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Spleen Mass/Tumor

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I would be interested in anyone's experience w/spleen tumors.

 

During her semi-annual exam today, my vet found Sara's spleen was enlarged. X-rays showed an enlarged spleen w/a mass between the spleen and liver. My vet is 90% sure it is a spleen tumor. Sara is almost 15 yo and during the exam, my vet was commenting on how healthy she is - no cataracts, stable weight, good appetite, shiny and full coat, no skin or ear or mouth infections, has all of her teeth, etc. Geriatric bloodwook performed 3 mos ago was perfectly normal. So the enlarged spleen was a big shock.

 

My vet has been upfront that surgery is risky but w/o it, Sara's spleen will likely rupture. She advised that hemangiosarcoma (HSA) was the mostly likely tumor of the spleen although it could be something else. Given our currently knowledge, my vet believes even if it is HSA, we can buy Sara some quality time by removing the spleen. Interestingly, one of my vet's bc's had the same surgery last summer for an enlarged spleen - a large benign mass was found and the dog has fully recovered. So my vet is trying to be realistic w/me while still being hopeful. Until we know exactly what we are dealing with, my vet is reluctant to discuss chemo, radiation, or other options.

 

My vet took blood for new profiles to see if there is any liver changes, etc. and we will get the results Thurs. Sara's exploratory surgery is scheduled for Monday. I know she is an old dog and I am trying to be realistic about her chances but if she has a chance for a longer quality life, I have to take it.

 

Thanks for any info you can provide. (I have done a search on spleen tumors and read the previous posts). Prayers and good thoughts would also be appreciated.

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Unfortunatly I have only the about the same info as your vet gave you. And only second hand. But either way, I will keep you guys in my prayers and hope it all works out well for you. Keep your head up high and hang in there!

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When we took our Mac, a 15-year-old Aussie, in for his annual exam this past March, the vet found a very large tumor of the same type. Since Mac has been steadily losing appetite and weight, and experiencing a great deal of pain and debilitation, we decided to put him on pain meds until, just less than two weeks later, he let us know that life was no longer worth living for him.

 

Your dog sounds much better off than Mac, who had been developing spinal arthritis for some time and losing hind end strength and stability for several years (although it slowed him down, it didn't keep him from anything he enjoyed, except working the cattle), and was in pain from that as well as any pain (and we think there was some) from the tumor. For that reason, we decided that surgery was not an option, particularly considering his rather advanced age as well.

 

I don't know that I'd put a dog of that age through such invasive surgery but, if Sara is in excellent condition/health otherwise, that's your decision to make. Last night at puppy class, our excellent instructor ended the six-week session with her "when I am too old" poem and a statement that made a great deal of sense to me. She said that euthanasia should be for the dog's sake, not for the owner's sake - I think that whatever the decision you make, you will make it for Sara's sake and not your own.

 

Best wishes for you both.

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one of my friend brought his dog into the vet cos of some growth on her leg. She's a 7 or 8 yr old rottie.

 

Nothing else was wrong with her.

 

Just as she was under GA for the surgery, the vet discover a huge growth in her spleen too. So instead, she got operated for the growth on her spleen.

 

She is a very healthy dog with no signs of eating disorders or energy levels as such.

 

Naturally we were fearful if the growth was malignant, thankfully, when pathologist report came back - as "nodular hyperplasia" which basically means she had an enlarged *benign* growth of the spleen. Just that this condition can be very dangerous - but not if you catch it before it ruptures.

 

This happened just last week and she is recovering well after the removal of her spleen.

 

 

i'm sorry to hear about Sara, and hope for the best for her.

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I think that is what ultimately killed Pete. He was OK and himself in the morning. When I returned a few hours later, he was down with "that look" in his eyes. I took him to the emergency clinic and they aspirated blood from him abdomen - a tumor on the spleen had burst, according to them. I had him euthanised shortly thereafter.

 

I always wondered if he could have been saved had we caught it in time, but there was never any clue that something was wrong and routine check ups didn't reveal anything.

 

It's hard for me to bring up those last days with him.

 

With my limited knowledge, I wish I could offer you better.

 

Good luck.

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I want to thank each of you who responded, especially those for whom this subject was a sad reminder of a loss. Sara's bloodwork was again normal with only one liver enzyme test slightly elevated - my vet said it was consistent with the liver being bruised by the spleen mass.

 

I've never used age as a primary consideration in determining treatment for an ill pet. I've both treated and pts depending on the individual pet. One cat had abdominal cancer removed at age 20; she lived more than 3 yrs and died of something unrelated. OTOH, I euth'd a 15 yo cat w/bone cancer because she would not have adjusted to an amputation. My 15 yo cocker was not healthy enough for surgery and we simply kept her comfortable for 2 yrs and then pts. In Sara's case, there is a good chance the surgery will buy her quite a bit of quality time. The criteria I considered:

 

1. Although old, she's very healthy except for this mass. Her geriatric bloodwork results have been consistent for yrs. Her only underlying problem is arthritis at the base of her spine which keeps her from jumping up on her back legs. She can't jump into a pickup truck, but she gets on furniture just fine. She has shown no signs of illness.

 

2. She has a good quality of life despite her age - she has slowed down some but is still active. Takes 2 - 1/2 mile walks per day, plays frisbee, chases her ball, interacts with me and all other pets, still maintains the "top dog" position in my little pack.

 

3. There is at least a 1 in 3 chance that the tumor will not be HSA. If it is HSA, my vet has had some success in treating it. Most dogs she treats with it live 6-12 mo after surgery.

 

4. I trust my vet of 23+ yrs. She grew up w/bc's and has had them all of her adult life. She did this same surgery on her own then 10 yo bc last yr even tho the dog was showing symptoms (weight loss, no appetite, bleeding) and the mass was benign and the dog comes to work w/my vet each day (the dog has a thunderstorm phobia so she isn't left at home). Over the yrs, my vet has been upfront w/me about chances of success w/treatment, recommended euth over treatment at times, advising that I should let a pet go, etc.

 

Regardless of what happens on Monday, Sara has had a good life and she has been my "once in a lifetime" dog whom I've truly treasured. I want her to have every chance for quality life but I will not allow her to live in pain or have a poor quality of life. If her prognosis from the surgery is poor, then the appropriate steps will be taken to insure her comfortable exit.

 

Thanks for reading all of this - I just needed to express it. Thanks for your good thoughts and prayers.

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You've certainly given this the careful thought it deserves, and it sounds like you've come to the right decision. If the liver is uninvolved, I would think her chances of recovering from this well would be good. She is lucky to have you looking out for her. I'm hoping for the best for both of you.

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I have a 10.5 yr old female who had surgery for a very large HSA 4 months ago. We were not aware of her tumor, prior to her collapse. She has a rather complex health hx and we very well might have made the decision to let her go, had we had more time to think about it. Her quality of life since the surgery has certainly validated our quick decision. She is feeling 5 yrs younger and we're thrilled to see her enjoying herself so much. We're so grateful that she now has such a great quality of life. Sheryl

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I'll keep her in my thoughts as she goes into surgery. All things considered I think it's the best option on an operable animal. My only experience has been with a ferret who had a mass on his spleen so large that it was squishing all his other organs...and we thought he was just fat! Removed the spleen he was perfect and lived for another 4 years.

 

The choice IMO is always about quality of life and it sounds like that's exactly what you're considering. Best of luck!

Maria

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