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La Jolla Mom

We Suddenly Lost Our Dog to Hemangiosarcoma

I want you to know what happened because it's common

Our rescue pit bull Scooby entertained extended family with his usual antics on Mother’s Day. He jumped into my husband’s lap at the table knowing that’s where he was most likely to source scraps of the expensive poached salmon I ordered from a restaurant down the street.

We pulled his bed over to the table so that he could snore away, per usual, while we played some card games after our meal. He and I later curled up in bed to enjoy the penultimate episode of “Game of Thrones.” It was business as usual.

Monday came and went without much fanfare. On Tuesday morning, everyone (including Scooby) enjoyed their usual harried breakfast routine before school departure. I went out to yoga, and my husband headed out for beach jog but noticed on his way out that Scooby was a little uneasy, which wasn’t entirely unusual. He was a nervous dog, had just turned 10, and loud construction noise was coming from a neighbor’s house. Noise, trucks, and strange men talking scare him, so he wasn’t behaving out of line.

When I returned home, Scooby wasn’t at the door to greet me. He was lying on the living room rug and wouldn’t even get up for food, a highly unusual event. The dog loved food. I had to coax him up. 

A few hours later, we were sitting in the vet’s office. Fecal and blood tests were run with normal results. His physical exam didn’t reveal anything unusual, either. Maybe it’s his thyroid. Perhaps it’s the result of a hypoallergenic diet including grain-free food, a topic for another day, but one dog owners should be aware of. Dinner was refused, but he slept well and woke up on Wednesday morning with tons and tons of energy.

Relief swept over the entire family. The only thing out of the ordinary was that he was extra hungry from having skipped dinner. I’m so glad we indulged him with a little bit more bacon and other treats throughout the entire day. We took our usual walk, and he eagerly jumped into our bed in the middle of the night to sleep with us. I wrapped him in a blanket, and he snored away until he, per usual, bolted out of bed after hearing my daughter wake up for school. Breakfast came and went, and so did our housekeepers (which causes him stress). 

My radar went up again when he refused his usual midday Greenie snack, which he gets while we make lunch. Instead of being tired like he was on Tuesday, this time, I could tell he was uncomfortable. Maybe he just needed sleep, which seemed to work wonders on Tuesday. Instead, he tossed, turned, and shivered in his bed next to my desk. He still barked to announce the arrival of the mail carrier and moved with me to other rooms in the house.

I knew something was wrong, but at the time it was impossible to tell if it was indigestion or something more significant. After studying him for a few hours (which I regret), I called the vet again and we were summoned in for a chest X-ray to rule out cardiomyopathy. I wasn’t sure if we really needed to go to the vet, given his prior day recovery, but went anyway.

He never came home (or even whimpered once throughout the entire ordeal).

An ultrasound revealed fluid in his abdomen, and a sample taken revealed that it was blood. She told me that dogs with this condition go to surgery or heaven. Given that it was rush hour to the nearest pet emergency room, they gave him an IV of fluids (and lots of hugs — he always held everyone’s hands in the vet’s office which was funny) to keep him comfortable during the car ride, left the catheter in, and sent us on our way. 

We’re not strangers to the veterinary hospital where our local emergency room is, given that we’re there at least every six months to have his hemangiomas (more on these later) lasered off. So, he sniffed the same plants and dog area on the way in and politely sat down as a couple cut the line in front of us. I had to push my way in. We didn’t look like it, but we were as emergency as it gets, which I now understand more than I did at the time. 

An ER tech immediately came to get him. Rather than the usual paperwork I fill out when there, I verbally agreed to certain procedures and a do not resuscitate order (DNR). (This was hard. I had always indicated yes to resuscitate because his laser surgeries had always been minor and the surgeon’s staff agreed with this choice because if things went south, we’d make a decision later.) Our vet had already called ahead and sent the X-rays and test results.

He was rushed away though my husband points out that he walked himself throughout the entire process. Dazed, I sat in the waiting area. Thankfully, the most social and well-behaved cat on a leash distracted everyone in there. People in the waiting room at this time of day are usually not there for happy reasons.

