Jump to content
Zena's mum

Hermangiosarcoma? Need advice

52 posts in this topic

My 9 year old mini schnauzer Zena has been diagnosed with possible hermangiosarcoma. I say possible because without operating I guess nobody can tell for certain or at least if it is malignant or benign.She has a very distended belly and we can feel the tumour in her spleen. She was just not acting her usual self so off to the vets we went. He recommended an ultrasound which showed the mass in her spleen with nodules on her liver and lymph nodes affected too. The specialist does not recommend surgery and told us to take her home, love her and feed her what she wants. He also said we'd have her for barely a month. I guess due to the possibility of her spleen rupturing. It has now been almost 5 weeks and she is still doing ok. Her appetite is not great and I have to hand feed her. The food has to be something really nice and different every day. Sometimes she eats almost willingly other times she just eats enough to keep me feeling happy. She drinks water fine and follows me around still although she seems weaker this last week. Asks to be put on the lounge instead of jumping up by herself. She seems happy just very tired. She still grins at us and wags her tail. Most visitors say if it wasn't for her belly they wouldn't know there was anything wrong. 

My question is has anyone else dealt with this nasty cancer and left untreated ( she is on 20mg tramadol morning and night) how long has your fur friend lasted. I know my little girl is stubborn but on her really good days I do wonder if they have made a mistake and could it all just be benign. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
harley   

Sorry to hear about your girl :(

 

I am also sorry to say that I have just lost my 12.5 year old greyhound to a tumour in her spleen. She had an ultrasound and bloods but I decided in her case that surgery was not in her best interest. Her belly was also distended. 

I had her for just over 4 weeks after diagnosis. She was on antibiotics which made a big difference to her demeanour as she also had a temperature with her initial diagnosis. She ended up on prednisolone each day to help ease her discomfort. She seemed comfortable right up until the last weekend when I noticed her belly was a bit bigger. We spent quality time and yes she got whatever food she wanted/would eat. 

 

I made the heartbreaking decision to let her go when she could no longer get up and walk easily. 

 

I also lost my 14.5 year old lab just over 12 months ago to the same thing. 

 

Your last sentence reasonated with me as I thought/ hoped the same thing with both of my dogs. 

 

It sounds like Zena is still happy and comfortable so I wish you much more time together. :kissbetter:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear of your losses. It seems to me this nastiness happens to our four legged furry friends way to often. 

Zena doesn't seem to be in any pain or uncomfortable at the moment but we are watching her so closely. We will not let her suffer in anyway. We are just so amazed at how strong she seems to be. We have decided to make that decision when she stops eating, drinking and can't get up any longer. At present we can still even go for short walks. She loves these and we figure if she can get out and about and sniff the sniffs of the world it's a good day. 

I have also just figured out that she likes to eat what we have just eaten for dinner each night. She's a cheeky girl. Not eating a lot but enough to keep the sparkle happening in her eyes. 

We lost a male schnauzer to lymphoma 9 years ago and honestly didn't think we'd be down this track of cancer again. It is so difficult to understand when you know you have looked after them. Fresh food and pampered. I just worry about our little Molly ( Zena's daughter) now. Hopefully she will grow to be an old lady. She's only 5 now and the second Special delight of our lives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
harley   

Thankyou it is still quite raw for me.

 

I am pleased to hear zena is still enjoying her little outings. I hope her and molly are able to continue to enjoy each other for a long time to come 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I hope they can too. Molly has never spent any time away from her mum and they do have an extra special bond. They clean each other's eyes and ears every day, not so much now that Zena's sick but still occasionally. And on Zena's off days Molly seems to sense things and spends the day with her. They have always been close. Zena has always been such a softie and let Molly get away with everything. She has been a great mum and I do worry how Molly will react when Zena goes. She has so much spunk I just hope she doesn't change. Do you have any experiences with a dog losing its best fur friend?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
harley   

I lost Harley my lab just over 12 months ago and polly my greyhound 11 days ago. 

