How Long Can A Dog Live With Spleen Tumor
Dogs, just like humans, can develop cancer in various parts of their bodies, including their spleen. The spleen is an important organ located close to the stomach and provides the function of filtering blood, removing damaged or aged red blood cells and storing blood for emergencies. Unfortunately, the spleen can also be a site of tumor development in dogs. But how long can a dog live with spleen tumor? In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about spleen tumors in dogs, including its prognosis, and the treatment options available.
What is a Spleen Tumor in Dogs?
A spleen tumor, also known as a splenic mass or splenic mass lesion, refers to the abnormal growth of cells in the spleen, leading to an enlarged spleen. The most common type of spleen tumor in dogs is hemangiosarcoma or HSA, a cancerous tumor that develops in the blood vessels of the spleen. Other types of spleen tumors in dogs include lymphoma or sarcomas that arise from the connective tissues of the spleen. In most cases, a spleen tumor is asymptomatic until critical levels where the dogs can exhibit symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, pale gums or increased breathing. It’s important to seek veterinary attention if you notice any of these symptoms as they may indicate the presence of a spleen tumor.
Prognosis of a Spleen Tumor in Dogs
The prognosis of spleen tumor in dogs depends on several factors, including the type of tumor, its stage or extent of spread, and the dog’s overall health. One of the most common and invasive forms of spleen tumor in dogs, hemangiosarcoma, has a poor prognosis despite treatment. In most cases, the tumor has already spread beyond the spleen by the time of diagnosis, making it challenging to cure. Without treatment, dogs with hemangiosarcoma have a survival time of fewer than 2 months. If surgery to remove the spleen is done, the survival time can be extended to around 6-12 months, but recurrence is likely in most cases. Depending on the extent of the splenic tumor, the veterinary team may recommend further treatment options such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy. It’s worth noting that these treatments may prolong the dog’s life, but it’s impossible to cure this aggressive form of cancer.
On the other hand, if the spleen tumor is benign, such as a Hemangioma, the survival rate and long-term prognosis of the dog are significantly better. This is because these tumors usually do not spread to other parts of the body, and surgical removal of the spleen is usually curative with no need for further treatments. With proper treatment and care, dogs with benign spleen tumors can live a normal life expectancy of 10-12 years.
Treatment Options for Spleen Tumors in Dogs
The treatment options for a spleen tumor in dogs primarily depend on the type and stage of the tumor, as well as the dog’s overall health. The most common and aggressive form of spleen tumor, hemangiosarcoma, typically requires surgery as the first line of treatment. During the surgery, the spleen is removed, and the surrounding blood vessels are carefully examined for leakage or any sign of cancerous cells. Advanced procedures might require more intense care, blood transfusions or radiology tests. However, surgery alone is usually not enough to treat hemangiosarcoma. The veterinary oncologist may recommend additional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or immunotherapy. Chemotherapy is typically used to target and destroy cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the dog’s body.
For benign tumors, surgical removal of the spleen is usually curative, and no further treatment is necessary. During surgery, other abdominal organs can be examined and any addition growth can be removed or samples can be taken to check for other medical conditions.
Q: How would I know if my dog has a spleen tumor?
A: Most dogs with a spleen tumor are asymptomatic, but some may display signs such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, pale gums or increased breathing. Therefore, routine physical exams and annual blood tests are vital to detect health issues early on.
Q: Can a spleen tumor be cured in dogs?
A: Malignant spleen tumors, such as hemangiosarcoma, cannot be completely cured. However, treatment can help to prolong the dog’s life and improve the quality of life. For benign tumors, surgical removal of the spleen is usually curative, and no additional treatments are required.
Q: What is the life expectancy of a dog with a spleen tumor?
A: The life expectancy of a dog with a spleen tumor primarily depends on the tumor’s type and stage, as well as the dog’s health. Dogs with hemangiosarcoma typically have a poor prognosis, and without treatment, they can survive fewer than 2 months. With surgical treatment and other therapies, the survival time can be extended to 6-12 months. For benign tumors, the dog usually has a normal life expectancy.
Q: How can I prevent my dog from developing a spleen tumor?
A: Unfortunately, there is currently no known way to prevent spleen tumors in dogs. However, routine physical exams, preventive veterinary care, and annual blood work can detect any health issues early on.
Spleen tumors in dogs, especially hemangiosarcoma, are a severe form of cancer that can seriously affect a dog’s quality of life. The prognosis for dogs with spleen tumors is generally poor, but early detection and proper treatment can help prolong the dog’s life and improve the dog’s quality of life. If you suspect that your dog has a spleen tumor, seek veterinary attention right away. Veterinary exams, diagnostics, and treatment plans can give you peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything possible to help your dog maintain a happy and fulfilling life. Finally, routine veterinary care is an essential component of pet care, and regular check-ups can help prevent or diagnose conditions early, allowing for intervention at the earliest possible stage.