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What's killing our dogs? - A dog's tale of Splenic Hemangiosarcoma


Splenic Hemangiosarcoma-The silent killer of all canine cancers.

Cancer accounts for almost half the deaths of dogs over 10 years old. This is a deeply personal account of Splenic Hemangiosarcoma (Spleen Cancer), an informative look at some facts, warnings, tests, the devastation it leaves in it's wake, and possible causes into the "Silent Killer" of the canine world. A "MUST READ" for all dog owners!


A Dark Day for our "Black Knight"

It was 9:23 in the morning on April 3, 2013. I was on my way back to work from break when my cell phone rang.I felt a sinking in the pit of stomach. As I answered, I could hear Diana’s desperate tears through the airwaves. “You need to come home. I can’t get Rocky to move. He won’t even pick up his head. Something is very wrong. I called the vet’s office and they can’t get him in until 4 o’clock today. I’m afraid he won’t make it. Come home, please.”

Home was a 40 minute drive away and I was terrified that I wouldn't make it in time.Tears streamed down my face as I thought to myself, “If I can get him to the vet’s office, we can save him”.I pulled into the driveway, dust flying and the car skidding to a stop. I ran inside to find Diana and our 6 year grandson, Emanuel, laying at Rocky’s side on the living room floor. Both of them talking to Rocky as the tears rolled down their cheeks. Rocky just laid there. He struggled to barely raise his head to look at me before dropping his head back down to the floor. I could see it in his eyes that he was scared, confused, & trying to hold on. This 126 pound loving, fearless Rottweiler was weak & didn't understand what was wrong with him.

I told Diana to call the vet’s office & tell them we were bringing him now. Emanuel & I struggled to get Rocky to the car. He tried his best to walk. He wobbled & dropped several times. As I got him into the back seat, I told Emanuel to get in and buckle up. Diana got in the car & as I drove, I prayed with all my heart. Something inside me knew, this was very bad.

We pulled into the vet’s office and I ran inside to tell them that I needed help. They gave me a towel to put under him for us to give him support to walk in so he wouldn't fall. He struggled a bit, but we made it into the room. I thought to myself, “He’ll be okay now. We’re here. They can fix whatever is wrong, give him some medicine and Rocky will be good as new in no time”.

The doctor came in and began examining him. She asked us when it had started and what were his symptoms. “It first started about 3 or 4 days ago. He started laying around more than usual, drinking a lot, wouldn’t eat now and then. Then this morning, he was laying on the bathroom tile instead of his bed. His abdomen seemed distended.

A couple of days ago, he fell walking. We thought it was his knee that he had ACL surgery on and thought maybe had exacerbated the old injury. He won’t take his medicine either. Then last night, he started heaving like he had to vomit so we helped him up to get him outside and he fell again doing a face splat in front of the door. When we helped him back to his feet and outside, he stepped off the first step and just layed down. He looked back at us with saddest eyes.

This morning, his breathing had become erratic. We've been trying to get an appointment to bring him in but you are so booked up. ” The vet looked at his gums as Rocky rumbled the “Rottie Rumble”. She said he was very anemic, and asked if we could hold him while she examined his belly. She was “uncomfortable” with his “growling”. We tried to explain to her that he wasn't growling. It was typical of Rottweilers to “talk” or, “rumble”. Still, we held him close. She felt his belly and then came the bad news.

The vet stood up and explained that Rocky had a Splenic Hemangiosarcoma. His abdomen was distended and he was terribly anemic because the tumor had ruptured and Rocky was bleeding out internally. She told us it was a genetic trait for this breed. Cancer was predominant for them. Our options were bleak and few.

We could opt for surgery but, she doubted he would make it due to his weakened state as a result of the blood loss and his age of 12 ½ years. If he made through the surgery, he would have a very long and painful recovery with a lot of risk for infection and a lot of pain. In most cases, when it has come to the point of the tumor rupturing, the cancer has spread to other vital organs of the body such as the liver, heart, and lungs, and sometimes the brain. Even after surgery, in most of the best cases the patient lives only painfully for 3 months, at most.

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The three of us looked at each other realizing our worst fears had come to tear our hearts out. Our final remaining option was to euthanize Rocky and spare him from his suffering. The vet left the room for us to make a decision. We knew what we had to do, but it ripped our hearts apart. We had raised Rocky since he was 8 weeks old. Now, over 12 years later, we were having to make a decision to say goodbye.

As the vet came in to give him the shot, we all three laid there with Rocky holding him, petting him, telling him that he was the best dog, we loved him and will always remember him. As I watched the vet administer the first shot of a series of two, a voice inside me screamed “No! Wait! Please don’t!”. I wanted to dive across Rocky knocking that needle out her hand. But I knew, we were doing the right thing. Rocky looked up, and gave Diana and I his last kiss and went to sleep seconds later.

