What is hemangiosarcoma in dogs?

  • Tippy,
  • March 15, 2022,
  • 8038

Hemangiosarcoma is a highly malignant cancer arising from cells that normally create blood vessels. It most commonly affects the spleen, liver, right atrium of the heart, and skin. Tumors can occur in any part of the body, however.

What causes hemangiosarcoma in dogs?

In most cases, the cause of hemangiosarcoma is unknown. Exposure to sunlight can cause skin tumors in some dogs, especially in thinly haired regions including the belly, inner thighs, and eyelids.

What are the symptoms of hemangiosarcoma in dogs?

Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

  • Lethargy; tiring easily.
  • Weakness.
  • Pale mucous membranes (mouth and eyes)
  • Rapid or labored breathing.
  • Abdominal swelling; “pot-bellied” appearance.
  • Depression.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Nosebleeds.

What are stages of hemangiosarcoma in dogs?

Stage I: Tumor confined to the spleen. Stage II: Ruptured splenic tumor with or without regional lymph node involvement. Stage III: Distant lymph node or other tissue metastases. Hemoperitoneum or splenic rupture is associated with a worse prognosis.

Are dogs with hemangiosarcoma in pain?

The disease is indolent; in other words, it does not cause pain and the rate of growth in the early stages is relatively slow. Dogs harboring even large hemangiosarcomas may show no clinical signs or evidence that they have a life threatening disease.

What breeds get hemangiosarcoma?

Golden retrievers, German shepherds, and Labrador retrievers are among the breeds most frequently diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. Dogs with cutaneous hemangiosarcoma may have a mass in or under the skin.

What breeds are predisposed to hemangiosarcoma?

Although dogs of any age and breed are susceptible to hemangiosarcoma, it occurs more commonly in dogs beyond middle age (older than 6 years), and in breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Portuguese Water Dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Flat Coated Retrievers, Boxers and Skye Terriers, among others.

What are end stages of hemangiosarcoma in dogs?

Collapse (usually acute; happens without warning) Shock. Difficulty breathing (dyspnea; respiratory distress; caused by internal bleeding from rupture of tumors that have spread to the lungs or chest cavity) Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and / or Elevated heart rate (tachycardia)

What percentage of dogs get hemangiosarcoma?

Hemangiosarcoma is cancer of the vascular endothelium, or the blood vessel walls. It accounts for 0.2 to 3 percent of all canine tumors with a mean age at diagnosis of 9 to12 years. (1) Hemangiosarcoma most commonly affects the spleen and heart of golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and German shepherds.

Can a dog survive hemangiosarcoma?

This very serious disease has a grave prognosis, meaning that the long-term outlook for life expectancy is generally poor. Many dogs with hemangiosarcoma only live for a short time (weeks to a few months) after being diagnosed, although some sporadic exceptions occur.

Do dogs with hemangiosarcoma suffer?

While it is difficult to say with certainty how a dog with hemangiosarcoma is affected by its condition, reports from people with this disease, and observations of dogs, suggest that hemangiosarcoma usually causes a great deal of discomfort and pain, especially in the later stages.

When to euthanize a dog with hemangiosarcoma?

Dogs in a late stage of the disease may have difficulty breathing, display unusual neurological activity, seizure or suddenly collapse. If your dog is in this situation then it is considered an emergency as they are likely dying of hemangiosarcoma; euthanasia is often the most humane option at this point.


Hi, I’m Tippy. I’ve been a professional dog trainer for over 17 years and spend most of my days teaching people how to live better with their four-legged family members. My first paid job in dog training was at a puppy kindergarten and basic training program for dogs. I worked there for 6 years, then became the manager for another kennel, where I stayed for 7 more years before opening my own dog training business. My business continues to grow each year and I’ve been featured on local television programs talking about canine health and behavior issues as well as in newspapers talking about puppy development, food allergies in dogs, pet playgroups and much more.

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