What is spleen cancer in dogs?
In dogs, the spleen plays a role in the immune system, helping the body fight infections and produce certain types of white blood cells. It also stores and forms new red blood cells and removes old red blood cells. At any given time, the spleen stores up to 20% of all red blood cells and 30% of the body's platelets.
The spleen is oblong in shape and is located in the abdomen below the stomach. Although the spleen plays a role in keeping animals healthy, it is not a vital organ and can be removed with little lasting effect.
Spleen tumors are very common in dogs, especially as they age. Because the spleen stores and produces red blood cells, even benign tumors can rupture and bleed, leading to acute illness.
Veterinarians classify tumors as follows:
Benign (not malignant)
Primary (originating in the spleen) or secondary (spreading from another tumor elsewhere)
Focal (localized to one area) or diffuse (distributed throughout the organ)
Hemangioma and hemangiosarcoma are two of the most common primary tumors in the spleen. Hemangiomas are benign, while hemangiosarcomas are malignant. The prognosis for
Any dog can develop spleen tumors, but older dogs and larger breeds are at greater risk. The highest risk breeds include:
german shepherd dog
Serra de Aires dog
Flat Coating Recovery(Video) Splenic Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs
benign tumors of the spleen
Benign spleen tumors are not cancerous, but they can be easily confused with malignant tumors. If veterinarians find tumors in the spleen, they may recommend additional tests to rule out further damage.
Malignant tumors of the spleen
Although the prognosis for benign tumors is generally good when detected early, the same is not true for malignant tumors. The outcome of malignant tumors varies according to the aggressiveness of the cancer. Common malignant tumors in the spleen
Lymphoma or Lymphosarcoma:This is a very variable type of round cell tumor that usually affects the lymph nodes and other organs. Lymphoma is typically aggressive with a poor prognosis.
Leukemia:Leukemia is typically a cancer of cells within the bone marrow, but it can originate in or invade the spleen. Canine leukemia is rare but usually has a poor prognosis with splenic involvement.
Other round cell tumors includemast cell tumors,plasma cell tumors, jmultiple myeloma. Prognosis varies with severity and metastasis, but is generally cautious.
Sarcoma Histiozytäres:This type of sarcoma is very common in Bernese Mountain Dogs, as well as other breeds. In most cases of histiocytic sarcoma, the prognosis is very poor to difficult.
As with all other types of splenic neoplasia, the type, aggressiveness and location determine the prognosis. There are many other less common types of malignant tumors of the spleen, mostly all with an equally poor prognosis, including:
Secondary tumors are also common in the spleen. These are caused by cancerous spread from elsewhere in the body. Because the spleen is highly vascularized, meaning it has an ample blood supply, it is a common site for secondary tumors.
Symptoms of spleen cancer in dogs
Signs of canine spleen tumors can be vague or even absent and are often found during a diagnostic test for other conditions. One of the main problems with most spleen tumors is rupture. Because the spleen contains many blood vessels, even benign tumors can rupture and cause slow or rapid bleeding. Slow bleeding has milder signs, while rapid bleeding can result in acute, severe, and life-threatening abdominal blood loss.
Common signs of a tumor or bleeding in the spleen include:
weakness(Video) SPLEEN cancer in the dog: Hemangioscarcoma
abdominal enlargement (such as bloating or swollen abdomen)
Causes of spleen cancer in dogs
The cause of most spleen tumors is unknown. German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers and Standard Poodles in general may have an increased risk of spleen tumors. Bernese Mountain Dogs and Smooth-Coated Retrievers may have a genetic link to histiocytic sarcoma. Spleen cancer can occur in dogs of any age, but veterinarians often diagnose it in older dogs.
How Veterinarians Diagnose Spleen Cancer in Dogs
Veterinarians may suspect a hemorrhagic splenic tumor based on clinical signs and physical examination alone. Sufficiently large tumors can be felt (palpated) through the abdominal wall, and there is often a rush of fluid in the abdomen due to bleeding.
Blood chemistry and complete blood count (CBC)
Veterinarians often recommend blood tests as the first step in determining overall health after diagnosing a spleen tumor. A tumor that bleeds or ruptures usually causes anemia (low red blood cell counts) and low platelets, which can be detected by a complete blood count. The blood chemistry panel can show problems common to many conditions, such as: B. Dehydration.