The horrible events of that day, changed the course of life in our household. Days later, I went searching to find information on this “silent killer” that caused this. Upon doing so, I stumbled upon a wonderful group on Facebook that has helped us heal, understand, cope, and share with others our tragic story. They can be found at, Spleen Tumor in Dogs - Awareness Raising Group for Dog Owners

If you have the unfortunate time when you and your family are, or have already went, through the terrible events that we did on that fateful day, I strongly encourage you to join. There, I learned so much, shared, and received an outpouring of support from people I didn't know, yet we all shared a common bond. We lost that wonderful furry family member of ours to Hemangiosarcoma (Cancer).

One of the things that we had such a hard time understanding and coping with was, the suddenness of it all. But after doing the research, it is A - typical of the disease. When we look back now, we see that he wouldn’t eat for day or two and lay around. We would start to get alarmed and then he would spring back to himself like nothing ever happened. So, we would dismiss it to old age and his knee bothering him.

There are very few warning signs. Unfortunately, by the time you see warnings...(if you see warnings), its too late. Rocky had his annual exam just a year prior to this and passed with flying colors. His doctor felt his abdomen and everything. Rocky was a healthy, active, happy spoiled rotten Rottweiler. But yet, in matter of a year later, it was over.

Summer siesta with his buddy, Jasper

Summer siesta with his buddy, Jasper

It Happened So Sudden!

The silent killer strikes

Pet owners that have went through this devastating ordeal with their furry family member say, “ it happened so fast”, “he/she was just fine yesterday”, “my dog was playing and happy less than 24 hours ago”. I read them constantly. Its’ seemingly sudden appearance makes the grief and confusion so much worse. One would think that a disease so devastating would create very well known knowledge base in the arena of pet owners. Yet sadly enough, unless you've lived through it, you don’t hear much, if anything at all. But once it has touched your life, it etches a permanent mark in your brain and a gaping hole in your heart.

After reading countless stories from the pet owners that have lost their pets to this cancer, we all have some similar warning signs that when we reflect back onto the days or weeks prior to the passing of our beloved pet, we now notice. Some of those include extreme thirst, no interest in food of any kind, lying around more than usual (almost lethargic), & acting a little “wobbly”. Frequently, the pet owner would get alarmed, only to have the pet spring back to their normal selves the next day or two.

What is the spleen and what does it do?

The Spleen is an abdominal organ found near the stomach. It contains two types of tissues. Red pulp and white pulp. The primary job of the spleen (the red pulp) is to filter the blood by removing the old blood cells, and removing the good stuff like proteins and iron.

The Spleen also acts as a “factory” that stores blood cells for sudden burst of activity. In the white pulp, the Spleen contains large numbers of cells called, lymphocytes and macrophages. These are part of the immune system which spots foreign and potentially harmful infectious microorganisms. In a normal healthy Spleen, these cells would destroy the harmful threats and help to create an immunity from future threats.

When the Spleen has contracted a tumor, it prevents the normal function of the Spleen and the tumor can grow quite large without detection. Eventually, the tumor erupts and dog bleeds out internally very quickly in a matter of hours. This was the case with Rocky. Splenic Tumors can be benign or malignant (cancerous). Often, they spread to other internal organs such as the liver, lungs, heart, brain, and kidneys.

Six Most Common Forms of Cancer

According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine located in Ithaca, New York

Cancer is the number one concern for pet owners. There are six most common forms of cancer in pets. They are:

  1. Breast
  2. Skin
  3. Bone
  4. Connective Tissue
  5. Oral
  6. Lymphoma

Connective Tissue is the category in which Splenic Hemangiosarcoma falls under. However, let me be clear that a Connective Tissue cancer is not limited to the spleen.The reason a particular pet might develop cancer is not entirely crystal clear. But experts claim that Spleen Cancer is more predominant in the older (8 years and up), larger breeds. It is very aggressive and known as the “Silent Killer”, because there are virtually no warning signs.According to the VCA Animal Hospitals:

Splenic Hemangiosarcoma is a result of non-lethal genetic damage to the cells, with external contributory factors such as radiation, chemicals, hormones, and infections. It is a cancer of the endothelial cells - cells which line the blood vessels.”

Is this news to you?

Waiting for Santa

Waiting for Santa

5 Known Carcinogens (cancer causing agents)

The Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research, which operates through Cornell University College School of Veterinary Medicine states:

There are five known carcinogens which factor into the development of various cancers. Carcinogens are what is known as cancer causing agents. These carcinogenic agents are:

  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Second-Hand smoke
  • Radiation exposure
  • Some viruses

Other Known Carcinogens Found In Dog Foods

Recently, I have been asked about other known Carcinogens found in dog food. During the course of research for this article, I found it necessary to seek these out. While I did not initially include this list in the original publishing of this article because it "opens another jar of worms", it has peeked the interest of a few readers and thus my decision to include it . I hope you find this list to be informative and helpful. Please utilize the information that you find in this article as a whole when you come to your conclusions as I have.