It didn’t take long for them to call me into a room where I waited for the ER doctor. She confirmed that her ultrasound showed fluid in his abdomen. Since our vet extracted blood and he had a history of hemangiomas on his skin, I had two choices.

  1. Ultrasound his entire body. I would only do this if I was consenting to surgery. Surgery with a condition like this typically extends life by a month, if it is even successful. And, he was going to need a blood transfusion first which takes time that he wasn’t going to likely have. The cancerous blood already washed his major organs.
  2. Euthanize him right away because he was bleeding to death.

That’s a lot to process out of the blue.

I called my husband, and we agreed to number two. The ER doctor flat out told me this was the most humane thing to do. I trust this hospital and its staff and do not have regrets about this decision. I spared no expense on Scooby throughout his entire life (including TPLO surgery that he healed brilliantly from). I would have paid ridiculous sums of money to save him if I could have. Number two was about his quality of life. And it needed to be done as soon as possible.

My next decision though haunts me. I wasn’t sure how quickly number two would occur. Is it normal for a 12-year-old to see her best friend euthanized? (The answer, I later learned, is yes.) There was more paperwork (a blur), and then I was led into the room where it happens. It took a little bit of time for Scooby to arrive, and I was told to take as much time as I needed with him. I only took a few minutes because he looked terrible and had obviously slid downhill to the point where there was no question number two was the right thing to do. I was the only other family member there, but he and I were bonded. I was his person.

By the time we were in that room together though, my daughter and husband probably could have fought traffic to be with us. I didn’t make that calculation, nor do I ask what the time frame would be. If you’re ever in the same position, ask how long you have. I wish they could have brought his favorite blanket and held his hands, too. Everything happened so quickly, but no one wanted to prolong his suffering. 

I spooned him like he was used to and told him what an amazing dog he is. A deep sedative put him to sleep, and then a second shot stopped his heart. I felt it stop beating on my arm immediately. It was quick.

A few days, many tears, and many Google searches later, I now understand what happened to my perfect boy.

Pit bull with a squeaky chicken

Hemangiosarcoma

I’m not a veterinarian. I’m writing this as a pet owner who has gone through a dog’s sudden death by aggressive cancer called hemangiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessel walls. I hope that if you see the same signs that I did, that you will not hesitate before calling the vet which will hopefully allow you to give your dog the best quality of life and least amount of pain until the very end. 

This silent killer usually shows no clinical signs until the end is inevitable. I’ve now read multiple stories from other dog owners in shock from how their dog can drop dead a few hours after being wholly energetic and fine.

Dogs very rarely die from heart attacks, but they do suddenly die from hemangiosarcoma. The Golden Retriever Club of America National Health Survey revealed that the chances of golden retrievers developing hemangiosarcoma in a lifetime are 1 in 5. Pit bulls, Labrador retrievers, German Shepherds are also prone to the disease. 

The most common place for malignant tumors to grow is on the spleen, but they can grow anywhere there are blood vessels and spread to other major organs. Since you can’t see them, you and perhaps your dog won’t know cancer exists until things have progressed to the point of no return. If tumors are isolated to the spleen and haven’t burst, the spleen can be removed, which may buy your dog some time but not usually more than a month. And, chemotherapy might be recommended to extend life few months beyond that hopefully. It’s a no-win situation. 

I should have known he was at risk for this cancer, given his history of cutaneous hemangiomas. Hemangiomas are the benign form of hemangiosarcoma. I had not linked the two, and it’s a probably good thing because I would have obsessed over his every ailment even more than I already did. 

Cutaneous hemangiomas are likely (but they’re not sure) caused by the sun. They look like blood blisters. He has one on his cheek in this photo.

Pit bull with hemangioma

Cutaneous hemangiomas grew on him quickly and in all sizes, even though we kept him out of the sun and covered him in dog-safe sunscreen when he was in the sun for walks and short outings. They ranged from light red to nearly black. Four months before he died, a rather large one appeared on his leg that had grown to the size of a grape. Our surgeon wasn’t worried, and we always sent the suspicious looking ones to the lab. It was lasered off.

