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Our beautiful 10.5 year old boy Max had to go to the vet yesterday. A day after he had his annual vaccination, and to be told he was a lovely dog in great shape...... He woke up yesterday looking terrible. The vet has scanned and there is a lump around the spleen and internal bleeding. It could be days or weeks, or maybe months if the bleeding clots. The vet has offered an operation but with only a 50-50 chance of success....and if it wasn't successful they wouldn't wake him from the anaesthetic.

We really dont know what to do. The children are taking it really well, but we are completely torn between taking a chance on the op being a success and giving him another year or two. Or trying to enjoy the last bit of time that we all have together.

The vet said he wasn't in any pain, but there would be a time soon, or very soon that he would deteriorate and we would have to have him pts.

He is perkier today, he's eaten and he's been pottering round a bit with me.

I really don't know what to do.....
 

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In your shoes.... if my dog was otherwise happy and healthy for his age and i felt he'd be strong enough to come back from surgery....it's a cliche, but if I felt "he'd have a good quality of life" after surgery.....then I'd move forward with the surgery......BUT....no one here knows your dog or your family situation like you do....in times like you're going through now we all wonder if we are making OR did make the correct decision....my heart goes out to you because I've been where you are.


Another option IMO (although I don't know where you live or what type of vet medicine is around you) would be to seek out a vet oncologist or maybe a veterinary teaching college if there's one close to you for a second opinion you already have the x-rays/scans,,,,,not because i doubt the diagnosis simply to see if the options and prognosis are the same.... the more information you have....should help you with your decision.


Thoughts and prayers to you/yours and Max.
 

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At that age, with this breed, any splenic mass and bleeds is very likely to be hemangiosarcoma. Did your vent mention that word by chance?



Did he take xrays or ultrasound of the lungs, heart and liver? That's a very important part of the decision. If it's hemangio, it spreads to all those places, and your options diminish if it's already in them.



If it's hemangio, surgery only delays it because there's no good chemo protocol for killing any cancer cells left behind with this one. At best, with surgery, chemo adds at most 6 mo., but often less.



However...there's a new, experimental DNA-derived protocol in which they make a cancer "vaccine" unique to the dog from the tumor mass extracted from the spleen. You would likely have to work with a vet oncologist to see if your dog is a candidate, and identify one of the research programs manufacturing the custom-produced treatment. It's important to consider this before surgery, as they have to save tissue from the surgery to send off. I would also expect a cost of several thousand dollars. AFAIK, this is the great hope for the future with this cancer.



There are some alternative options that seem to add time for some dogs. I'm thinking of Lynn and Traveler on this board --they a got good, long time together with alternative care. I don't remember what she was using -- possibly ImYunity or Apopcaps. Hopefully she'll chime in. If not, find her posts in the archives. PennVet just did a study on ImYunity, I think.


I agree that a good vet oncologist would be worth consulting with before you decide.
 

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I have been in your exact situation, except 50/50 was not the odds we were given. We found out about the tumor from the first bleed, probably much like you did.

We took our dog to the local referral hospital for a CT scan, which showed that this very large tumor had attached or grown into in multiple vital organs and if memory serves, also hishis vena cava.

It was a very risky surgery. The surgeons were willing to try, but they were not very optimistic. The first vet who had ultra sounded him and diagnosed the tumor in the first place told me to take him to McDonalds because he could go literally at any time. She told me her own dog had had a similar tumor and they had tried to operate and her dog had bled out on the operating table.

My husband and I decided not to do it. This dog had a lot of life left in him, too. Ultimately we felt it was best for him to enjoy what time he had left and pass away with us by his side. We had an excellent month with him where he was spoiled in every way possible and was happy for every moment of every day. Then the bleeding started again. We drove him in to be euthanized and he died very peacefully in the arms of my husband and me.

I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's heartbreaking to find out this kind of news.
 

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I wouldn't do the surgery. A friend of mine just did it in November. The dog made it to the Classic in December, and died two weeks later. The dog was eight. There is no guaranties that the surgery will give you months, much less years.

I'm sorry. I would just spoil your dog until it is time. He's had a full life and a good life. Sometimes we have to ask hard questions, like am I doing this surgery for him, or for us? Sometimes the best thing we can do for our pets is the hardest thing to do. I am sorry if I am being brusk on this. I just put down my girl who would have been 10 next month because she threw a disk in her back. Maybe I could have done a surgery, or used drugs and improved her enough. But she was exuberant and energetic, never slowed down, and I just couldn't keep her in a body that couldn't hold that pace. I let her go.

When we have had them for 10 years, they are so much more than "just a dog." They have a personality that we know inside and out. We know what they are going to do before they do it. They know us too. And of course we want to prolong their life and give them every opportunity to have the best. Sometimes, though the best we can do is make sure that they do not suffer in the end, and that they are not frightened, and we are next to them telling them what a good dog they are.

I'm sorry.
 

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Our beautiful 10.5 year old boy Max had to go to the vet yesterday. A day after he had his annual vaccination, and to be told he was a lovely dog in great shape...... He woke up yesterday looking terrible. The vet has scanned and there is a lump around the spleen and internal bleeding. It could be days or weeks, or maybe months if the bleeding clots. The vet has offered an operation but with only a 50-50 chance of success....and if it wasn't successful they wouldn't wake him from the anaesthetic.