  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) - Antioxidant and preservative in food
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) - Antioxidant additive in such diverse products as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, electrical transformer oil and embalming fluid
  • Ethoxyquin - Pesticide, component for manufacturing rubber and a hardening agent
  • Propylene glycol - The key component in antifreeze
  • Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) - Stabilizer for certain explosive compounds, additive to make varnishes, lacquers, and other resins
  • Propyl gallate - Utilized as a female hormone-like compound
  • Mixed Tocopherols - "RED WARNING FLAG" This is just blanket definition on an ingredient list that is used to deceive the consumer into thinking, "there's nothing bad in here you should worry about!" LIE, LIE, LIE!

Top 3 Problematic Food Dyes Found in Dog Foods:

  1. Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
  2. Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine)
  3. FD&C Red No. 40

Fillers and Emulsifiers Used in Dog Food:

Arsenic - Frequently found in the processing of brewers brown rice

L-alanine - Non-essential amino acid used as supplement in heavy grain-based foods

Carrageenan - A seaweed extract that provides no nutritional benefit to the pet. It's only purpose is to keep the pet food together as a thickener. Carrageenan is a gel-like substance that coats the stomach.

Treat time!

Treat time!

10 Warning Signs of Cancer

While many cancers grow relatively undetected initially, there are key subtle warnings you should be on the look out for. Take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital for examination should you begin to notice these following 10 signs noted by the Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research.

  1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  2. Sores that do not heal
  3. Weight loss
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  6. Offensive odor
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
  8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

Diagnosis and Testing

Can we detect Spleen Cancer with proper diagnostic testing?

Diagnosing canine cancer of any kind can be a task. Some cancers simply aren't a sign hanging around your dog's neck saying, "I'M A CANCEROUS TICKING TIME BOMB! "Spleen Cancer is one of those tricky, sneaky silent ones, even more so than others. It is elusive without continual preventative testing which can be costly, to say the very least. A key is to remember is that knowledge is a valuable tool for prevention.

According to The National Canine Cancer Foundation, Splenic Hemangiosarcoma is responsible for a heartbreaking 45-51% of all tumors found in dogs. These type of tumors are the most commonly diagnosed, and the deadliest. The typical time-frame between diagnosis of the tumor & the death of the dog is between 6-8 weeks. The top nine breeds predisposed to this cancer are (but not limited to):

  1. Labradors
  2. German Shepherds
  3. Golden Retrievers
  4. Rottweilers
  5. Portuguese Water Dogs
  6. Bernese Mountain Dogs
  7. Flat Coated Retrievers
  8. Boxers
  9. Skye Terriers

Currently, there are active research studies being conducted for the development and detection of spleen cancer - as well as other canine cancers. Preventive early annual and semi-annual testing you can seriously consider for your dog are as follows:

  • VDI-TKcanine+ Blood Test: measures an enzyme in the dogs blood called Thymidine (TK for short). TK is released into the bloodstream by cells that are undergoing unusually rapid cell division, which is a typical trademark for cancer.
  • Chest Xrays
  • Ultra Sound: Splenic Tumors can grow quite large and often will not show up on a general x-ray.
  • Physical Examination for unusual lumps & bumps
  • Check gums for paleness
  • Routine blood tests checking the function of the liver, kidneys, spleen and heart.

If your dog ever has the misfortune of a Splenic Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis, you will need to discuss options with your veterinarian and do a lot of soul searching. The overall prognosis will vary from case to case. However, a Splenectomy is a must for any hopes of survival no matter how bleak the chances may be. This is a surgical procedure to remove the Spleen and ultimately, the tumor.

Prior to surgery, further diagnostic testing such as ultrasound, CAT/MRI Scans, and blood testing will be performed in order to establish if the patient is a good candidate for surgery. Many important factors are considered such as age, anemia, otherwise good health, tumor eruption, and whether or not the tumor has spread to other areas of the internal organs.

Median survival for dogs treated with surgery alone is sadly 90 days. With addition of Chemotherapy, that survival rate is an approximate mere 180 days. As my vet recently put it, Chemotherapy for dogs is not like it is for humans. With dogs, it is to make them more comfortable without as many side effects as with humans. With humans, it is to keep us living longer because we don't have a choice to end our misery.

There have been cases of survival if the tumor is not malignant. However, in many cases, the tumor returns to start the tumultuous cycle all over again. Patients with non-ruptured spleens are known to have better chances of survival.

How is a Canine Splenectomy performed?

Crimes Against Humanity

Hereditary Genetics or Genetic Tampering?

Canine Cancer On the Rise - Why, and is there a connection between humans and our pets?

The question of why cancer is on the rise remains. I will attempt to give you my synopsis as to the why. I'll admit that I am no expert in the field of veterinary medicine, cancer research, nor biology. However, I believe in thing called, “common sense” and a thirst for knowledge.

I believe that I can draw some light on why based on; my past experiences, listening to those of countless others with the same encounters, a series of basic common denominators and a ever-building knowledge base of the biochemical industry and the powerful influences in today’s world of food supply - both human and pet.