His history of cutaneous hemangiomas combined with burst tumor(s) internally is why the ER vet didn’t hesitate to recommend euthanasia.

Warning Signs to Look For

Scooby’s symptoms were sudden lethargy and lack of appetite. They think the reason why he experienced this on Tuesday and completely recovered for one day on Wednesday is that the bleeding was light, somehow clotted, and he made more blood cells to compensate for the loss of blood. On Thursday, the day he died, the bleeding restarted in a more forceful manner.

I debated whether or not to take him to the vet on Thursday afternoon, and would have taken him in a few hours earlier had I known to check his mouth. Pale gums and tongue indicate anemia which combined with lethargy and lack of appetite signals that something is wrong. His gums were fine on Tuesday as were his labs. On Thursday, his gums were very pale. I wish I would have known to look at them because I’d have known it wasn’t indigestion. Before going to the vet on Thursday, we had no idea that he was ill.

Other symptoms that are common with hemangiosarcoma, that Scooby didn’t have, include a distended abdomen, seizures, collapsing, arrhythmia, abnormal breathing. 

Long Days Afterward

Hemangiosarcoma causes dog owners extraordinary pain because we’re forced to make immediate decisions we’re unprepared for. We question what we did wrong (which is probably nothing) and wonder how we missed the signs (because there weren’t any). The loss is sudden and traumatic. It will take a long time for me to recover.

The other point of this post is to let people going through this same miserable trauma know that they are not alone. There are a lot of us. You’ll soon see what I mean when you start talking about it to others.

One of the many things I need to reconcile with is that Scooby was not the type of dog who would have handled a long term disease well (not that anyone does). He liked to be within a few inches of or attached to a human at every minute, and this does take a lot of moving around given the fact that we have a tween in the house. If I could have carried him in a Baby Bjorn all day, he’d have been cool with that.

We felt he deserved whatever we could give him as we’re confident he was abused before he came to us. We are desperately trying to take comfort in the fact that it was a “good” way for him to go because he likely didn’t experience much discomfort until his final day.

He was so loved, and proof that rescued pit bulls can make brilliant family dogs. It was just his time.

My daughter cuddling our pit bull rescue

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25 thoughts on “We Suddenly Lost Our Dog to Hemangiosarcoma

    1. This is exactly what happened to my dog Captain. 2 days before he died he ran 4 miles with my husband while he was biking. It was so sudden. A year later it’s still shocking. He was a german shepherd mix. The sweetest boy. I’m sorry for your loss and thanks for writing about it. I came across your blog when searching hotels but saw this and thought “that’s what happened to MY boy”.

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting about this. Sadly, we too, lost our sweet Honey Bear to Hemangiosarcoma. Honey was a Pit/Shepherd rescue, and a truly amazing dog. Similar to your situation, it was sudden and seemed to come out of now where. We took her to the vet and were given the same options, she was 11 yrs old, and already bleeding to death when they took her vitals. We took her home and had a service come out the same day, this allowed us the privacy to grieve and have our last moments with her in the comfort of our home.

    It was incredibly devastating, but we actually had a couple of warning signs that we were not aware of at the time. She had a couple of random days where she wouldn’t move much or eat, but always bounced back to normal the next day. We later found out that this was most likely due to internal bleeding, and she bounced back once her body absorbed the blood. Apparently, the tumor was slowly bleeding but we were not aware of it until it ruptured.

    Being a pet owner, dog lover, and puppy foster for a local rescue organization, I believe awareness helps us take better care of these precious lives and enjoy them while they are with us. Thanks again for talking about this!

  2. The same thing just happened to our boxer three days ago. We are hurting and heartbroken. We definitely understand your pain!