Because low platelets and other factors needed for blood clotting are common signs in some types of spleen tumors, clotting tests are done to determine if a dog is at risk for serious bleeding problems. This type of test (
X-rays, or X-rays, are helpful in determining the general size, shape, and location of the spleen in relation to other abdominal organs. Veterinarians may notice obvious masses in the spleen, or it may be generally enlarged and abnormally shaped. Vets will also want to take X-rays of the lungs to look for the spread of cancer.
Ultrasound allows for a more detailed analysis of the internal structure, location, and size of the spleen and other abdominal organs. Veterinarians also use ultrasound as a guide when taking biopsies, which is one way to get a definitive diagnosis. Veterinary radiologists examine the entire abdominal cavity for other tumors, abnormalities, and fluid.
Fluid analysis and cytology
A spleen biopsy can be done under ultrasound guidance with a large needle to collect a sample of spleen cells and during surgical removal of the spleen.
Treatment of spleen cancer in dogs
Regardless of whether a spleen tumor is malignant, removal of the spleen, called a splenectomy, is most commonly recommended to treat primary splenic tumors because even benign tumors can rupture and cause a life-threatening condition.
The surgery is relatively straightforward and may not require a veterinarian to perform, as many general practitioners are familiar with it. The spleen is not a vital organ, and as a result, veterinarians remove the entire spleen, not just the tumor.
A thorough study should be performed prior to surgery to assess your overall health and the spread of the cancer, known as the cancer stage. This may include blood tests, a chest X-ray, and an abdominal ultrasound. Based on the results of these tests, veterinarians will determine if a patient is a good candidate for surgical splenectomy.
In cases of advanced disease, spread of cancer, or poor surgical candidacy, surgery may not be recommended. However, there are cases of malignant tumors that can still benefit from splenectomy.
Veterinary oncologists usually recommend chemotherapy after removing spleen tumors, depending on the specific type of tumor. In some cases, depending on the type of tumor, chemotherapy is not necessary.
Medications are generally not a primary recommendation for dogs with splenic tumors. However, if a patient is not a candidate for surgery, medication can improve their quality of life. Dogs that have not had their spleen removed are still at risk of a ruptured spleen, and many veterinarians use the Yunnan Chinese herbal preparation Baiyao to control bleeding.
For some types of cancer, other medications such as steroids are prescribed. Unfortunately, these drugs do not cure anything and only improve the dog's quality of life in the short term.
Spleen cancer prognosis in dogs
The prognosis of spleen cancer varies according to the diagnosis. Benign tumors, particularly hematoma and other vascular tumors, may require splenectomy only if caught early to avoid rupture and bleeding. If the tumor was found accidentally and the animal is not actively sick, the prognosis with full lifespan can be excellent.
Patients with comorbidities or when benign tumors rupture chronically or acutely may also have coagulation problems and anemia and have a more cautious prognosis.
Malignant tumors have a more cautious than severe prognosis. Many dogs are not stable enough to undergo anesthesia due to changes in their blood and clotting factors. Because of this, many dogs undergoing emergency splenectomy die or are euthanized during the surgery.
Survival time after splenectomy ranges from less than one month to three months for dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma (one of the
Dogs that do not receive treatment for malignant hemorrhagic splenic tumors have an extremely poor prognosis. Tumors may bleed slowly and the dog will show various signs of illness and weakness. Tumors can also burst acutely and traumatically. Such dogs are seriously ill, weak and can die from blood loss. These patients should be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian to determine if surgery is still an option or if humane euthanasia is the best option.
Recovery and treatment of splenic cancer in dogs
Dogs that have had their spleen removed require normal postoperative care, including routine incision monitoring and pain management. You will likely have an incision from the sternum down to the pelvis. These patients should have decreased activity and incision control for at least 10 to 14 days.
All spleen tumors must be biopsied for a definitive diagnosis. Surgery can be curative for benign tumors without other diseases or complications.
For patients with advanced disease, reviews with surgeons and oncologists can be scheduled initially every 2 weeks and then every 1 to 3 months, depending on the schedule followed. Veterinarians will likely review blood work, X-rays, and ultrasound parameters during these visits to monitor disease progression and quality of life.
Depending on the severity of the condition, some complications may require more intensive care and monitoring, such as:
Continuous bleeding and blood loss.
Blood transfusions for clotting problems
Blood transfusions for blood loss.
