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Heart Cancer in Dogs

Dog undergoing heart surgery


Overview


The clinical name for canine heart cancer is Hemagiosarcoma. Hemagiosarcoma is a tumor that originates in the blood vessels that line the heart and it is the most common cardiac tumor seen in dogs. It is most commonly seen in larger breed dog such as Boxers, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.

It is also more common to develop in dogs six years and older.


Symptoms


Hemagiosarcoma is a deadly disease and in most cases the tumor goes unoticed until symptoms occur. As the tumor grows it eventually reaches a size too big to be contained and ruptures and bleeds. The liquid fills the chest and stomach cavities and eventually affects blood pressure and restricts the hearts ability to function. Symptoms include the following:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Accumulation of fluid within abdominal cavity
  • Accumulation of fluid within chest cavity
  • Sudden loss of consciousness/fainting
  • Inability to perform routine exercises
  • Trouble with coordination
  • Irregular heart beats or arrhythmia
  • Enlargement of the liver
  • Lethargy
  • Malaise and depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss


Treatment


Unfortunately most cases of canine heart cancer are terminal. In some cases if the tumor's bleeding can be managed radiation therapy and chemotherapy can be administered in order to control the size of the tumor. In cases where cancer treatment can be administered it can prolong mortality by 3-6 months. The quality of life during treatment is high but the cost of treatment is very expensive.


Cost of Treatment: $5,000 to $20,000


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