Spleen cancer in dogs is a malignant tumor that develops in the spleen.
A dog’s spleen is an organ located below the stomach. It serves various functions such as:
- storing blood
- removing old red blood cells
- filtering blood
- destroying foreign invaders or pathogens
Spleen tumors tend to occur in older dogs. They are either benign or malignant. Both types of tumors grow and rupture, thus resulting in internal bleeding.
If a spleen tumor is benign, it does not spread. Surgical removal is the cure as long as there is no excessive bleeding.
If a spleen tumor is malignant (cancerous), there is the risk of spreading. Hemangiosarcoma is the most common type of spleen cancer in dogs. Other malignant spleen tumors are lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumor and leukemia.
Splenic hemangiosarcoma in dogs arises from the blood vessels of the spleen. It is an aggressive cancer that would have likely spread to other organs at the time of diagnosis. Although surgical removal of the spleen can stop life-threatening bleeding, prognosis is not good due to tumor metastasis.
Symptoms of Spleen Cancer in Dogs
loss of appetite
When a spleen tumor ruptures, the spleen bleeds and results in the following symptoms:
Excessive bleeding can lead to fatality.
Diagnosis of Spleen Cancer in Dogs
There are several tests to diagnose spleen cancer in dogs.
Physical examination – palpable mass in the abdomen.
Radiogaphs/ultrasound of the abdomen can help to detect location of tumor while radiographs of the chest are for evaluating tumor spread.
Blood test to detect anemia (due to ruptured tumor), which may indicate the presence of spleen tumor.
Hispathology (biopsy) - a definitive diagnosis can only be obtained from examination of the affected tissue under a miscroscope.
It may not always be possible to detect tumor spread by radiographs and ultrasound, especially when the tumor is too small to be visible. Hispathology is required to determine whether tumor is malignant/benign, grade and stage of malignant tumor, prognosis and any further treatment following surgery.
Treatment of Spleen Cancer in Dogs
The main treatment is splenectomy or surgical removal of the spleen for both benign and malignant spleen tumors. This is the cure for benign spleen tumor.
For malignant spleen tumor with minimal spread, chemotherapy following surgery may increase survival times.
Prognosis For Spleen Cancer In Dogs
With surgery only: up to 3 months, depending on the tumor grade and stage.
With surgery and chemotherapy: 140-202 days, depending on the tumor grade and stage.
Mushroom Extract (I’m-Yunity): Potentially Viable Treatment For Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs
In a study published in 2012, dogs with hemangiosarcoma that were treated with the Coriolus Versicolor mushroom extract supplement, I’m-Yunity, had the longest survival times ever reported for dogs with the disease. They lived beyond a year with only this mushroom extract as treatment. Prior to this study, the longest reported median survival time of dogs with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen that underwent no further treatment was 86 days.
More about the promising findings of this study here –>
I’m-Yunity: Mushroom Extract Increases Survival Time in Dogs with Hemangiosarcoma