  3. We lost our 5 year old Boxer/Pit mix a month ago to a ruptured splenic tumor, which we believe to be a Hemangiosarcoma. I have a picture of him begging for my daughters food from that morning. I noticed he looked kind of out of it that afternoon, but my daughter was cranky and had just fallen asleep, so I got my food and went back downstairs to where she was. I will regret that forever. Why didn’t l just bend down to check on him? We took my daughter to urgent care because we thought she had an ear infection, she didn’t. We then went to target after. I regret the whole evening. We were out while my poor bub was bleeding to death. I was his person, he was my soulmate, my heart dog. When we got home he was so lethargic, we rushed him to the emergency clinic. I was a vet tech for years, how did I miss this? I knew he was going to die as soon as I saw his gums, I knew what had happened.
    I’m devastated, guilt ridden, and lost. Losing him this way has traumatized me. I cry myself to sleep every night.

  4. So sorry to hear about Scooby what a gorgeous dog , we are in shock after taking our beautiful dog George to the emergency vets last night only to be given the horrendous news that it was Hemangiosarcoma of the heart and devastated that was to be the end of or George’s life story we are all very upset and i can’t stop crying i just wasn’t ready to say goodbye ?x

  5. So Sad to read about Scooby and all these other very sad stories ours is much the same our beautiful! 10 yr old Bullmastif staff cross George who was lagging after his usual nightly walk and off his food also restless during the night a vet visit on Friday 19 th and looking up his symptons we thought maybe Pneumonia but antibiotics and fluid retention tablets didn’t work his gums were pink too so he didn’t seem to be anaemic and another appointment needed for an ultra sound as none was available . Friday night he was in our bedroom and slept right through wrapped in his blanket and his favourite pillow but Saturday came and he was struggling to breath and just couldn’t sit down or lie down he was struggling badly our youngest of 5 Chase was home from his graduate Geo job in the mines and they were best friends like his brother Chase would say well we all decided Emergency vets visit -it was to be George’s last ride in the car an ultrasound and a a syringe to draw blood from around his heart showed he had Hemangiosarcoma of the heart he was given oxygen to help him and came in looking weak but with a wagging tail pleased to see us this made me crumble we were given our choices which was none as I asked for as much info on his prognosis and we knew what was the right decision for George by this time his gums had lost their colour and his legs were struggling we did have his blanket and favourite lamb toy with us and we said our goodbyes but I was a mess our brave boy hadn’t even whimpered just endured it all driving home without him was horrendous I have had trouble dealing with losing our beautiful boy all of us have I think perhaps because up until this he has been so healthy and looked so young for his age my chest hurts and I’m constantly crying we will miss him so much our house feels empty and his face isn’t looking through the glass door waiting to greet us anymore when we arrive home . Our son Chase didn’t make his 7 hour drive back to his job he stayed home an extra day and we comforted each other but nothing will help just time he was such a special dog and will be in our hearts forever along with our lovely memories . Xx

  6. Sorry for your loss. I just found out 48 hour ago my “Perfect Boy” Has a large tumor on his Spleen. It does not appear to have metastasized (at least they could see on ultrasound). But at Ten and a half with the quality of and length of life left I’m finding it difficult to justify putting him through such an ordeal. I don’t want him to suffer or, god forbid, blead out alone at home with no on around. but he’s stable and being spoiled for now. Other than his grey face and the ticking time bomb in his belly he’s really got the body of and attitude of a much younger dog. He had all the good food and treats, regular exercise slept on the bed and all the loves, rubs and squishes a good boy could want. I’m sad and angry as he’s been such to best boy his while life and this is so undeserving. I’m hoping I can be brave for him but I suck at this kind of stuff.

