Our Dog just Died from Canine Spleen Cancer

by Teresa Owens
(Las Vegas, NV USA)

Our beloved dog, Hoover, just died suddenly of canine spleen cancer (autopsy revealed)at age 7 1/2. Approximately 1 month ago, after having been on an NSAID for recently diagnosed arthritis, he became very acutely weak on a hike. He had only been on the NSAID for about a month, but I thought it may be related. I had tapered off the the drug, since he appeared to have gotten better, and after taking him to the vet and having a full CBC run, plus other tests (visible, palpation, etc), we learned that all appeared normal, and that I should resume with the NSAID. Almost exactly 1 month after this episode, after showing signs of increased vitality and good health, Hoover suddenly stopped eating so much, and I could see that the muscles in his head were beginning to atrophy. I also noticed that he was starting to lose some weight.

One day, it was just very pronounced, and his breathing seemed more labored than normal, and I took him right in. A visual inspection showed that his gums were slightly more pale but not that pale, but that he had lost 6 lbs in 30 days. However, no swollen lymph glands, no temperature. His blood work came back with slightly lower platelets and increased bilif-something (in the liver).

So...next step, x-rays. They showed some growths on the spleen. Next step, ultra-sound. Yep, spleen is covered with growths. Next step, biopsy,
but need to check the blood clotting so he won't bleed to death after the biopsy. Vet came into work at 6am and Hoover was fine, in the kennel. After checking on the clotting, he decided that yes, he could undergo the biopsy. He came back to the kennel, and Hoover was dead. Just like that. Maybe he threw a clot? Who knows. The autopsy revealed that indeed, the cancer was malignant, but it just came on so quickly, it took us all by surprise, and we had chalked all his symptoms up to arthritis and pain.

So...I guess that even though their blood work may come back normal, that doesn't mean that there's nothing wrong with an organ. The blessing is that he went quickly and spared us the grief and difficulty of having to put him through chemo only to put him to sleep after that....

Editor Comment

Hi Teresa,

We are so sorry regarding to your loss. Sometimes a disease has progressed to the point where it cannot be treated by the time tests are able to identify the exact cause of a condition. Unfortunately tumors of the iver, skin, bone, brain, spleen, kidneys and distant nodes may not be detected until it is too late without other techniques such as a CT Scan or other imaging techniques.

Thanks for sharing your story as a caution to other dog owners that see similar symptoms to the type you experienced.

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