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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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.
 

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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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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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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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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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I opted for the surgery and treatment because my dog was perfectly healthy and strong otherwise and the ultrasound showed no visible metastases in other organs so I knew that he had chances of gaining months of good quality life. He was definitely nowhere ready to go.
If a dog has other health issues and metastases, surgery does not really make sense. You made the right decision and there was nothing you could have done. We do not have x- ray vision to see what's going on inside the body.


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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I'm so sorry for your loss.
I lost my first GSD this way, it was next to his heart. Cheyenne was about 9, never sick a day in his life. He went into cardiac arrest when it ruptured. There was nothing we could do to save him.
 

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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.
Well, good for you :)
...I know that sound snarky, and it kind of is, but I'm happy for you and your family that you got what the rest of didn't.
 

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I opted for the surgery and treatment because my dog was perfectly healthy and strong otherwise and the ultrasound showed no visible metastases in other organs so I knew that he had chances of gaining months of good quality life. He was definitely nowhere ready to go.
If a dog has other health issues and metastases, surgery does not really make sense. You made the right decision and there was nothing you could have done. We do not have x- ray vision to see what's going on inside the body.
I guess that is why I am struggling so much now. I always took Klaus to this large vet hospital that I used for all this check-ups and treatments even though it was an hour away from my home because they saved him the first time so I trusted their opinion. Three different vets looked at his ultrasound - and all said that the tumor was so large and abnormal, spleen so damaged and there was no indication that the liver was intact either. I asked for three opinions and no one could give me hope. They said there was a only a 5% chance it was benign. They said that if they could give me hope they would - so I did what my instinct told me to do. I asked the same questions thirty different times hoping for a new answer. I was completely lost.
 

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You know, I don't know what kind of tumor my old dog had on his liver - the first one he had we found by chance and it was not really cancerous - just a big ugly tumor. A little less than a year later, he had a bleed like they talk about here (graphic picture warning) Canine Hemangiosarcoma . An ultrasound showed it was in a location where you could not operate (and even though he was almost 16 I would have given it a shot) and he was given hours to live. He lasted 5 weeks and when it broke open into a large bleed that was it. HOWEVER, I still feel guilty - despite the information I got that was pretty definitive, that I let him go. Two years later! Even when I logic it out, the heart stays sad. So while your brain knows you were right, the love that we have for them always makes us second guess everything we do.

Kramer....(posting for Jean) (
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While I was doing the treatment, I had "friends" attack me fo treating my dog and giving him a chance. It certainly helped with weeding out true friends from "friends" who knew it all better without ever seeing my dog and how well he was doing. I can only feel sorry for them. So I can certainly handle very well strangers on the Internet being snarky and nasty and judging me for giving my dog a chance. I can say the same to the snarky ones, good for you for putting down your dog if that is what you wanted.
 

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I certainly didn't mean to start a debate right from wrong. That wasn't my intention at all!! I know everyone does what they can and what they feel is right for their own loves. I just am dealing with grief and guilt and was looking for knowledge and experiences so that I am arm myself with as much information as I can. I wasn't given much information at all when I walked out of the vet after this horrific experience. I do find extreme comfort in everyone's stories - all outcomes and options - as it is helping me understand what I was up against.
 

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good for you for putting down your dog if that is what you wanted.
Very nice. I think I'm the one your comment was directed at, but I'm not the one that put my dog down it was the OP.

Klaus My Love, I hope we didn't ruin the thread for you, and you can take what is constructive from it, in this difficult time. :hugs:
 

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I have lost two dogs to this hideous disease.

Remo was chasing deer on a Sunday, and dead on Thursday of the same week. If he had been a candidate for surgery, I would have done it. He was only six years old. I would have spent every dime I had if it would have saved him. I still cry for him every single day. Something inside of me died when he did and I don't think it will ever be the same.

No one can know or guess how things will go. A guy who adopted a foster of mine had her spleen removed when she was 12 1/2. She is almost 15 now and doing really well for an old, old girl. I thought he was crazy when he had the surgery done, because of her advanced age, but he thought otherwise. You just never know.

If you need someone to talk to, please shoot me a PM and I will be happy to give you a call. I am also in VA, close to Dulles Airport. Our rescue group has lots of volunteers who have also lost dogs to this horrible, horrible disease. Perhaps we can be of some comfort to you.

Please know you are in my thoughts.
 
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