  7. Just to let you know, you’ll never really get over this. The same thing happened this January to our beloved, crazy, energetic whippet-shepherd mix. Apparently, Java was fine most of that day, playing and acting normally. But by the time I got home from work, she had already collapsed once in my daughter’s room. And while trying to get in touch with our local vet, Java wobbled on her legs and collapsed again. Her stomach was so distended it felt hard and when I checked her gums they were an eerie white. Realizing immediately it was serious, my wife and I grabbed Java and we jumped in the car. At the vet’s office, she tried her best to be happy, wagging her tail and wanting attention from all the staff. We didn’t wait very long, but it felt like forever due to the anxious situation. The vet did a X-ray and showed us that a large amount of fluid was obscuring the view of her abdomen. The vet said that it was likely blood and she immediately referred us to an emergency vet for an ultrasound. On the drive to the emergency vet, I could tell Java was cuddlier than usual, sticking tightly between my legs in the passenger seat. Again, we didn’t wait long, but it felt like forever, especially when they took Java from us to examine her. Minutes later, they brought us into a room and we met the emergency vet. He explained that he had drawn a syringe from her abdomen and that it was full of blood. He said that it was very likely, based on her breed, that she had hemangiosarcoma and that she would need emergency transfusions and surgery to remove her spleen. Interestingly, they wouldn’t do the ultrasound that we came there for because they already knew Java’s situation was serious. Then things became worse. Java’s prognosis with surgery was only a month and with the additional cost of chemotherapy six months. Having no pet insurance, the estimates ranged from $9,000 to $14,000 to begin her emergency care without any positive outlook. It was a horrible gut punch to find oneself in such a situation with no good options. Why was this happening? Why was it so expensive? What were we going to do? Our dog was facing her imminent demise with or without intervention. We were completely overwhelmed, but it certainly didn’t seem wise to me to extend her life for months only to have to return to a vet again for an eventual euthanasia. It was especially devastating when we had to call our daughter, who was home studying for her finals, to tell her the news. She wouldn’t get a chance to hold and love her dog again and she couldn’t, due to poor cell coverage, have one last, sad interaction via Facetime. In retrospect, we maybe hesistated longer than we should have making that quick decision on what to do. It’s especially bad when I think that that whole time Java was still bleeding out into her abdomen. It was horrible! Eventually, we opted to say goodbye to Java and we were escorted to a special room with couches and blankets. Once inside, Java was preoccupied with standing or sitting by the door, probably wanting to get away from the whole situation. The emergency vet and the tech each dropped in to see how we were doing and when they did Java perked up a bit to see someone new. The tech tried to tempt her with a toy and hot dogs, but Java just wasn’t interested. By that point, I think all her energy was being used up just to keep going. Finally, we were able to bring her closer where we could pet her and say our last good byes. My wife and I were both crying and in shock. Java was always so hyper, like in your face. She was an explosive ball of energy her whole life and to see her like this was unreal. I did my best to pet her in her favorite spots and to tell her she was a good dog and that I loved her very much. As we left, our old friend was lying there peacefully as if fixed in a dream. I’ll miss her always and there really isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t find ourselves thinking of her and how her life was cut short. It’s an absolute tragedy.

    1. You did the right thing. I went through surgery with my dog once and the recovery, when you’re a dog and don’t understand why you have to lay around and take meds, was incredibly difficult and no fun for anyone so I can’t imagine going through that only to extend life by a few weeks (and who knows if my dog would even be feeling good during those few weeks anyway). It’s a rotten thing to go through and I have so much guilt about it. We did rescue another pit bull and that has helped a lot but as you said, I think about Scooby what feels like all day every day.

      1. Thanks for reply. I’m glad you have another dog to focus on. We do too, thank goodness. Bo is a Belgian Malinois, who we adopted last summer. He’s so sweet and very much a puppy. Java was his teacher and it’s been a hard adjustment without her around. Bo’s flooded with affection every day. I guess that’s Java’s legacy. Lucky for him.
        I too have done my research on hemangiosarcoma. Like you explain, it’s common and like most things in life it’s off people radar until it affects them directly. Before Java, we had another sheperd mix, Jambo, who lived to be 17 years old. He had odd bumps on his skin, which now I suspect were cutaneous hemanigiosarcoma although no diagnosis was ever formally made. Java, unfortunately, had the more lethal spelenic kind and she never saw her 10 birthday. Both Jambo and Java were Helen Woodward rescues, who were neutered and spayed very young. That may have been part of the problem. When dogs, especially those breeds suspectible to hemangiosarcoma, don’t have their protective hormones during development, they may have increased risk to the disease later in life. Veterniary research on hemangiosarcoma is about a decade behind and more needs to be done on hemangiosarcoma and prevention.
        I wish only good things for you, your family, and your sweet, new furry friend. Loss is hard, grief is persistent, but life goes on.