Low blood pressure due to blood loss.(Video) Dog Spleen Tumor Natural Remedy - Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs
Frequently asked questions about spleen cancer in dogs
How long do dogs with spleen cancer live?
Depending on the type and severity, dogs with spleen cancer can live anywhere from weeks to months.
What happens to a dog with spleen cancer?
Dogs with spleen cancer are at high risk for blood loss from a hemorrhagic tumor, especially those with hemangiosarcoma.
Are spleen tumors in dogs painful?
Dogs may experience pain, especially if the tumor ruptures. They are occasionally asymptomatic.
Can spleen cancer in dogs be cured?
Some types of spleen cancer can be cured with surgery and chemotherapy.
1. Archer T, Sullivant A:Top 5 causes of splenomegaly in dogs. Clin Brief 2018 Banda 16(4)S.81-85
2. Remova Thamm D, SW:Various tumors: hemangiosarcoma. Withrow & MacEwen's Small Animal Clinical Oncology Saunders/Elsevier 2013 S. 679-88.
3. Batschinski K., Nobre A., Vargas-Mendez E., et al.:Canine visceral hemangiosarcoma treated with surgery alone or surgery and doxorubicin: 37 cases (2005-2014). Can Vet J 2018 vol. 59 (9) S. 967-972.
4. O'Brien D, Moore PF, Vernau W, et al.Clinical features and development in dogs with marginal splenic lymphoma. J Vet Intern Med 2013 Vol 27 (4) páginas. 949-54.
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The median survival time for dogs with splenic HSA that receive surgery and chemotherapy is approximately 4-6 months (compared to the 1-2 months with surgery alone).What are the final stages of spleen cancer in dogs? ›
Dogs who receive no treatment of malignant, bleeding splenic tumors have an extremely dire prognosis. Tumors can bleed slowly, with the dog showing varying signs of illness and weakness. Tumors can also rupture acutely and traumatically. These dogs are critically sick, weak, and can die from loss of blood.How fast do spleen tumors grow in dogs? ›
Malignant splenic masses frequently metastasize to the liver or heart. Either one is bad news, but you may find comfort in the certainty of the knowledge that your dog's prognosis is poor. Most dogs with malignant splenic masses succumb to their disease within a few months, sometimes even weeks, of surgery.Is spleen cancer in dogs fast growing? ›
As the spleen is made up of a large matrix of blood vessels, splenic tumours can become large very quickly due to their large blood supply. Hemangiosarcoma is a very aggressive and malignant splenic cancer in dogs that originates from blood vessels.How aggressive is spleen cancer in dogs? ›
Splenic hemangiosarcoma is a very aggressive cancer and, unfortunately, long-term control/survival is difficult to achieve. Our main goal when treating your pet is to provide good quality time for all of you.When should I euthanize my dog with hemangiosarcoma? ›
In other situations you may have a bit more time to think about when to euthanize your dog with hemangiosarcoma. This may be the case when the bleeding is currently slow or non-existent or when your dog has already had surgery to remove the splenic mass and is now starting to decline.Is cancer of the spleen painful? ›
Cancer that starts in or spreads to the spleen can cause it to enlarge. If this happens, you might: feel full after eating. have pain in the upper-left side of your belly.What do you feed a dog with spleen cancer? ›
Foods of interest in dogs with cancer include high quality protein such as dairy products made from goat or sheep, egg, low-mercury fish, organ and muscle meat preferable natural raised. Healthy, low glycemic (GI) carbohydrates such as sweet potato, broccoli, quinoa and gluten free oats.Can a dog survive cancer of the spleen? ›
Life expectancy. When a splenic mass is benign, your pet may live for many more years following the surgery. If the tumour has already spread, then your pet may live quite comfortably for an additional three to six months, before the spread of the cancer causes other issues such as bleeding or breathing difficulties.How long until a tumor kills a dog? ›
High grade tumors are associated with aggressive tumor behavior, and most dogs die within 4 to 6 months after surgery as a result of metastasis and tumor degranulation.