We wish to present some facts and theories for you to ponder about dog foods, GMO grains (Genetically Modified Organisms), a few common denominators, and ideas to perhaps prevent and make a difference in the overall health of your dog. Please remember to always keep an open mind and above all, question for yourself the things you read and are told.

Experts claim the causes of spleen cancer are largely unknown, but contend there are some hereditary/genetic factors involved. I can believe this theory but, not in its entirety. As we all know, cancer is on the rise on a global scale. And not just with canines! This type of widespread rise cannot be simply chalked up to hereditary coincidence.

Our choices as a modern society have a serious impact on our pets - as wells as humans, the environment, and the wildlife that we co-exist with on this planet. As I have stated before, I've read too many heartbreaking stories of dogs that have fell victim to this. We find ourselves asking the question, what is the common denominator?

Are the vaccines, medications, water, environment, food, genetics, breed, or age to blame? Sure, all of these can greatly affect biological and ecological function. But are they the sole cause? Rocky is not the only dog we have to show signs in the final stages of their cancer. We have an American Staffordshire Terrier that is LOADED with lumps, bumps, and growths. We also have a St. Bernard that has developed two lumps in this past year.

The fact of the matter is, dogs as young as one year old contract the disease. Large breeds as well as the miniature dogs contract it. Dogs that don’t take any medications, along with dogs that take many. Country dogs, city dogs. City water, well water, and even bottled water. It just hasn’t mattered. Splenic hemangiosarcoma has touched them all.

We are left with one other possibility. The food. Yes, the brand and type of food varies. But when you start looking at the labels, the ingredients start to blend the common denominators in a deadly mixing bowl of carcinogens and toxins like an evil witch’s brew. “You are what you eat” plays a major role in our health. The same goes for our pets. Sometime, pick up the package of dog food that you are about to feed your dog, and read the label carefully. Then, go put that paper weight computer of yours to good use and do some time well spent research on the ingredients you see listed. Then, dig even deeper.

Who makes the decisions as to what gets put on your pet’s food label? What are all those ingredients that you can't even begin to pronounce? Is it man made or all natural? What is GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)? I don’t see that listed and is it in my dog’s food?

The answers you find to these questions will terrify you. Who calls the shots with regards to your pet's food? Let us start there. The four regulating bodies in the pet food industry that govern what is acceptable or illegal, and which dictate what must be on the label are as follows:

  1. American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) - Not to be confused with a regulatory authority nor a government agency. Their job is to establish guidelines and definitions for animal feed.
  2. FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) - A branch of the FDA that regulates dog food ingredients.
  3. Pet Food Institute (PFI) - Represents 98% of the pet food industry that is produced in the U.S
  4. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Their job is to regulate pet food labeling and pet food ingredients.

For a more detailed look into the definitions aforementioned and their job functions, I invite you to visit a very informative website called . The website has some very good useful information on both the dog food industry regulation parties, but also rating many brands of dog foods. Another dog food research site is the .

One would think that having those regulatory agencies in place would assure safe ingredients in our pet’s food. But one must remember that it's a business where the “bottom line” is their number one concern. The “Bottom Line” equals poor low grade ingredients, ingredients made in China, and the use of genetically engineered ingredients such as GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) corn, wheat, soy, & sugar beet to name a few. The University Of Kentucky College of Agriculture States:

“Bt (Maize)Corn is a type of genetically modified organism, termed GMO. A GMO is a plant or animal that has been genetically modified through the addition of a small amount of genetic material from other organisms through molecular techniques. Currently, the GMOs on the market today have been given genetic traits to provide protection from pests, tolerance to pesticides, or improve its quality. Examples of GMO field crops include Bt-potatoes, Bt-corn, Bt-sweet corn, Roundup Ready soybeans, Roundup Ready Corn, and Liberty Link corn. ”

Under current laws and regulations in the U.S., if the manufacturer did not create the ingredient, they aren’t required to list it on the ingredient label. For instance, if they are using GMO corn that they didn’t grow, (which accounts for 88% of all corn), they do not have to divulge the fact that the ingredient is GMO.

The biotech industry responsible for the birth of the GMO crops is none other than Monsanto (now owned by Bayer Corporation), one of the “Big 6” leading Herbicide and Pesticide manufacturers.

Remember the list of known carcinogens mentioned earlier? Genetically modified creations such as corn, soy, canola, alfalfa, papaya, sugar beets, cotton, zucchini and summer squash have continuously demonstrated; tumors, cancers, deformities, mutations, and even death laboratory testing.

Research has proven that the deadly concoction used in these GMO seeds known as Bt Toxin, is not digested in the digestive tract of humans or animals. Rather, its presence not only remains but is also known to transfer to the fetus via the umbilical cord through to the embryo. Thus, “genetically transferred” to a new generation. Yet, they continue to create these evil seeds of death.

