On January 4, 2003 Savannah was rushed to the ER vet after colapsing at the groomers. This was the beginning of our journey
together through canine cancer, specifically Hemangiosarcoma.
Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer that spreads rapidly because it is in the bloodstream. This type of cancer tries to build
blood vessels in a haphazard fashion which essentially makes blood blisters and disrupts nurmal organ function.
At the ER they discovered that her white blood cell count was down way to low so she was given 2 blood transfusions the
night of January 4. They also discovered on the x-rays that she had a mass on her spleen. We transfered her to Georgia Vet
Specialist on January 5. At the specialist they did ultra-sounds and determined that the mass on the speen was indeed a tumor.
The options were A-to remove the tumor and do a biopsy, B-leave the tumor alone and try to take care of it through medication.
I chose option A, there was no way I was going to leave a large tumor, 1/2 the size of her little body inside of her. On January
8 Savannah underwent a splenectomy. They had to remove the whole speen in order to completely remove the tumor. While performing
the splenectomy they discovered leisions on her liver as well. A biopsy was done on the spleen and on the liver. On January
10, almost one week since she was admitted to the ER I was allowed to bring my baby girl home. She was feeling very good and
healing extremely well. On Monday January 11 the vets called to inform me that the biopsy results were back and that Savannah
did indeed have cancer, Hemangiosarcoma. I frantically started researching this cancer. I started her on a holistic diet and
after much debate with myself decided to go ahead with chemotherapy for her.
I had done my research and found other dogs that had survived this type of cancer for up to a year, some that had only
made it a few months. My little girl was strong up until the very end and her fight was extremely short, only 19 days.
Of those 19 days there were only a few bad days, for the most part she was feeling very good, she was onry, frisky, sassy
Savy! She was still playing with her beanie babies, growling at the puppy and wanting to go everywhere with me. On January
13, her blood cell count had gone up, I was very happy. Then on January 14 around 7pm she started acting strange, wanting
to be picked up and when she would try to follow me around she would bump into the walls. That night around 11pm she started
pacing, this lasted all night. Nothing I did calmed her down, I called the ER vet and they asked me a few questions and said
I could bring ehr in but that they probably would just transfer her to GVS (where she had her surgery). So on the morning
of January 15 off to the specialist we went again. They had an oncologist look at her. When the vet came in to see her of
course Sav was feeling fine again, go figure! But after some test the oncologist determined that she had gone temporarily
blind. She healed very quickly from her surgery, had no other episodes of blindness and on January 17, my birthday, her white
and red blood cell count was very high, the highest it had been since she got sick. I was feeling very positive. On
January 24, her blood cell counts dropped. On January 27th her blood count was up and she recieved her first
chemotherapy. On January 27 and 28 she was feeling great, not eating very well but acting like she felt great,
she was very lovy and playful. On the morning of January 29 she wouldn't eat, I spoon fed her babyfood, which she threw up
shortly after. But right after that she perked up. She seemed to feel fine all day until around 7:30 pm when she first started
seizuring. I knew by how she looked at me what this meant. I rushed her to the ER vets. Her white blood cell count had dropped
down to below 8, normal is above 32. The vet gave her a seditive to stop the seizures, then her heart gave out at 8:40, but
only for a few seconds. The vet informed me that the seizures and heart attacks/arythmia's could last anywhere from 10 more
minutes to 10 more hours. Sav looked at me and told me it was time to go, so I gave the vet the ok to help her cross to the
I am sharing my baby girls story with everyone in hopes that there may be one lucky furbaby parent/s that gets a few
more good days with their furbaby.
They call this cancer the 'silent killer' because there are virtually NO warning signs. However looking back now there
were slight signs that I could have picked up on. She started shivering around the first of December, I just thought she was
cold, like she would usually get that time of year. But in hind sight it could have been the low blood count. I never thought
to check her gums for whiteness. Also, she had thrown up a few times in December also, I thought she just had an upset stomach.
She had been to the vets for a physical around the middle of November and she was fine.
Below are some information links to Hemangiosarcoma, Canine Cancer, Holistic Vet Information and other useful sites.
Hemangiosarcomas usually develop in an internal organ and early symptoms are difficult to recognize.
Most dog owners realize a problem is present only after the dogs exhibits the following symptoms: weakness, tires easily,
"slows down" all of a sudden. Dogs may even collapse as an initial indication of disease.
In addition, the abdomen may be slightly to grossly distended with fluid. The dog may have previously had intermittent
episodes of weakness or collapse, often with spontaneous recovery within 12-14 hours. Usually these incidents are associated
with hemorrhage due to rupture of the tumor-affected blood vessel with resultant bleeding into the abdominal cavity. Upon
examination, the gums and tongue may appear pale. Other presenting signs are related to the specific organ of involvement
and the dog may exhibit lameness, seizures, or abnormal heart rhythms.
Canine Corner Hemangiosarcoma article
American Kennel Club Hemangiosarcoma article
vetmedcenter.com Hemangiosarcoma spleen and liver
article on spleen masses