 

When I first lost Harley I think polly did miss him. We fostered 2 greyhounds over the 12 month period, with the last one just 4 months before polly died.

 

i think it gave polly something else to focus on. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't lost a dog to this but i did lose one of my beloved ferrets to hemangiosarcoma exactly 2 years ago to the day :(

He showed no symptoms of being unwell other than having a big belly (which honestly isn't that uncommon in ferrets). He passed away under anaesthetic while having his teeth cleaned at the vets (never would have done it if I knew he had cancer). He went into cardiac arrest just as they were finishing up the dental work, they did CPR for 20 minutes but he couldn't be revived... Autopsy showed these awful tumours on his spleen which had spread to his heart. Vet said he would have only had 6-8 weeks left anyway. In a way I'm glad he went the way he did, pain free and peaceful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. It is a very insidious disease Very sorry to hear. No matter what the pet we love them all. Big and small. My kids had guinea pigs years ago and I was too attached to those lovely critters and along with the kids very upset when they passed. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

11 days ago isn't long. Wow. How do you cope? I guess having your other foster dogs would have helped. And I think polly probably would have enjoyed them too. Once again so sorry about your loss. Two going so close together would be very hurtful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
harley   

Thank you, it has been hard particularly as I have a few other things going on at the moment also. It would be nice to come home to have that unconditional love and friendship waiting at the door! 

Maybe another foster soon and perhaps my own new companion in the not too distant future. 

I wish you all the best with your beautiful Zena 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tdierikx   

Hemangiosarcoma is one of the nastier cancers... the only thing that surgery or chemo will do is buy us humans time... not so great for the dog. I think you are doing great by just making sure Zena's last weeks are quality ones...

 

I had a female Rotti present us with what looked like a bone or stick lodged in her mouth... further investigation at the vet revealed that it was a hemangiosarcoma tumour, and the diagnosis was that her insides were riddled with the darned things... one week later she couldn't swallow anything anymore, and surgery wasn't an option, so we had to make that final decision to give her her wings...

 

Make beautiful memories now with your sweet Zena... and massive hugs to you from me and my fur family...

 

T.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. Hope all starts going your way soon Harley. A fur friend greeting when you arrive home is the greatest. Can't live without our four legged friends. Life seems so dull with just humans.

 

 I agree tdierikx. Big surgery and chemo is not for the dogs. We all know hermangiosarcoma can't be beaten. We just want Zena to be comfortable, happy and know she is loved. She has had a really great day today. Went for a car ride, hung with us in the garden and finished up with a small BBQ. She just hasn't eaten much but did enjoy a bowl of custard. Woops

I am sorry to hear about your rotti. Sounds nasty. How old was she?

Thanks also for the hugs. I have let  Zena know all about the nice comments from you all. She is a dog who has always loved people. All people. She is my little social butterfly and we are going to miss her so much. But she is still doing ok mostly so hopefully we still have a bit more time.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jumabaar   

I hope Zena is hogging the lounge or bed right now! 

 

I wanted to add that I have put some dogs on anti-anxiety meds when their buddy has passed away. It isn't often but when they are clearly mourning and sad then I think that it is the kindest option since we can't explain it all too them. It has only been transient meds and they have all been weaned off them. Just know that the option is there if she is finding it difficult. 

 

Take care of yourself too. There are grief councillors who can also give you support now or in the future when there is a diagnosis like this in a pet. 

I am glad you are in DOL and have this supportive network. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tdierikx   
9 hours ago, Zena's mum said:

Thanks. Hope all starts going your way soon Harley. A fur friend greeting when you arrive home is the greatest. Can't live without our four legged friends. Life seems so dull with just humans.

 

 I agree tdierikx. Big surgery and chemo is not for the dogs. We all know hermangiosarcoma can't be beaten. We just want Zena to be comfortable, happy and know she is loved. She has had a really great day today. Went for a car ride, hung with us in the garden and finished up with a small BBQ. She just hasn't eaten much but did enjoy a bowl of custard. Woops

I am sorry to hear about your rotti. Sounds nasty. How old was she?

