Splenic Tumors In Dogs
The most common splenic tumor in dogs is hemangiosarcoma. The breed most commonly affected is the German shepherd dog, but other breeds can be affected too. It is usually seen in older animals.
Other types of tumors affecting the spleen include fibrosarcoma, mast cell tumor, lymphoma, osteosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma. Blood clots, or hematomas, are also seen.
Life After Spleen Removal Surgery
March 21, 2017 by Michael Koeplin, MD
Your spleen is a non-essential organ, but that doesnt mean everything will be exactly the same after you undergo spleen surgery. Theres are a number of things you need to be mindful of and adjust in your daily life in order to thrive without a spleen. We take a closer look at how to make the adjustment to life without a spleen in todays blog.
Inflammation Of The Large Intestine
The large intestine helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance and absorb nutrients it also temporarily stores feces and provides an environment for normal intestinal bacteria. When the colon is damaged by inflammation, parasites, or other causes, diarrhea is often the result.
Inflammation of the colon may be short- or longterm. In most cases, the cause is unknown bacterial, parasitic, traumatic, kidney-related, and allergic causes are suspected. Inflammation may be the result of a defect in the function of the immune system in the colon. An exaggerated reaction to dietary or bacterial factors within the intestine, genetic predisposition, or results of previous infectious or parasitic disease have also been implicated.
Animals with inflammation of the colon may strain to defecate and may pass mucus-laden feces, sometimes containing blood. Feces are often of a small volume and a more liquid consistency, with increased frequency. Dogs often have accidents because of increased urgency. Affected dogs can also have pain when defecating. Weight loss and vomiting are rare and much less common than in dogs with diseases of the small intestine. Signs can come and go but tend to worsen with time.
If possible, the cause of the inflammation should be identified and eliminated. Your veterinarian will conduct a physical examination, followed by appropriate tests . Treatment is based on the cause of inflammation.
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What Are The Signs Of A Spleen Problem
With all those functions, it seems that the warning signs indicating something has gone wrong with the spleen would be obvious. However, the signs of splenic dysfunction or injury can sometimes be vague or difficult to spot. Here are a few warning signs that may indicate a splenic problem:
- Swollen abdomen
If you notice any of these symptoms, especially if they come on suddenly, call your vet ASAP or head to the nearest emergency hospital for an emergency vet visit for your dog.
How Cancer Alters The Metabolism Of Dogs
Veterinarians studying canine cancer have long known that the disease alters a dogs metabolism. The cancer-stricken dog will utilize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in very different ways than his healthy counterparts.
In many cases, canine cancer patients will also exhibit whats known as cancer cachexia, a condition in which an animal will lose weight despite taking in adequate nutrients. Dogs with cancer cachexia show a decreased ability to respond to treatment and a shortened survival time.
Greg Ogilvie, DVM, Dip. ACVIM, and his colleagues at Colorado State Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences are regarded as the top experts on canine cancer in the United States. In 1995, Ogilvie coauthored a landmark textbook, Managing the Veterinary Cancer Patient, that further describes the metabolic changes that occur when a dog contracts cancer.
According to the text, the most dramatic metabolic disturbance occurs in carbohydrate metabolism. Cancer cells metabolize glucose from carbohydrates through a process called anaerobic glycolysis, which forms lactate as a byproduct. The dogs body must then expend energy to convert that lactate into a usable form. The end result? The tumor gains energy from carbohydrates, while the dog suffers a dramatic energy loss.
One interesting consequence of the metabolic change: it appears to be permanent. Once a dog has cancer, the metabolic processes remain altered even if he goes into remission.
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Recommendations For Caring For A Dog Without A Spleen
First of all, we must point our that our dog can be able to lead a normal life without a spleen. For them to do so, we need to ensure we take the correct precautions. In terms of caring for a dog after spleen removal, we need to do more than ensure they have the right diet. The following recommendations are the basic care needs of dogs without a spleen:
If you want to read similar articles to Caring for a Dog After Spleen Removal, we recommend you visit our Extra care category.
Is It Bad For My Dog To Lick The Incision Site Does My Dog Have To Wear A Cone
Dogs are often sent home with cones after surgery. The cone or e-collar can be a very useful tool when used properly and can help protect your dogs incision.
If your vet has sent home an e-collar, use it as directed. This usually means keeping it on your dog at all times, even when they eat and sleep. Taking it off because you feel bad for your dog can lead to premature stitch removal and surgical site infection. This can create more problems for your pet. If you are worried about the fit, call your vet.
Your veterinarian or the veterinary technician can show you how to properly place the e-collar on your dog. When worn appropriately, the e-collar should prevent your dog from licking their incision, chewing at their wound, or removing their stitches.
If your dog has access to the surgery site, it can result in the incision opening up and becoming infected, and can cause damage to tissues.
Most times, your vet will suggest the cone be worn until stitches are removed or wounds are healed. Follow your veterinarians instructions even if you dont think your dog will lick their wounds.
If you are unsure how long your dog should wear their e-collar, check in with the vet. The e-collar will still allow your dog to eat, drink, and use the bathroom. Do not give your dog a break from their e-collar unless instructed by your vet.
