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Heart Cancer (Hemagiosarcoma) in Dogs



This tumor is very difficult to treat as it tends to rapidly metastasize to different locations in the body. Treatment involves treating both the primary disease as well as complications that have arisen due to the tumor. Chemotherapy is often recommended for slowing the progression of metastasis, but this alone will not stop the disease spread. Because of the vulnerable nature of the location of this sarcoma, it is often neither practical or even possible to recommend surgery with any hopes of success, but in some cases, if the tumor is limited to one mass on the heart, surgery may be a viable treatment. Your veterinarian may drain the fluid that has accumulated within the thoracic and/or abdominal cavity, and pain medications will be prescribed by your veterinarian to relieve your dog's discomfort.


Unfortunately, this disease has a poor prognosis, and even successful treatments may only add months to your dog's life.


Living and Management


The location of this tumor (heart) makes it especially life-threatening, so the prognosis is very poor in most patients. In almost all cases, tumor metastasis has already taken place into the lungs at the time of diagnosis, making treatment more difficult. Even after surgery, recurrence is common. The life expectancy for affected animals is less than six months.


Watch for symptoms associated with recurrence and involvement of other body sites. If you notice your dog having difficulty breathing, sudden behavioral changes, which may indicate metastasis to the brain, or any other symptoms, call your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will prescribe a pain protocol for your dog, as well as a diet that is especially designed for cancer patients. Follow your veterinarian's guidelines for management of your dog at home. 



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