Dr. Demian Dressler and Dr. Sue Ettinger discuss hemangiosarcoma, bleeding tumors, and what to keep in mind.
James Jacobson: One the types of cancer that is discuss in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide is Hemangiosarcomas. Dr. Dressler, I’ll throw this question out to you first. If you have a dog with Hemangiosarcomas, what do you likely looking out in terms of signs and symptoms?
Dr. Demian Dressler: Well, Hemangiosarcomas is tricky because it can occur in a variety of different areas in the body. It can occur in the skin and just right on the surface of the skin and those were not too bad. There’s a little kind of purplish lumps and it bleeds sometimes when they’re pressed or scratched. Those are usually not too bad, but if it invades deeper and there is a growth on the skin that is going down deeper underneath the skin, those are usually more malignant. Now the strange thing about Hemangiosarcomas is, it is characterized as a growth or a swelling that spreading off of the blood vessel and that can be connected to the signs on the dog and I’ll explaine why. Some of these dogs will have Hemangiosarcomas most commonly as a matter of fact in the spleen, the internal organ the spleen. Because of the fact that these tumors are connected to blood vessels, many times that bleed within the tumor itself or sometimes into the abdomen and these dogs can the first to show signs very very suddenly with all the said having decrease in energy level and weakness in the back legs to the extent that sometimes they’ll actually collapse and grow very very pale because one of these tumors is bleeding internally. There is a third or not a third but there is yet another form where it can sometimes affect the heart and those dogs will show signs of heart disease, and those, these dogs will have many times coughing, many times it’s going to be lethargy, sometimes abdominal swelling, sometimes laboured breathing, and also collapse. So, there’s a variety of different signs that you can see with Hemangiosarcomas all depending on where it pops up in the body.
James Jacobson: Dr. Ettinger, your thoughts of Hemangiosarcomas.
Dr. Susan Ettinger: Yeah, the most common form that I see of the different types of Hemangiosarcomas which is again a cancer of the blood vessels is the one of the spleen. That is a really frustrating cancer for both Oncologist and for the guardian it is an aggressive cancer, it fills with blood that as Dr. Dressler points out can cause internal bleeding and can really make a dog very sick very suddenly. But it’s also a very metastatic cancer and so we think about surgery that remove the spleen as the main treatment option, but again this is a cancer that is probably metastasize over yet at that time, and chemotherapy is typically used afterwards. But again it’s a frustrating cancer. It’s not one of the cancers where the survival times are as long as some of the other cancers and it’s a hard cancer for everyone involved.
James Jacobson: Dr. Dressler, any final thoughts on treatment options for Hemangio?
Dr. Demian Dressler: Yeah, many times surgery is something that will get the dog out of the immediate crisis that is remove the source of blood loses if it is from a bleeding internal tumor which is one of the most common presentations. We have to also remember that in addition to chemotherapy, a diet, diet change, healthy cancer diet is very important and we want to give supplements, there are certain natural compounds found in plants called apoptogens are better able to turn on cells suicide in cancer cells but this has been shown in petri dishes and in test tubes, and those are important to supplement as well, and of course we cannot forget life quality enrichment which is an important part for over all well-being and immune support and the different areas really a full spectrum care and helps these dogs with hemangiosarcomas.
James Jacobson: There’s a tremendous amount of information of hemangiosarcomas in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide. I want to thank both of you for joining us today. Dr. Ettinger in New York, Dr. Dressler in Hawaii, thank you.
Dr. Susan Ettinger: Thank you.
Dr. Demian Dressler: Thank you.
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