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After A Dog Has Had Its Spleen Removed What Can One Expect
Your pet may be able to go home the same day or may require several days of hospitalisation. Within two weeks of being discharged, patients should be back to normal. Because the sick spleen and its big blood clots can weigh up to 10 pounds in a large dog, surgical patients will appear significantly leaner.
Clinical Trials For Dogs With Spleen Cancer
There are clinical trials that are conducted to evaluate the effect of specific agents on canine splenic hemangiosarcoma. Usually, the trials are conducted with oral medications that have antitumor and antimetastatic properties.
Yunnan Baiyao Supplements
Yunnan Baiyao is an ancient Chinese herbal supplement that is being used in veterinary practices. With tests conducted on laboratory rats, YB has been effective in decreasing bleeding times . A few studies conducted on human subjects have also indicated positive effects of YB on internal bleeding and ulcerativehemorrhagic conditions .
There are no detailed studies on how it affects the blood coagulation system in dogs or the exact volume of the dosage. Some studies have indicated that the medicine is safe for canine patients. While there is significant potential for YB with metronomic chemotherapy, more clinical trial data is required to establish definite outcomes.
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Dietary Support For Dogs After A Splenectomy
When it comes to diet, many splenetic dogs cant tolerate a traditional raw diet. This is because of the bacteria levels in commercial meats. Instead, look for a freeze-dried or dehydrated raw diet. You can also feed a cooked fresh-food diet with added foods and supplements like
- Digestive enzymes
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Add these before serving, not before cooking. Make sure you serve well-balanced homemade diets. Feed cooked meals warm. If you do feed raw, feed it at room temperature, not straight from the refrigerator.
Holistic heath looks at your dog as an ecosystem. Knowing the holistic function of the spleen will help you understand how the body has to compensate post-splenectomy. It will also help you recognize when and why your dog may need added support.
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Incision Care And Appearance
Because of the large size of the canine spleen, you may note that your dog looks significantly thinner after surgery. Dont worrythis is normal. He or she also will have a fairly long abdominal incision that is closed with sutures or staples. Your dog may need to return to the clinic approximately 10 days after surgery for a staple or suture removal. In the meantime, the incision line must stay clean and dry at home.
If the incision starts to come apart, looks inflamed, begins to drain excessively, or you have any other concerns about how your dog is looking or acting during the healing process, contact your veterinarian.
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What Causes Spleen Cancer In Dogs
Splenic hemangiosarcoma in dogs is an intriguing disease since its exact causes are still unknown. Its cancer in the cells that line the blood vessels. While it mainly occurs in the spleen, other sites like the heart and skin are also prone to this form of cancer. The reason behind the localization is not known.
It has been estimated that 5-7% of all tumors seen in dogs are related to hemangiosarcoma. Since some breeds are more affected than others, experts suspect that heritable factors are a major reason.
It is also assumed that genetic risk factors combined with long-term environmental causes lead to mutations. Environmental factors also include exposure to toxic chemicals or carcinogens.
These causes may lead to a series of mutations that give rise to a splenic mass and lead to ruptured blood vessels. A simple mutation does not always lead to cancer, as the body has an in-built mechanism to eliminate such cells.
However, more mutations enhance the overall risk factor. With more research, we will be able to eliminate these factors at an early stage.
Most Excruciating Scenario For Dog Owners
Unfortunately, many splenic masses are not detected in the course of a routine exam, but are discovered while diagnosing a dog in the midst of an out-of-the-blue medical crisis.
Here is an all-too-common scenario: Your happy and seemingly healthy 10-year-old Golden Retriever is out in the yard chasing balls with the kids, when she suddenly collapses. She looks confused, and though she is alert and responds to you, she is too weak to get up, and she is breathing faster than usual.
You rush her to the emergency veterinary hospital, where the attending vet has a pretty good idea whats going on as soon as she looks at her gums, which are ghostly white, and feels her abdomen, which has fluid in it. Bloodwork and abdominal x-rays confirm the original clinical suspicion: Your dog has a splenic mass that has ruptured. She is bleeding internally, and without immediate surgery and blood transfusions, she is going to die.
In this scenario, there isnt time to wait for the results of any tests that may determine whether the mass is malignant or benign you will have to decide on the spot whether to give your veterinarian the go-ahead for emergency surgery to try to stop the bleeding and to remove the dogs spleen, or to euthanize your dog. Its a wrenching decision.
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Efficacy Of Splenectomy In Dogs
Damage to the spleen is typically accompanied by other injuries , so it can be difficult to judge the effectiveness of the treatment by observing changes in the dog’s behavior. However, the immediate danger posed by the ruptured, cancerous, or infected spleen will have been eliminated as soon as the surgeon extracts it from the body. While the effects of a splenectomy are permanent, owners should know that removal of the spleen will not have a major impact on their dog’s quality of life, as its functions are shared by several other parts of the body.