GMO grains are continually used in pet foods due their inexpensive availability to pet food manufactures - among many other known carcinogens. But we choose to believe the “honesty” in the packaging that we read. We don’t use the voice of reason and question what we see.

I was born and raised on a farm. Its common sense that if a chicken eats GMO corn, that the chicken becomes a part of that GMO. Thus, its meat and organs. “You are what you eat”! You may buy dog food that boasts, “grain-free”. But does it have chicken, beef, turkey, duck, venison salmon or lamb that is GMO grain fed and are those so-called “meat by-products” in that food? Even farm-raised salmon is a GMO product now and readily available.

It is frustrating beyond compare when trying to feed our pets and protect them as well as they protect us. Many have went to feeding their dogs a RAW diet. Is it any better? I believe that it has its perks. But remember, where did that meat ingredient come from? What was it fed?

In 2009, research was conducted by De Vendomois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Seralini GE entitled “ A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health”. They stated as follows:

“Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded”.

I can’t tell you what brand to feed or whether a RAW diet is for you. I can’t tell you for sure that GMO grains, or other carcinogenic ingredients in our pet’s food are the source of our canine cancers. However, the food seems overwhelmingly the common denominator. Where I come from, if it walk likes a duck and quacks like a duck...then it’s a duck!

Since Rocky’s death, we started feeding our dogs a completely grain-free diet and continually monitor other ingredients in their food. Whether or not this will give my dogs a better fighting chance, I can’t positively say. I can, however, tell you this much...

On April 3rd, I lost my best friend. My “other child”. He kept me safe from harm day or night, rain, snow or shine. He kissed away my fears, kept my socks warm, greeted me everyday with a warm loving heart, made me laugh, hogged the bed and blankets, got under my skin, and not-so-patiently fished with me. He looked into my soul with his big brown eyes and stole my heart away. He trusted in me that I would keep him safe and make the right decisions. On that day, I couldn’t help but feel like had failed him.

I vowed to learn and share all I could about his cancer in hopes that maybe one day it would prevent another dog from dying needlessly from this cancer. There is a wealth of information out there about canine cancers of ALL kinds, pet food ingredients and their effects, along with Genetically Modified Organisms. But if you don’t know it exists, you won’t even look. I’m here to tell you that these things are here. They’re real. They kill. Please...act on it. Do your research. Don’t give in to frustrated hopelessness. Don’t take “I don’t know” for answer. Your pet is an extension of your family. They are a part of YOU.

Campaigning To Keep Us In The Dark

Leveraging the consumer health for corporate profits

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) states that the I-522 bill in Washington State, and the Proposition 37 in California that would require foods containing Genetically Engineered ingredients be labeled as such was defeated by a narrow margin. According to the CFS:

" big food and chemical companies dumped millions of dollars into defeating the initiative, with a carefully coordinated smear campaign to mislead voters. These out of state companies poured a state-record $22 million dollars into the “No” campaign in Washington, and a shocking $45 million into the “No” campaign in California last year."

So, my question to you is this...If the Genetically Engineered Foods are so great for us, than why is it food and chemical companies feel the need to pour out a total of $67 MILLION DOLLARS to convince us that it doesn't need to be labeled?

Please, take some time to educate yourself. Don't take my word for it. You can start here. Watch this highly accredited documentary.

What's In Your Dog's Food Bowl?

Please feel free to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences HERE! I would love to hear them!

AnnabelK on June 27, 2017:

This is all so similar to what I have been through lately. My beautiful Golden Doodle was rushed to emergency 10 days ago. I am kicking myself now as she was displaying signs of lethargy for several weeks but she had an eye infection and I kept thinking that was the problem. She saw two different vets and despite blood tests showing anemia - neither one picked up on it. It wouldn't have made much difference except that it would have saved the trauma of 5 days in emergency. In emergency they pretty much knew right away what it most likely was. They removed her spleen and a large growth on her liver but could see more. The pathology report came back confirming metastatic hemangiosarcoma. We are devastated. The emerge vet told us she may only live 2-3 weeks as this cancer is so aggressive. Our dog was on raw from 8 weeks old and has been incredibly healthy. I also thought that the fact she was a mixed breed prevented certain health issues that attack pure-breds. But her best friend - a labradoodle - also died of this a month ago. I have pulled out all the stops now that she is recovering from the surgery and is eating again. I have her on I'm Yunity - yes - really expensive - and I'm adding a lot of supplements. Also thinking of getting a PEMF mat - also stupidly expensive. Has anyone had any experience of those? I tend to be pretty cynical about this type of thing but it's funny how cynicism goes out the window when desperation takes over. This dog is the lynchpin of our family and I feel like I will go to the ends of the earth for her. I also saw a book on line called Henry's Amazing Dog Cancer Diet. Has anyone read it? I'm a little reluctant to spend more money on top of the thousands already spent to buy a book that tells me processed food is bad especially when I've never had her on processed food. But if it's truly comprehensive maybe it would be helpful. The search and suggestions, diet and supplements are endless and you can make yourself crazy on the Internet all day long. But here I am - making myself crazy, looking for anything that might help.