  8. We are going through this right now. She had a bad day Friday night into Saturday and vet claims it’s this. Then today she is pink again and warm and energetic. I just don’t know what to do. I’ll take it day by day but it’s definitely like a ticking time bomb. But how can I euthanize when she’s perked up now?? So sad

  9. So sorry for all your losses. I lost my first German Shepherd to hemangiosarcoma when he was almost 10 years old. On July 25th of this year, my beautiful female German Shepherd passed away in her sleep at 8 1/2 years old. I chose not to do an autopsy but now questioning if she had a heart issue or hemangiosarcoma. She had been playing all night, happy, ate…then went to sleep in her dog bed. I found her the next morning as if she had been sleeping deep. To say that I am beyond devastated is an understatement. She had her share of skeletal issues, with hip dysplasia, spinal degeneration and arthritis in her knees. I had her at the vet every month for chiropractic care, what i thought was the best diet… I guess I was foolish to think she wouldn’t have other issues… As i did with my first Shepherd, I scoured the internet…The only things I can think of are cardiomyeopothy or hermangiosarcoma.. It helps to know that she went in her sleep and had a great day and knew she was loved more than any other…..

  10. This has been very helpful.Its now nearly 16 months since our beloved German shepherd, Zion died from this terrible disease. I still cry a lot and the suddenness of his death traumatised us completely.Iv been going for grief counseling but the pain in my heart is still too much to bare sime days.

  11. We just had the same experience and outcome last night with our 6 year old rottie. Still trying to process it all. Thank you for making me feel a little less alone.

  12. I lost my 9 year old boy to hemangiosarcoma. The day we found out he had it was the day he died. He passed the beginning of August. I remember a month before that, he had a little trouble getting up but the vet told us they thought he had arthritis. I said I didn’t think he did because he gets round just fine and walks fine. It’s just getting up. He still had his appitite and acted perfectly normal. Once we gave him medicine for arthritis, he wasn’t having issues getting up any more so I thought maybe it was arthritis. Then august 3rd….we left to take the kids to the park. We came home and our Jack did not greet us at the door. I ran into the kitchen and he was just laying there. I rushed over to him and he wagged his tail but was so weak. My heart broke as we rushed him to the emergency room. The vet immediately took him back and did an ultrasound. She said they saw a mass and his abdomin was filled with blood. We agreed to the surgery and so they did the surgery but came out and called us back in the middle of the surgery. The cancer was spread through his whole insides. It was covered in his abdomin and his diaphragm. The vet said at this point, they can remove his spleen but the cancer has spread through his whole entire body. She said they would give him a week or 2 at the most to live but he would spend that time recovering from surgery and I didn’t want him to be in pain trying to recover from surgery and dying from cancer. So we had him put to sleep. I hugged him hard. I cried so hard I bursted blood vessels in my eyes. He was my first baby. Had him since he was 8 weeks old. My heart still hurts and I cry every day. Every day.

    Walks everyday with him, hugs and snugs on the couch, he loved our children when they were born and cared for them like his pup’s. He helped them with first steps being there and walking along side them as they learned to walk. He was there for my son’s first day of kindergarten. He was so much apart of our life. He was family. We did everything with him. He’s gone. I spent a week in bed. My husband had to take off work to take care of us all because I was not able to. Even though I’m back on my feet doing normal daily routines, I’m broken inside. I am in agony. It’s been a month and I sometimes feel I can’t go on. My baby boy..

