Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

A few Saturdays ago, one of our younger dogs, Cali (age 10) was not feeling well and after taking her to her regular vet at MeyerLand Animal Clinic and having lots of tests done, it was discovered that she had a tumor on her spleen that had ruptured and was bleeding. We were referred to Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists to have emergency surgery to remove her spleen and the tumor. Although an additional ultrasound was done at GCVS to look for more tumors before doing surgery, sometimes they just can't see everything until they get in there. It turned out the tumor that was actually bleeding was on her liver. A part of her liver, her spleen and the tumors were removed. Unfortunately, she also had other small tumors on her liver as well. Sadly, the test results came back as suspected: Hemangiosarcoma. The average survival time after surgery for this aggressive type of cancer is only a few months and Cali's had already spread. We were devastated.

We went through this same scenario before with our dog Ellie just two years ago. Ellie had a tumor on her spleen that ruptured and she had the tumor and her spleen removed. We were very fortunate that the tumor was benign. Then a year later, she ended up getting immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) and she had to have a blood transfusion. We got lucky again in her case as it was determined her IMHA had a cause (mycoplasma) which could be treated. Ellie is still doing well today.

We are so grateful to Dr. Moss and Dr. Benjamino for all of their help with Cali. She's had a morning or two where she didn't feel as good but for the most part, she has been feeling good since her surgery, acting her usual bossy self. She's the alpha dog in our pack so there's a lot of bossing to do! . We are keeping her as comfortable as possible, providing hospice care and cherishing the time we have left together.  

When dealing with something like cancer, you feel so helpless. There's just not a lot you can do. In an effort to help keep her as comfortable as possible and to keep her around as long as we can, I automatically started going through all my natural healing books for pets . I looked up cancer in dogs and what type of natural things are good for that; such as probiotics, digestive enzymes, omega 3's, turmeric and Willard water to name a few. (All of which she is getting.) Another thing I had made myself a note about was the yunzhi mushroom extract. After doing more research on this, I came upon this recent press release about how this mushroom extract helped dogs with hemangiosarcoma lived longer. Then, within a few days, I got an email from one of my favorite holistic veterinarians, Dr. Karen Becker and guess what she was writing about? How researchers were shocked by mushroom study results! So I went to the link in the press release for the mushroom extract they used in the study under the brand name I'm Yunity. They explain about using it for pets here. Cali is taking 2,400 mg per day based on her weight. It can't hurt, so we're giving it a try. It might keep her more comfortable and maybe it will give us a little more time.  

Update: Cali survived two months after surgery and had been taking the mushroom extract for a month and a half. We noticed that after receiving her first dose of the day, she seemed to feel better. We feel fortunate to have had those extra two months.