Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Understanding Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment https://www.pexels.com/photo/medium-short-coated-white-dog-on-white-textile-2607544/

Hemangiosarcoma is a blood vessel-related cancer that frequently affects dogs. Learn more about this blood cancer in this article.

Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the blood vessels and is often found in dogs. It is a very malignant and aggressive kind of cancer that, if ignored, can spread quickly to other regions of the body. Despite its prevalence and severity, many pet owners are unfamiliar with the symptoms and treatment options for this disease. 

In this article, we will provide an overview of hemangiosarcoma in dogs, including its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.


Although the precise cause of canine hemangiosarcoma is unknown, various risk factors have been noted. These include:

  • Age: Hemangiosarcoma is more commonly found in older dogs, typically those over six years of age.

  • Breed: The prevalence of this condition is higher in several breeds, including German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers.

  • Gender: Male dogs are more prone to hemangiosarcoma development.

  • Sun exposure: Dogs with white or light-colored skin that is oftentimes exposed to the sun may have a higher risk of developing hemangiosarcoma.

  • Chronic inflammation: Dogs with a history of long-term inflammation or previous trauma to the affected area may have a hiked risk of developing hemangiosarcoma.


As the cancer is frequently internal and can spread quickly to other parts of the body, the early symptoms of canine hemangiosarcoma can be challenging to identify. Some typical signs include:

  • Weakness and lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

  • Rapid breathing or panting

  • Abdominal swelling or a distended belly

  • Sudden weakness

  • Pale gums and mucous membranes

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Bruising or unexplained bleeding

However, these symptoms may be caused by other health issues, so a definitive diagnosis can only be made through veterinary examination and testing.


  • Physical examination: Your dog will have a comprehensive physical check by the vet, who will also record any strange signs, lumps, or bumps.

  • Blood tests: Blood tests can help diagnose hemangiosarcoma by checking for anemia, elevated liver enzymes, and clotting disorders.

  • Imaging tests: X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans are imaging techniques that can be used to detect tumors and assess the severity of the disease.

  • Biopsy: Hemangiosarcoma generally requires a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. The damaged tissue can be surgically removed for the biopsy, or it can be done with a needle.

Treatment and Management Options

Treatment options for hemangiosarcoma in dogs may include:

  • Surgery: The most regular form of treatment for hemangiosarcoma is surgical excision of the afflicted tissue. Chemotherapy is frequently given as a follow-up to lower the likelihood of the cancer coming back.

  • Chemotherapy: When a tumor has to be reduced, or the disease's course slowed, chemotherapy is frequently utilized. It can also be administered following surgery to lower the possibility of the cancer coming back.

  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy can be used to shrink the tumor and relieve symptoms in dogs with inoperable or advanced cases of hemangiosarcoma.

  • Supportive care: Medications to manage pain, such as MELOXIDYL and DERAMAXX, can help improve the quality of life for dogs with hemangiosarcoma. Also, skin sensitive prescription foods may be prescribed for your dog.

The outcome of treatment for hemangiosarcoma in dogs can vary, depending on the stage and extent of the disease, as well as the overall health of the dog. In general, the likelihood of a successful outcome can be greatly increased by early discovery and timely treatment.

How to Prevent Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

There is no guaranteed way to prevent hemangiosarcoma in dogs, as the exact cause of this disease is not yet understood. However, here are some steps you can take to reduce your dog's risk include:

  • Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular examinations by your veterinarian can aid in the early detection of any health issues, including the onset of hemangiosarcoma.

  • Maintaining a healthy diet: A well-balanced diet and regular exercise can help keep your dog in good physical health, reducing the risk of developing health problems such as hemangiosarcoma.

  • Protecting your dog from sun exposure: Dogs with white or light-colored skin that is frequently exposed to the sun may have an increased risk of developing hemangiosarcoma. To reduce this risk, provide shade and protect your dog from excessive sun exposure.

  • Avoiding exposure to toxic substances: Hemangiosarcoma risk can be increased by exposure to harmful agents, such as certain insecticides. Keep your house and yard as clear of pollution as you can, and avoid using poisonous substances around your dog.

While there is no surefire way to prevent hemangiosarcoma in dogs, taking these steps can help reduce your dog's risk and improve its overall health and well-being.

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