Gina Levinson on December 03, 2016:


My lab Molly collapsed 6 months ago tomorrow 12/4/16. She had not been right for about a year. Vets put what appeared to be pain from deep breathing down to a damaged thoracic disc. That is until she collapsed due to a ruptured tumor on her spleen. Surgery was done to remove the spleen. Molly really struggled and ended up in ICU due to a rapid heart rate. Things stabilized and she was given 3 to 6 months to live and I was also told let her eat whatever she wanted. I started researching and found the mushroom extract called Im-Unity. I took her to an Oncologist who recommended chemo together with Im-Unity. I do have insurance on Molly but opted not to subject her to chemo as she is already 13 years old. I decided to go it alone with Im-Unity. I was also told by the Oncologist to use DHA. This made Molly throw up so I stopped giving it. We went to a holistic vet who also recommended Yunnan Baiyo for blood control. I feed Molly commercially prepared grain free canned food ranging from a TSC brand to Evo to Blue Hearty Stew. She has episodes where she is breathing heavy. I have come to realize that she is probably having a bleeding episode and I double up on the Yunnan Baiyo till she settles. All in all she is doing well with a good quality of life. She sleeps a lot but is old anyway. So far she has beat the odds all the doctors gave her by using the holistic treatment and taking the approach less is more. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but approaching the 3rd month I was filled with anxiety as to what to expect and now approaching the 6 month tomorrow I am filled with a similar anxiety. If we get through tomorrow then I know its in God's hands and some really good holistic supplementation. As it turns out Molly's insurance covers the supplements at 90%. Im-Unity is not cheap. It averages $245 a month. Having the insurance has made it a viable treatment option. Good luck with your dog and don't give up. If I had we would not be where we are today.

Lauriel on October 12, 2016:

Thank you for your wonderful information and support. I'm truly sorry for your loss of Rocky.

My 11 yr. old American Pitbull Skylar had a spleenectomy on July 29 for a non-bleeding mass. Although the literature says there are few warning signs, I had noticed Sky tired very quickly on our walks, was eating a LOT of grass and had stopped jumping up on my bed in the middle of the night. When he began throwing up I knew something was wrong. I'm hoping we got to this early enough to give him a longer lifespan. AFter the surgery the vet told me he had 4-6 months, so "just take him home and give him lots of ice cream", her way of giving love, I guess. Since cancers thrive on sugars I began researching alternatives instead, and now include probiotics, fish oil, digestive enzymes, Essiac for Pets, Super Shrooms (cancer fighting mushroom extract for dogs), Sardines (the literature suggests increasing protein and sardines are top of the list), Immune builders like K-9 Immunity Plus chews, and an unusual homemade concoction called the Budwig Protocol, in his diet. All of you with dogs with this condition, please research Budwig online. A woman from Best Friends told me she's aware of very good results using it. And a friend whose dog died of a spleenic hemangioma gave me a bottle of Swanson's Turkey Tail Mushrooms which I will slip into Skylar's Budwig "snack" tonight.

Today Sky would not eat his supper and has been sleeping in his bed for hours. The monthly supply of supplements aren't cheap, but I'd like to think they're doing him good, but it's clear he does not like his food now. He doesn't understand me when I say it's to keep him strong so we can be together longer. He just sniffs it and looks at me like "Really? You expect me to eat this?" I feed him Costco's Kirkland brand grain-free, organic kibble mixed with organic dehydrated grain-free mixes from The Honest Kitchen.

It's hard to know if refusing to eat or sleeping all day are age or cancer related, but I'm giving it my best shot. Can't imagine losing my happy, funny mama's boy.

Thanks again.

Victoria on September 22, 2016:


My dog just had the emergency splenectomy. Don't know if the tumors were cancer as yet. But there was no other visible cancer.

Just wanted to add that my 8 yr old dog was fed raw from 8 weeks of age. We tried to feed organic meat. But she did chew a lot of marrow bones from regular cows so could have ingested hormones etc from that.

Teresa on September 11, 2016:

My dog jaz who would have been 10 next month had his spleen out 5 weeks ago due to a bleed , the vet took his spleen out and he was running around eating well, we were never told by our vet he would only live weeks or maybe months , after 5 weeks he collapsed took him to the emergency vet and he said he was bleeding internally again and there was nothing he could do for him, I don't regret the removing of his spleen as we had a fantastic 5 weeks with. Hi pain free. Just that the vet should tell you what the options and time rate after they take his spleen out

Nigel on July 04, 2016:

I just lost my dog misty to it heartbreaking

Yorkielover on March 12, 2015:

