CBD and Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs Explained
One of the most devastating pieces of news that a pet owner can receive from a vet is that their dog has cancer. If your pet has been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, then you will have already no doubt found out that this can be one of the most aggressive forms of cancer in dogs. Hemangiosarcoma in dogs can be treated. Treatments are available that will extend the life expectancy of a dog with hemangiosarcoma, and there is a lot that you can do to make your dog’s life more comfortable.
Learn here in this article everything you need to know about hemangiosarcoma in dogs, including the symptoms, the treatments, and what you can do to help your dog cope with this disease.
What Is Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs?
Hemangiosarcoma in dogs is a very aggressive form of cancer that originates in the cells of the blood vessels. The disease can occur on the skin, where it is usually treatable, or it can occur internally, where it can become very serious.
The most common areas where hemangiosarcoma occurs in dogs are the skin, the liver and the spleen. Hemangiosarcoma is metastatic, which means that the cancer can quickly spread to other parts of the body.
Dermal hemangiosarcoma, which looks like a glossy red or black growth on the skin, can be removed surgically, and can often be completely cured. In about one in three cases of dermal hemangiosarcoma cases, however, the cancer is likely to spread to other parts of the body, so prompt removal of the growths is vital.
Internal types of hemangiosarcoma in dogs include the liver, spleen and heart, all of which can have serious consequences for the dog. Hemangiosarcoma are tumors that are fed by the blood vessels, so they can sometimes fill with blood, rupture, and cause sudden death. Internal hemangiosarcoma can also cause severe pain, so pain-relief medication will usually be prescribed as well as the appropriate cancer treatment.
What Are the Symptoms and Stages of Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs?
While dermal hemangiosarcoma may be found during a visual inspection of a dog, tumors that develop in the internal organs are much more difficult to identify early and there are often no outward symptoms of the condition until the tumor ruptures and causes bleeding.
The most common symptoms of hemangiosarcoma are lumps under the surface skin, or in the case of dermal hemangiosarcoma, visible growths on the skin. There will also sometimes be visible bleeding, such as a nose bleeds.
A dog with hemangiosarcoma may also display signs of lethargy, episodes of general weakness, breathing difficulties, swelling in the abdomen, pale or white colored gums, depression, and seizures or collapses.
Spleen and liver hemangiosarcoma symptoms in dogs
If the tumor is in the liver or the spleen, the first symptoms usually become evident only when the tumor ruptures. When that happens, it will cause internal bleeding that will in turn cause anemia. That is when you might notice that the dog’s gums have become pale or white.
Heart hemangiosarcoma symptoms in dogs
When a hemangiosarcoma tumor is in the heart, the symptoms are usually breathing difficulties, weakness, lack of energy, collapse and signs of a build-up of fluid in the abdomen. These symptoms are usually caused by fluid building up in the pericardium, which is a sack that surrounds the heart.
Skin hemangiosarcoma symptoms in dogs
The first sign of dermal hemangiosarcoma is usually a lump on, or just under, the skin. As the disease progresses, the lump may bleed and become ulcerated. If hemangiosarcoma occurs in the bones, it will cause the dog pain and discomfort. If the tumor is on a bone close the skin, such as a rib, a swelling in the bone might be noticeable.
What Are the Stages of Hemangiosarcoma?
Most forms of Hemangiosarcoma are classified in three stages, with each of the stages being defined primarily by the extent of the spreading of the disease, known as metastases.
Stage 1 of spleen hemangiosarcoma in dogs is when the tumor has only affected the spleen. Stage 2 is when the tumor has ruptured. Stage three of hemangiosarcoma in dogs is when the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other tissue.
Stage 1 of dermal hemangiosarcoma in dogs is when the tumor is still confined to the outer skin. Stage 2 of the disease is when the primary tumor is present in the hypodermis, which is the layer of tissue just under the outer layer of skin. Stage 3 of dermal hemangiosarcoma is when a tumor has invaded the muscles under the skin.
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What’s the Life Expectancy of My Dog with Hemangiosarcoma?
Unfortunately, the prognosis for a dog with a hemangiosarcoma is not good, except in the case of skin hemangiosarcoma in dogs where there has been no spreading of the cancer to the internal organs. Sadly, in many cases, if surgery and treatment is not an option, euthanasia would need to be considered to avoid the dog suffering needlessly.
If an internal tumor is removed by surgery and there is no follow up treatment, the average life expectancy of a dog with a hemangiosarcoma is just 1-4 months. If chemotherapy is administered after surgery, survival time can increase to 6-8 months.
Even when a combination of surgery and chemotherapy is used to treat hemangiosarcoma in dogs, the cancer is very likely to progress, eventually metastasizing to other parts of the body. Then, internal bleeding could occur and that will lead shock in the dog and, eventually, the dog will suffer a collapse.
If a tumor is found in the spleen, the spleen can be removed. If the splenectomy is followed up with chemotherapy, and the tumor has not ruptured, survival time is increased slightly, but even then, less than 10% of dogs will be expected to survive beyond twelve months.
Hemangiosarcoma in the heart is almost always very quickly fatal. It is possible to manage the pain with medication for a while, but any type of full recovery from visceral hemangiosarcoma is not possible.
Skin hemangiosarcoma in dogs can be survived, so long as the tumor is small, the tumor is diagnosed and removed early, and follow-up chemotherapy treatment is administered. If the tumor has spread, however, the potential survival time will usually be 6-10 months.
How Is Hemangiosarcoma Treated?
The treatment for hemangiosarcoma in dogs will depend on where the tumor is located. Any treatment will have a greater chance of success if the tumor is on the skin rather than on an internal organ.
Most dermal hemangiosarcoma can be cured by surgical removal followed up with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is also sometimes used to treat dermal hemangiosarcoma in dogs.
Hemangiosarcoma in internal organs will require more aggressive treatment and even then, it is unlikely that the cancer can be cured. Small tumors found near the heart can be removed, and if a tumor is found in the spleen, the spleen can be removed. Both procedures could prolong the life of the dog. Surgery however, is unlikely to work on its own, because hemangiosarcoma are highly malignant tumors. Therefore in most cases, the cancer is likely to have spread to other parts of the body. That is why the usual recommendation will be both surgery and chemotherapy.
Only approximately 10% of dogs diagnosed with visceral hemangiosarcoma will survive for more than twelve months. There are often other complications associated with the disease as well, including blood clotting disorders, which can lead to hemorrhaging. If the cancer spreads, it can cause the dog severe pain, vomiting and weakness, so medication will be prescribed to manage those symptoms.
CBD and Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs
CBD is a compound that is found in the cannabis plant. This doesn’t mean that it comes from the marijuana that people smoke to get a high, CBD comes from the hemp plant, and it is not a psychoactive compound. What has been discovered is that CBD can affect the cannabinoid receptor sites in humans and in animals, and that can have many benefits.
CBD alone is not a cure for cancer, but there is mounting evidence that CBD can help slow the growth and spread of tumors when it is used as a complementary treatment. In some cases, CBD has also been shown to shrink tumors.
CBD can also be used to manage pain, inflammation, and seizures, all of which can be caused by hemangiosarcoma in dogs. These benefits, plus the fact that CBD can reduce nausea and increase appetite, all mean that administering CBD to dog with hemangiosarcoma will improve the dog’s quality of life and could extend the dog’s life expectancy, Sadly, in most cases, that is the best that can be hoped for in most cases of hemangiosarcoma in dogs.