    1. I’ve just experienced the same thing…my boy; Alfie (a white GSD with hip dysplasia since a pup and who was a month from his 10th birthday) was my husband’s dog originally but in the last 9 weeks whilst my husband has been away on training had become like velcro to my side. I first noticed he was a bit under the weather on Tuesday 17th September 2019 – didn’t want to eat, not interested in his favourite treat, drinking more than normal, panting heavily and was a bit unsteady on his back legs. I thought it was his hips as we had been told by our vet to gradually reduce his Metacam for his hip pain, so I increased it a little. The following day he was very lethargic and just wanted to lie down. He was the kind of dog that slept most of the day anyway but it was different. I gave him breakfast and sat on the floor with him whilst he ate and then had a wonky chomp (his favourite). I let him and our other GSD; Barney, out into the garden and he just lay on the patio. I was concerned and notice his gums were so pale they were verging on white and didn’t react when I applied gentle pressure. I got him to the vet and he walked in on a loose lead (never happened he usually pulled like a train even in his elderly years) and he half heartedly barked at another dog (Normally reactive to other dogs and wanting to show his dominance). The vet did bloods which showed nothing other than a bit anemic and did an ultrasound which showed his abdomen full of blood. I was hit with the choice of operate or let him go for the big sleep. A teary call to my husband who was 5 hours away and we decided to operate and give him a change. I saw him, gave him kisses and told him to be a good boy and I’d see him soon. I was sent home to Barney but then got a phone call from the vet telling me that they had removed his spleen which had ruptured and stopped the bleeding but that just prior to stitching him up, they had checked his liver and found this cancer in a 4cm tumor about to rupture and the kindest thing would be to let him go. It broke my heart and I went back to say goodbye after he had gone and took Barney so he could understand. Barney (notorious for going beserk at any vetanary member of staff) went nuts but immediately started nudging and licking Alfie’s body. It was heartbreaking. I took Barney back to the car so I could say goodbye to Alfie without Barney going mental. The vet had done a keepsake paw print for us and I stroked and kissed him telling him to still be a good boy and that he was very much loved. We are having him cremated and his ashes returned to us to keep and today I have printed a photo so I can still see him. I have been in tears constantly and it hurts that Barney has lost his brother and playmate, that the loveable old man is not trotting beside me or popping in when I’m in the bathroom and I only make one meal not two. My husband hasn’t been home yet until tomorrow and I know it’ll hit him when he walks in and Alfie doesn’t greet him at the door with a toy and a wagging tail.
      The vet said it was so quick and I got him there as early as I could and I know he didn’t suffer much but I’m still so devastated and didn’t realise how much I loved him. I knew I did, he was my boy and one of my furry children but I didn’t realise how much I’d miss him. Due to his age we had talked about when the time came but this was so quick and unexpected. Right now I don’t know how I’ll get over it I’m just so broken, upset constantly and struggling to eat or sleep. I just want my little man back so much. I’m trying to be strong for Barney and when my husband comes home and the realisation hits but I’m crumbling more and more as time goes on and he’s not here.

  13. I lost my darling dog to this horrid disease on Sunday 15th September. I knew it was coming. Six weeks before I had taken him to the emergency vet with a distended stomach. He received an emergency spleenectomy to remove his spleen and a large tumour which had ruptured. I was warned that this was an aggressive cancer and would return but he recovered so well I convinced (deluded) myself that he would be ok. We had another precious six weeks together before I awoke at 4am on Sunday morning to find him acting quite sleepy, trembling gently and with pale gums. I rushed him to the vet, knowing that he wouldn’t be coming home again. He died peacefully, with his head in my hands. I collect his ashes tomorrow and I’ll scatter them in his favorite woods where he played as a youngster. This is just so incredibly painful, I’m sorry anyone else has had to experience this but I find comfort in knowing I’m not alone.