Tumors of the liver and spleen can also rupture. Rupture can occur spontaneously, without any traumatic injury, and cause bleeding into the abdomen. Signs of internal bleeding include lethargy, weakness, collapse, decreased appetite, and a distended abdomen.What causes a mass to grow on a dogs spleen? ›
Non-cancerous reasons for splenic tumors or splenic enlargement include various infections, immune-mediated diseases, and obstructions to blood flow through or out of the spleen.What is the fastest spreading cancer in dogs? ›
Hemangiosarcoma. Hemangiosarcoma is a highly malignant cancer that can spread rapidly, causing tumors almost anywhere in the body. It is most often found in the dog's heart and spleen. Many times it is in the advanced stage before it is diagnosed.What is the survival rate of a dog with a splenectomy? ›
The peri-operative mortality rate for dogs undergoing splenectomy is reported between 8 and 33% (1–5). In one study of 539 dogs undergoing splenectomy for splenic masses, 41 dogs (8%) died or were euthanized during or following surgery (5).How aggressive is spleen cancer? ›
PSA is a highly aggressive and extremely rare malignancy that originates from splenic vascular endothelium cells and has particularly poor survival outcomes. The first case of PSA was reported by Theodor Langhans in 1879 and since then only around 300 cases have been reported.What's the longest a dog has lived with hemangiosarcoma? ›
We report a case of a 6.5-year-old dog diagnosed with a splenic hemangiosarcoma and treated solely with micronized fenofibrate, administered orally once a day following splenectomy. The dog survived for over 26 months (804 days) after initial diagnosis without signs of adverse effects due to fenofibrate treatment.How fast does hemangiosarcoma spread? ›
Surgery is the primary method of treatment for most dogs with hemangiosarcoma, regardless of the location of the primary tumor. In most of these patients, the cancer will spread to other sites throughout the body 1-3 months after surgery.Does dog suffer when they have hemangiosarcoma? ›
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.How long can a dog live with splenic 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.How long can a dog live with untreated hemangiosarcoma? ›
Without treatment, most dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma of the internal organs will die within one to two weeks, although some can survive for several months.
There are, however, some external signs of internal bleeding, which can include any of the following: Your pet's gums appear pale to white. Your pet feels cool on the legs, ears or tail. Your pet is coughing up blood or having difficulty breathing.Where does spleen cancer spread to in dogs? ›
Hemangiosarcoma, a tumor that originates from blood vessels, is a malignant tumor that commonly spreads to the liver, lungs, heart, brain, spinal cord, skin and muscles. Other less common malignant tumors that affect the spleen include lymphosarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, fibrosarcoma and mast cell tumors.What percentage of spleen tumors in dogs are benign? ›
Overall, studies report that there is about a 50:50 chance that a splenic mass in dogs will be malignant (cancerous) versus benign. If the mass is an incidental finding and the dog is asymptomatic, one study indicated that 70.5% of canine patients are benign, which is good news.What are warning signs of the spleen? ›
- feeling full very quickly after eating (an enlarged spleen can press on the stomach)
- feeling discomfort or pain behind your left ribs.
- anaemia and fatigue.
- frequent infections.
- easy bleeding.
- Fish oil. ...
- Animal protein. ...
- Blueberries/Blackberries. ...
- Broccoli. ...
- Pumpkin. ...
- Turmeric. ...
- Coconut oil. ...
Be aware of signs of pain, discomfort, and distress in your dog. These signs are often dramatic and can be a clear indicator that euthanasia should be considered: Labored breathing: Difficulty catching their breath; short, shallow breaths; or wide and deep breaths that appear to be labored. Lack of appetite, lethargy.What not to feed a dog with cancer? ›
It is very important to avoid feeding raw diets or treats to pets with cancer! Raw meat, eggs, and milk carry high risk of bacterial contamination with Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Campylobacter, and other potentially dangerous bacteria. Freezing or freeze-drying do not make raw diets safe.Should I put my 15 year old dog through surgery? ›
Age is not a disease, and your dog is never “too old” to receive the quality care he or she needs, even if it requires anesthesia and surgery.What is the prognosis for cancer of the spleen? ›
The etiology of splenic angiosarcomas remains unclear and clinical presentations are variable. Abdominal pain is the most common symptom. The prognosis of PSA is very poor with a 20% survival rate at 6 months.Can spleen cancer in dogs be misdiagnosed? ›
Splenic hemangiosarcoma is challenging to diagnose as dogs often only show symptoms of disease in later and more progressed stages.
- Pain and discomfort. ...
- Loss of appetite. ...
- Weight loss. ...
- Vomiting. ...
- Diarrhea. ...
- Incontinence. ...
- Body odor. ...
- Dull eyes.