Thanks also for the hugs. I have let  Zena know all about the nice comments from you all. She is a dog who has always loved people. All people. She is my little social butterfly and we are going to miss her so much. But she is still doing ok mostly so hopefully we still have a bit more time.

Shadow was about 5 or 6... we didn't have an accurate age because she came to us as a stray about 18 months before she passed.

 

T.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Jumabaar. Nice to know there are options out there. I really do worry about my Molly. (Zena's daughter) At 5 years of age she is still a little live wire and loves to play and wrestle but I guess that's what we are here for. The added bonus though which could help is that we often dogsit her brothers and sisters and also her own offspring. She has had 2 litters but is now desexed. I offer dog boarding and schnauzer grooming to all my puppy owners. We don't like the thought of them going to boarding kennels. I am actually kept quite busy through the year with them all. All my puppy owners are such beautiful people and have been to visit my Zena and have been very supportive. Over the years we have become close friends with a few and one in particular brings her schnauzers here every other week. It's awesome for all concerned.

 

And yes, Zena is definitely hogging the bed and lounge. Loves sitting and being with us and her comfort is first priority. 

 

 

 

Tdierikx - I am sorry to hear Shadow was so young. I hate the whole cancer thing as it seems to take too many of our young four leggeds. I have read so much in the past few weeks and it just upsets me to know that horrible stuff like this is so common. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an update on my sweetie Zena. It has now been six weeks since her diagnosis of possible hermangiosarcoma and we are still going strong. A few days last week she was really fussy with food and seemed very tired, I was beginning to think we had a decision to make. I had a really miserable night wrestling with my thoughts but on waking up the next morning she had bounced right back again and spent a good deal of the day wandering around. We also went for a short walk and she actually ran some of the way. She was back to barking at the horses next door and was a very bright and happy little girl. She has also been a lot better with her meals. Still not eating a lot but is feeding herself rather than me hand feeding. Just this morning she actually came into the kitchen looking like she was hungry and she really surprised us and ate more than she has in one meal for weeks. Actually what she ate yesterday was more than she had in ages too. We are now confused again and thinking are the vets right. She just seems so very normal. Yes, she is tired and not as active as she was months ago but everything else about her seems so normal. Yes, her belly is distended but it hasn't got any bigger in the last few weeks. She doesn't vomit and hasn't had diahorrea. Other than not eating much at all for those few days last week she hasn't had a really off day for probably 2 weeks. She does drink plenty of water. 

Really I just would like to know if anyone else has had an experience like this. 

Initially we were told she had barely a month to live.

I have spoken to the specialist and 2 other vets I have used and they are all very surprised she is still with us. Other than suggesting another ultrasound they can offer no other reasoning behind what's going on. One did admit she is not a text book case. All of them individually have just told us to enjoy what time we have with her. That we are certainly doing but we just have our doubts. 

All opinions are welcome. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear Zena's still enjoying her life :)  obviously vets cannot predict things to the exact date - just work on what they know about disease progresses .

maybe , if you can , get a different opinion , if that would ease your mind? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Persephone. I realise exact dates can not be predicted and I am very grateful to all the vets that have spent time discussing matters with me. We just love our little girl so much and are just trying to understand this horrible disease. What the vets say and everything that I have read, which is a lot, all point to the same scenario. She shouldn't still be with us. Each day I wake I worry about what it brings. And at times I feel she is so much  better than when first diagnosed. 

We are considering getting in touch with another specialist centre. Just going to leave it for a few days to see how she goes. These last few days may be the "really good " before the end. Apparently cancer patients can have a really good moment before passing. This did work true with a male schnauzer we had who died from lymphoma. 

Or maybe we are just plain lucky to have a brilliant strong little girl. Certainly cherishing these days anyway.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×