in my vet's kennel- no fresh air, no fun, no nothing. And he did get to play and lay in the sun and stroll around my property a little and hang out with some dogs and people. He had happiness.

Sorry for what you are going through
 

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But hemangiosarcoma is an evil evil thing.
Yes it is, and I am very sorry you and your dog are going through this. I have lost quite a few dogs to ruptured hemangiosarcoma and so have some of my friends. But all of the tumors were on the heart or spleen except for a friend's dog who had tumors just about everywhere internally. Three of the dogs died within about 10-15 minutes after collapsing before we could reach the vet. The others made it to the vet, had the ruptured tumor confirmed by ultrasound, and were euthanized immediately because they were in severe distress, there was almost no chance of survival, and the prognosis if they did survive was awful--a very short life expectancy and much pain and misery for the dog.

You need more information about your dog; specifically whether the rib tumor has spread to internal organs, as it probably has by now. Can your vet do an ultrasound of your dog's abdomen and heart? If he can't, can he get you in to quickly see someone who can do the ultrasound? This can help you make a decision.

The dark urine is not good, especially since he's drinking a lot, but you would need an ultrasound, bloodwork, and a urinalysis to figure out what the problem is.

Hemangiosarcoma has become a plague with GSDs and other breeds, and it is just awful.
 

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There's no good conventional chemo protocol for hemangio. The one that exists has a lousy median survival time -- I think it's six months, with surgery, and less without it. However...

If you have pet insurance and/or a big bank account, ask for a referral to a vet oncologist anyway. First, they can do staging to figure out exactly where things are with metastasis. You need to know this to make further decisions. The cost of staging is on the order of $400 to 500 at the university near me (it might be more in a big city), plus another hundred or so for the exam fee. It's worth having the staging done in a specialty hospital or vet school, if you have access to one.

Second, once you know, then you can talk to the vet oncologist about whether he's a candidate for the new immunotherapy for hemangio. My understanding is that it's custom-manufactured from the DNA of each dog's individual tumor -- so it requires sending your dog's tumor to the lab. There are a few different labs working on it -- one is affiliated with the University of Kentucky's vet school. From what I've read, this work is the best hope right now...but it's "early days" in this kind of treatment. The cost is likely to be comparable to chemo -- I'd expect a quote on the order of $5,000.

Most dogs aren't eligible for this protocol because their tumors get removed and tossed in the trash by their vet who has no idea of the need for saving it, and then they get a referral to oncology -- but without the tumor tissue, the immunotherapy is off table as an option for the oncologist.

You might also want to look up what's going on with the vet oncologist-supervised trials at Ketopet Sanctuary. On the sanctuary's website, there's a free e-book that shares their diet and related protocol -- they have a few hemangio dogs living way past when they ought to have passed. It's a weird, complicated diet and time-intensive protocol, but what they're doing is fascinating. The mainstream oncology view of it is "hm...dunno" -- that's pretty much where the state of canine cancer nutrition research is right now.

Order yourself a copy of the most recent edition of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide by Drs. Dressler and Ettinger. It's co-written by a holistic vet and a vet oncologist in dialogue with each other -- what's known, what's not known, what to ask at your oncology appointments, promising supplements, and ones to avoid. There's also good advice on self-care for devastated owners too. Every GSD owner should have this book, but you REALLY need it as a reference when dealing with a cancer dog.

Lastly, if you go the route of working with a vet oncologist, if you have a regular vet you trust, ask that person to be your guide on when to stop. With my last one that I lost to cancer, the dog was going to get everything the faculty experts at the vet school could offer -- from palliative radiation to acupuncture on treatment days -- but I put all the specialists in a group email with my regular vet so that he could communicate with them, and made it clear that he was "quarterbacking" this. His one job was to be an advocate for my dog and tell me when it was time to stop so that the dog would never suffer -- and my vet did his job so that when the decision came, I didn't have to agonize over whether we'd waited too long. You need someone playing that role when you're in the middle of the fight.
 

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There's no good conventional chemo protocol for hemangio. The one that exists has a lousy median survival time -- I think it's six months, with surgery, and less without it.
This may be out of date but when I was looking at the wikipedia for hemangiosarcoma, it said that a study was done by U.Penn vet school where they found that a certain mushroom had given some dogs a survival rate of a year or more? Perhaps better treatments will be on the way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemangiosarcoma


OP, so sorry that you are going through this! :-(
 
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