We really dont know what to do. The children are taking it really well, but we are completely torn between taking a chance on the op being a success and giving him another year or two. Or trying to enjoy the last bit of time that we all have together.

The vet said he wasn't in any pain, but there would be a time soon, or very soon that he would deteriorate and we would have to have him pts.

He is perkier today, he's eaten and he's been pottering round a bit with me.

I really don't know what to do.....
I would ask myself just one question. Is the surgery for you or for him?

Personally, after 10 or 11 I strictly limit anything I do with regards to vet care. But I am not you, and no one can tell you what is right for you and your dog. I know someone who has a 14 year old dog that just went through a third hip surgery. I have to bite my tongue anytime they are around, because the dog is plainly miserable but it's not my dog.
 

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I had a dog that was diagnosed with pancreatitis at age 13. By the time the vet bills were all added up, I'd spent about $3,000, but they did get her stabilized and comfortable, though she was very, very thin by the time all was said and done.

She passed in her sleep six months later.

Was it worth it? Difficult to say. She'd been healthy up until then. But I lost my father in May of 2004, my husband in November, and my mother in March 2005, actually the day Tasha came home from the veterinary hospital after being in the ICU for 5 days with the pancreatitis. I just wasn't ready for another loss.

When she collapsed on me in May of 2005 (unrelated to the pancreatitis - her rear end suddenly became paralysed ) and the vet wanted to do all sorts of diagnosis and treatment, thinking she might have DM, my response was a firm "NO". She recovered from the collapse with the help of a steroid injection, and I did the best I could to make her final days happy ones. We went for a slow walk around the block every night, and I did the best I could to help her regain the weight she'd lost due to the pancreatitis.

I know many GSD owners who have lost their dogs to hemangiosarcoma, and treatment and surgery never seems to do much more than delay the inevitable for a couple of months.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all of the kind comments.

Max was alot more perky yesterday evening and this morning , almost back to his old self. His blood pressure was back up, and he was cuddling the kids, following me round and barking at the door.

He has Been back to the vet this morning, they have xrayed, and they have found a 6x8 cm growth on his spleen, that hasn't spread. This would be a straightforward removal, but it is close to the liver... Which could complicate things.

With this in mind he is going to have the operation, the vet thinks there are lots od reasons to operate, and much less not too.

Just keeping everything crossed that he pulls through.

Thankyou again to everyone that commented on here, it was a real comfort yesterday when we all fearing the worst.

Even if he does not pull through, he has not been in any pain, and he had a wonderful last two days with his family who he has adored and looked after since he was 8 weeks old.
 

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Thanks for all of the kind comments.

Max was alot more perky yesterday evening and this morning , almost back to his old self. His blood pressure was back up, and he was cuddling the kids, following me round and barking at the door.

He has Been back to the vet this morning, they have xrayed, and they have found a 6x8 cm growth on his spleen, that hasn't spread. This would be a straightforward removal, but it is close to the liver... Which could complicate things.

With this in mind he is going to have the operation, the vet thinks there are lots od reasons to operate, and much less not too.

Just keeping everything crossed that he pulls through.

Thankyou again to everyone that commented on here, it was a real comfort yesterday when we all fearing the worst.

Even if he does not pull through, he has not been in any pain, and he had a wonderful last two days with his family who he has adored and looked after since he was 8 weeks old.
At the end of the day when it comes to the dogs I've been entrusted with.....I need to know in my own mind I'vr done everything I possibly could--explored all options and outcomes.....based on how your Vet feels....I'd do exactly the same thing as you are :thumbup: wishing nothing but good luck to Max and you
 

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I'm so gutted to report that Max has passed away. I am completely
Heartbroken.

He had the operation, in the words of the vet it was a complete success. The spleen and tumor were removed, and he had come round from the anaesthetic and started to drink and perk up. The vet wanted to keep him in overnight, but late on in the evening we had the dreaded call to say max had died suddenly.

I really cannot imagine life without him. 5 days ago he was given a clean bill of health, and now this.

He was such an amazing companion, would follow me anywhere, and had the greatest character you could possibly imagine. He cuddled the children, he looked after the family if I was away, and now he is buried in the garden, just next to my office, so we will always be together.

It is not a cliche, but he genuinely was my best friend. I love you Max
 

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Aww shoot, I'm so sorry to hear this! What an incredibly difficult emotional roller coaster of a week for you and your family. Heartfelt condolences to you all! RIP Max!
 

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So sorry for you loss!

Unfortunately, this is the way it often goes with hemangiosarcoma. It's a horrible, horrible disease. :crying:
 

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My heart aches for you! So sorry for your loss.
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss.
 

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Oh man, I am sorry. You did everything you could and sometimes it just isn't enough. That is hard. I know you loved him. He knows you loved him. It is going to hurt bad because having him was so very good. Take care of yourself during this time.
 

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I'm terribly sorry to hear of your loss.
You were his best friend too and he wouldn't want you to grieve for long. Miss him, yes, daily even but keep the good times you've shared and favorite moments close at hand.
 
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