Add Some Tasty Protein
If your dog is turning their nose up at their usual kibble or canned food, you can try enhancing it with some flavorful protein. This will not only whet their appetite, but it will also help their body recover. You can read more about the power of protein here. Try adding a couple of cooked eggs, some shredded cooked chicken , or some boiled ground turkey. Whatever protein you choose to add, just be sure it isnt too rich avoid heavy, fatty meats or anything fried. Like in humans, anesthesia can cause nausea, and rich foods or treats can upset the stomach even more.
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Diagnostic Tests To Evaluate For Splenic Problems
- Blood and urine tests are submitted to look for anemia since ruptured splenic tumors or traumatically ruptured spleens can result in severe anemia. These tests will also identify abnormalities in kidney or liver function, which is important to know if your dog needs general anesthesia and surgery.
- Abdominocentesis is performed by inserting a needle through the abdominal wall and a syringe is used to remove any fluid of blood in the abdominal cavity. This test is often done to see if there is blood in the abdomen, which could indicate a ruptured spleen.
- Radiographs are taken of the abdomen to look for an enlarged spleen, a mass on the spleen and fluid in the abdomen, which could be blood from a ruptured spleen. X-rays are also taken of the chest, especially if a splenic tumor is suspected, since these often spread to the lungs.
- An abdominal ultrasound is very helpful in identifying abnormalities of the spleen and other organs.
A Healthy Immune System Is The Second Step
For the remainder of her life, a splenetic dog requires ongoing immune system maintenance.
Using blackcurrant gemmotherapy can help reduce inflammation. Cellular support forthe immune system is provided by using plant stem cells.
Not recommended for dogs with seizure histories.
Another immune-boosting plant is astragalus. Its a great source of heat.
- Enhances the desire to eat.
- Stress is relieved.
- It helps to keep the immune system healthy by removing waste from the body through the kidneys.
- This plant is available in both tincture and powder form.
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Spleen Removal Diet Recommended Restrictions
Food provides nutrients and energy for the body to build, function, and repair itself. It is necessary for every cell, organ, and system in the body, including the spleen. It is important to avoid certain foods and beverages that may increase the risk of health problems that contribute to spleen enlargement and decrease function.
Certain foods are disruptive to biological processes and cellular functions and can alter the function of other organs and even the immune system itself. Individuals with risk factors for certain chronic and inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, should avoid excess sugar and processed foods. Enjoying an occasional soda or processed meal from a fast-food restaurant is generally not enough to significantly impact dangers to ones spleen and overall health. But individuals with metabolic syndromes, congestive heart failure, or chronic ailments may experience abnormal inflammatory, metabolic, and spleen disease symptoms.
Foods to limit or eliminate when awaiting spleen removal or recovering from surgery include:
Bear in mind that underlying health concerns may increase the number and type of foods and beverages that one can safely enjoy with minimal impact on spleen activity or overall health. Individuals with secondary or additional medical concerns should follow their physicians recommendations to avoid complications and disease progression.
Are Pet Lovers Leading The Anti
However, owners who are desperate to do anything and everything for their beloved companions often do their own research, looking for more options.
Steve Drossner of Philadelphia became one such owner when his German Shepherd Dog/mix, Ginger, was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, a cancer that affects blood vessels. A tumor on Gingers spleen ruptured, and caused her to collapse.
After the spleen were removed, Drossners veterinarian felt that chemotherapy should be the next treatment although the vet could make no promises regarding the treatment, since hemangio-sarcoma is such an aggressive, fast killer. After consulting with a holistic veterinarian, Drossner decided to skip the chemo, and instead, put Ginger on a home-prepared anticancer diet of cooked free-range chicken, brown rice, olive oil, organic vegetables, and supplements.
Although Drossner bemoans the expense, he doesnt begrudge his dog the menu, which has helped keep Ginger alive for more than two and a half years. Free-range chicken is $8.49 a pound, he says. It costs me $11 to $12 a day to feed her, but I really have no other options. I feel that if I made any changes to Gingers diet and she took a turn for the worse, Id never forgive myself.
The oncologist gave me a life expectancy of 30 to 90 days post-surgery, she said. He didnt give me any hope whatsoever. Diet was not mentioned.
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How To Feed Your Dog After He Has Had His Spleen Removed
After a dog has had its spleen removed, its important to be aware of the risks associated with their weakened immune system. The spleen is not a life-sustaining organ, yet the loss of this reserve of red blood cells and platelets will be felt nonetheless. As a result of this, they are classified as immunocompromised individuals. A virus, bacteria, or fungus could weaken their immune systems, making it more difficult for them to defend themselves.
Unless otherwise instructed by the veterinarian, the dog should be fed the same type of food that a normally healthy dog would consume. We must, however, pay special attention to their diet. We must do everything we can to support their immune system, given that they are immunosuppressed.
Providing the correct type of food is the most crucial consideration. A high-quality diet for all dogs is a basic human right. This is particularly critical, however, following splenectomy. For this reason, we must make certain that the dog food we choose is low in starch and grain-free. As long as were feeding our dogs dry food, its preferable if they get some wet food as well. As a bonus, this keeps them hydrated as well as improving their quality.