I just lost my Yorkie Snickers to this disease. He wasn't well for a year and the vet couldn't find anything in the X-ray or the ultrasounds or biopsy. By the time they did exploratory surgery it was too late. It had spread to his liver and intestine he was only 6 1/2 yrs old. It's been two weeks since we had to let him go and we are still devastated. Your article is right, as I have searched why this happened I can only come to the conclusion that it was the dry food I gave him. He started to chew his feet a year ago and the vet said it was allergy but as I have discovered, it was a sign of liver disease. The spleen wasn't even working by the time we found out it was too late. He started getting bloody diarrhea in December and became anemic, had a blood transfusion and we still couldn't save him. I had Yorkies before who lived to 16 and 14 yrs old but I always fed them their own fresh food of rice and chicken or chopped meat. Snickers I decided to give dog food because my vet said not to feed table food. What a terrible mistake . I will never be able to forgive myself for denying this precious dog a long life but I am angry that these companies like Monsanto and our own FDA are part of the problem. Sorry for all of your losses but we must alert the animal lovers of this country what they are doing to our pets. God Bless

k9goodfood on December 10, 2013:

With processed food, you have to switch foods and it is likely that the heavy grain.

Faith Doddington (author) on November 26, 2013:

@RottweilerLover: I'm so very sorry to hear about your baby. Rottweilers have a special place in my heart. Rocky was the same with us. He was attached to us at the hip. He was so in tune with us like no other dog had been before. You certainly have had your share of cancer run-ins. We were also very hesitant getting another dog. As I wrote in this article, we have 2 other dogs that are between 14-16 years old with lumps and bumps on them. But, we come to the conclusion that Rocky wouldn't want us to give up like that. He never could stand to us sad. So, we opted to adopt Zachariah (Zach for short). He is a 1 1/2 year old Chocolate Lab/Terrier mix that had been found abandoned in house that moved and left him behind as a pup. He has been the sweetest boy. While he's not Rocky, he possesses a lot of his qualities with his own special quirks. We're very glad we took the step to adopt him. We still miss Rocky terribly. This Christmas will be especially hard without him, as Rocky loved Christmas. But with a new year on the way, we will give another special dog the Christmas Rocky would have enjoyed as all dogs should have the opportunity to experience. Please give your heart time to heal, time to ready itself to love again, and reconsider giving another dog a loving home. I have a feeling you provide a loving home for them that would make a difference for one lucky dog. Happy Thanksgiving, and try to remember through your sadness to thank heaven for the time we were blessed to have our babies for.

RottweilerLover on November 26, 2013:

@youkerimeaway: There is a group on Yahoo Groups called The Sumner Foundation. It is a group of people with dogs with Hemangiosarcoma. They discuss supplements that they are using for their dogs to try to fight this horrible cancer. Some of them are having success. I, unfortunately, was not one of them. I tried everything I could but nothing worked. There is a chinese herb called Yunnan Baiyao that helps with the bleeding. Join the group and try everything you can. I just wish something would have helped my dog. Maybe it will help yours.

RottweilerLover on November 26, 2013:

I lost my 5 year old Rottweiler to Hemangiosarcoma 9 weeks ago. She only lived 7 weeks after diagnosis. I have cried every day. I still cannot believe it. She was my best friend. She was by my side every minute of the day. She slept with me, ate with me. She was the kindest, sweetest and most gentlest dog that I have ever known.

I had never heard of hemangiosarcoma until the end of July. I have read everything that I can find on it trying to find out why this happened. I came across your site yesterday and I think you have hit the nail on the head. I fully believe it is the GMO food. They are poisoning our animals and our kids. We really need to pull together as a group and do something about this.

I lost my last dog 5 1/2 years ago to bone cancer. She was 13 1/2 Doberman/Rottweiler mix. I lost a 7 year old cat 11 years ago to bone cancer. The 5 year old Rottweiler is too much to bear. I will not get another dog because I could be dealing with this again in a 2 year old! It is unbelievable.

Faith Doddington (author) on November 09, 2013:

@youkerimeaway: Keri, I am sincerely so sorry to hear about Riley. I'm very happy though, that you are able to enjoy a little more time with him. Spoil him rotten! Watch sunsets together, have long talks, pet him while he falls asleep, take him for rides all he wants, and try not to let him see you cry. A started to tear up reading your story about Riley because hits so close to home. Still, even 7 months later, we have a crater in our hearts. Their big hearts leave such loving paw prints on our very souls. The driving force to write this was because I have read these horrifying, heartbreaking stories so often that, I had to do something to bring more attention to this disease and its causes in hopes that eventually it can make a difference. When we joined the Facebook group, it had just a little over 300 members. To know that there has been that many dogs die from this on one website alone is bad enough. Now, 7 months later, that group has 653 members to date that have lost their dogs to this. That is terrifying! If this were human beings dying at this rate, it would be considered an epidemic of major proportions and would be a national broadcast. My family's heart goes out to you and your family. I am very happy that you chose to join the Facebook group. It was our saving grace. Know that you are not alone. You have more than 653 hugs for you, Riley, and you family. Thank you so for sharing your story. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Give a Riley a hug an smooch for me. I'll see you on the group page. My name is Faith Doddington.

youkerimeaway on November 08, 2013:

Thank you so much for posting this. Our family dog, Riley, who is 11.5 years old was diagnosed with a tumor of the spleen 2 days ago, November 6, 2013.