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. I was shocked to see Scooby had passed as I had come across your post regarding TPLO recovery which helped me with Phoenix’s recovery this past January. I’m sorry about Scooby. I’ve come again searching for owner accounts about aftercare of hemangiosarcoma post splenectomy. I know I’m fortunate that I’ve gotten this far with a live dog. Phoenix had a splenectomy today and I know the biopsy will come back positive for hemangiosarcoma.
    I lost Phoenix’s littermate Harlow 2/28/2016 to this cancer. Harlow was misdiagnosed for 2 months. Pancreatitis after I pushed back on the vet regarding arthritis. I’m sorry but arthritis does not explain anemia. Pancreatitis … maybe but she still wasn’t getting better. I opted for another vet with a 2nd opinion but I was a day short of her ultrasound appointment when her spleen ruptured, I elected a splenectomy. Post op they said everything went great, she was alert and ready to go home same day after surgery. She was 35 lbs post op and died 3 days after surgery from a secondary complication, her blood did not clot. They couldn’t figure that out before they sliced her open? I would pay 1000xs over to go back and not let her die for 2 months and suffer post op. I would’ve never done that to her had I known. Looking back I realized she was too anemic to recover at that point from surgery even after the blood transfusions. I honestly believe she lasted 2 months bleeding internally because she was a pitbull. She was absolutely stoic for those 2 months just worried eyes and a lick of I don’t feel good while I gave her arthritis and pancreatitis medication! It was so wrong!
    This go around with Phoenix, I didn’t mess around. I recognized the yelp when I touched her belly. The lethargy and pale pink-white gums. I went to our new vet and asked for blood work (anemia confirmed) and an ultrasound same day (splenic masses confirmed) scheduled for surgery next morning. Slept restlessly I was scared her spleen would rupture. In the morning, this time my directive, do not cut her open if she’s too anemic for her blood to clot. I’d like another blood panel pre-surgery. I don’t care if we ran one yesterday, I can wait. Are you good with the blood results and her ability to clot? Yes, she’s a 33 which is lower than 40and that might be as her blood is currently clumping/clotting the current internal tear. If she was lower …18 or 4, but I strongly believes she’s clotting and I would keep her overnight post op to monitor. She was 53 lbs during the ultrasound, 51 lbs pre-surgery and ~45 lbs post op. She’s staying a total of 3 nights (my request for 2 additional nights) with the vet for monitoring.
    This time around I’ve made sure I advocate for Phoenix and mDr. Coffman and his staff support my internal guide I have for this girl (my last girl). Even my work, I’ve unapologetically dictated my schedule, time off, work conditions/assignments to my bosses/co-workers to take care of Phoenix.
    I know it may be 2 weeks to 3 months is all the time I may have … if that … and I’m fine. As long as it’s kind and loving … what I owe to my dear, sweet Phoe. 12 years of friendship, happiness and unconditional love even when I was less than what they deserved.

  15. It hurts so much reading all this and i’m so sorry to all of you who lost your beloved furbaby ;( I had NO idea this awful sickness existed until last weekend. I lost my beautiful german shepard, Luna, Oktober 12th. She was 9 years old. So vital, so full of life, such a puppy at heart.. she was everything to me and i’m beyond devastated. I‘ve been reading so much about hemangiosarcoma after her sudden death and i can’t believe the vet never told me about the risk earlier so i could’ve taken an ultrasound on her seniorcheck a few months back. My heart bleeds. I feel guilt.anger.pain. I would’ve done everything to save my baby.. but she gave up fighting in my arms after a tumor cracked on her spleen ;( Reading these stories make me see how common this is, and that i’m not the only one who has been in this traumatic situation. It all happened so fast ;( our pups did not deserve an ending like this.

  16. I am so sorry for everyone’s loss. I lost my German Shepard last Friday 11/15/2019. Levi was only 6 years old. He was not eating well for a few days & seemed a little off, but seemed like nothing too bad. I looked at his gums & they looked a little pale to me, so I called the vet. Took him in & while in the room noticed his stomach looked a little bloated, as did the vet when she came in. Took him back & came in with a vial full of blood, which was what was in his belly. His blood work was pretty good, a little anemaia. Emergency surgery showed her the spleen was not to bad, but his liver was in rough shape…needless to say he was euthanized….So hard to believe you take your dog to the vet for something you think is not to serious & 3 hours later he is gone. We are heartbroken & just feel such a loss….Camilla feeling all the same emotions as you, pain, guilt, anger, loss. I pray with time we can all heal. xo

  17. It is two months since my last post and the missing and longing for my Zion child, 6 year old GSD doesnt feel better.we have taken in a long haured gsd, Boots who has indeed climbed into my heart..im able to start speaking to her about her Sbrother and explained that he is at the rainbow bridge whete we will all meet up one day.She will never take his place but filling up her own. Tonite i have finally acvepted that im not ecoexted to acceot losing my child and is helping me.Much love to you all.

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