Usually surgical removal of the tumors is the best first step with any form of cancerous tumor in dogs. The oncologist will likely stage the disease to make sure it hasn't spread anywhere else and then have recommendations for any postop treatment that is needed after surgery. Good luck with surgery.What is Stage 1 hemangiosarcoma in dogs? ›
Stage I: Tumor smaller than 5 cms. Primary tumor only with no regional or distant metastasis. Stage II: Tumor greater than 5 cms. Ruptured tumor; confined regional metastasis, no distant metastasis.How long does it take for a spleen to rupture? ›
Your spleen may rupture immediately upon impact, or it may have a delayed rupture as a result of swelling from the injury.What are the signs of spleen problems in dogs? ›
Vomiting, inappetence, weight loss, low energy, pale mucus membranes (gums), or simply enlargement of their abdomen can be symptoms that a pet exhibits when there is a problem with their spleen. A veterinarian may incidentally find a mass when palpating the abdomen on yearly health exams.How do you get rid of spleen mass in dogs? ›
The only real treatment for splenic tumors is surgical removal of the spleen. The procedure is done under general anesthesia. An incision is made through the abdominal wall and the spleen is removed. In most cases this procedure goes smoothly and is not a high risk surgery.What to expect after dog had spleen removed? ›
Your pet may be groggy for the next few days. He or she may whine or appear more anxious than usual; this may indicate pain/discomfort or side-effects of the medications. Please call your veterinarian for assistance with medication adjustments or return for exam and additional pain medications as needed.How long can a dog live with a spleen tumor? ›
The median survival time for dogs with splenic HSA that receive surgery and chemotherapy is approximately 4-6 months (compared to the 1-2 months with surgery alone).How do I know if my dog is in pain from cancer? ›
- Excessive grooming.
- Increased vocalization.
Opioids include morphine and codeine. These are prescribed when advanced cancers cause prolonged, severe pain. Other types of pain medications that may be used include local anesthetics and alpha 2 agonists, although use of these medications is not as common as the use of other pain relievers.
No matter the age of the dog. Age is just a number, not a disease. I have performed splenectomies on 14-year-old dogs who have gone to live for another two years and died of old age.Do spleen tumors hurt dogs? ›
The spleen is located in the upper left part of the abdomen and splenic cancer typically doesn't cause pain as it grows. Tumours can grow quite large before causing any noticeable clinical signs. It is only when the tumour ruptures or starts to bleed that dogs may show signs of abdominal pain.Can an old dog live without a spleen? ›
Although it has several important functions, dogs can manage to live a normal life without a spleen if it has to be removed. The most common reasons for removal (splenectomy) are if the spleen has ruptured (usually after a road traffic accident), or if it develops a tumour.How fast does spleen cancer spread in dogs? ›
Malignant splenic masses frequently metastasize to the liver or heart. Either one is bad news, but you may find comfort in the certainty of the knowledge that your dog's prognosis is poor. Most dogs with malignant splenic masses succumb to their disease within a few months, sometimes even weeks, of surgery.What are the signs of spleen cancer in dogs? ›
Clinical signs of a splenic mass are commonly due to rupture of the mass and internal bleeding. These signs, which come on suddenly, include acute weakness or collapse, pale gums and a rapid heart rate. As the internal bleeding progresses, the abdomen becomes distended with blood.How long do dogs live with a spleen mass? ›
When a splenic mass is benign, your pet may live for many more years following the surgery. If the tumour has already spread, then your pet may live quite comfortably for an additional three to six months, before the spread of the cancer causes other issues such as bleeding or breathing difficulties.
Hemangiosarcoma - This form of cancer one of the most aggressive dog cancers and requires emergency intervention. Hemangiosarcoma tumors can grow very large and are often found in the spleen, but may grow anywhere blood vessels are present and can spread to the heart, lungs and other organs.Why do dogs get tumors on spleen? ›
Non-cancerous reasons for splenic tumors or splenic enlargement include various infections, immune-mediated diseases, and obstructions to blood flow through or out of the spleen. We have found some splenic tumors as part of routine physical exams; the owners had noticed no signs.Can dogs live a long life without a spleen? ›
Life without a spleen is still a great life!
Despite serving so many important functions for the body, a dog doesn't actually need a spleen. As long as your dog is otherwise healthy, he or she can continue to live a full and active life after the splenectomy recovery period.