I found Riley lying outside of my bedroom door which was very unusual as it was his dinner time. He has his internal clock set to alarm at 8 A.M. for breakfast and 6 P.M. for dinner each day. It was about 5:55 P.M. so he should have been running around harassing everyone to feed him by this time. I stepped over him to grab a phone charger from my room and came back out, stepping over him again as I walked out. I felt something wasn't right so I turned back and called his name. No response. At this point I was scared he had passed away, being an older dog and all, but then noticed his eyes were still moving. I called my brother out of his room to come help me. We tried to help him lift his head but he couldn't. Tears immediately sprang to my eyes as I picked him up and handed him to my brother, quickly told my mom what was happening, and we rushed to the emergency vet's office. By the time we arrived (about 20 minutes later) Riley was starting to act normal. In the exam room he was walking around, wagging his tail, and waiting at the door to escape. At this point I figured we must have just overreacted. Riley must be fine.

The vet came in and gave him a physical. She suggested we could do X-rays and/or blood work to see if anything came back abnormal. We decided to go ahead and do X-rays just to be sure. 10 minutes later the vet came in and pulled the X-rays up on a monitor. I'm actually about to graduate from X-ray tech school so I thought it was cool to see my dog's abdomen/chest X-rays... that is until the vet pointed out the huge mass blocking any visualization of the spleen.

She explained that a mass of this nature is commonly hemangiosarcoma. The only way to tell if it was malignant or benign would be to perform a test of the spleen (a splenectomy). She then discussed possible treatments if it was in fact malignant. The mass, which takes up about 1/3 of the width of his abdomen, had a small bleed which is what caused his collapse and anemic state. Once the body stopped the bleed and absorbed the leaked blood is when he began feeling better and acting normal. Surgery to remove the mass is an option but the prognosis isn't good. It can buy the dog a little extra time but then there's the risk of infection and the painful recovery time and even the chance he wouldn't make it through the surgery because of his age. The vet also suggested euthanasia as a possibility to avoid any suffering. That was not an option for us, especially with him bouncing back so quickly the way he did. We decided to take Riley home and we're now just trying to make his last days/weeks/months as happy as possible.

I'm scared that every time I leave home, it may very well be the last time I see Riley alive. I don't think he minds having cancer seeing as how we all are feeding him extra scraps, giving him more back scratches, and constantly doting over him. I've set up a photography session for him next week and ordered a clay paw print kit, just to have some keepsakes once he's gone. I've also ordered Yunnan Baiyao after reading several excellent reviews on Amazon. It's supposed to stop internal bleeding to an extent. Anything that I can do to make Riley more comfortable, I will do it.

I'm so sorry your Rocky's first rupture was his fatal one. This cancer is so sudden and so heartbreaking. It makes us feel completely helpless to our furry family members. I joined the Facebook group you suggested and it really does help to read other people's stories. I had never even heard of hemangiosarcoma until Riley was diagnosed. Now I have other people to reach out to who can relate to what we are going through. Thanks again.

Keri Snyder

Faith Doddington (author) on November 04, 2013:

@SusanDeppner: Thank you so much, Susan. What kind of dog did you have? From what you explained, it definitely sounds like a ruptured Spleen Tumor. Its heartbreaking, and so sudden.You feel so helpless. to spite Rocky's age, he was always very lively, ready to play, and happy. He was our grandson's, Emanuel's, best friend (pictured in the wagon together). We happened to be watching Emanuel the week this happened. So, Emanuel had the unfortunate fate to be there with us when we had to let Rocky go. Emanuel was 6 years old. Something a little boy should never have to go through. We are healing slowly. Joining Spleen Tumor in Dogs-Awareness Raising Group for Dog Owners on Facebook helped an immense amount. We didn't feel so alone, we had someone to share our grief with that understood our dog wasn't JUST a dog. You might want to consider joining and telling your son about it. Writing this has helped some. What happened to Rocky changed our lives. I learned so much as a result. i would like to think that I can make a difference and maybe help save another dog's live one day if more people are aware of the disease, GMO's, and the carcinogens in their food. That is my hope, my driving force. Rocky was an amazing dog. Sometimes, I swear I still feel him here.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on November 04, 2013:

I have to wonder if this is what my son's dog died from. The symptoms were very similar and sudden, though he didn't make it to the vet. The autopsy report had something to do with a tumor on the spleen that had burst (as I understand it second-hand), something that was not suspected even though they had him to the vet not very long before that for another reason. Very, very sad. Our son and his family miss their precious dog so much. I am so very sorry for your loss and very appreciative that you shared this information.

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