Euthanasia Was Best Answer For Dog With Hemangiosarcoma

Once this type of tumor spreads, no treatment can halt the cancer.

Sometimes euthanasia is the best thing you can do your for dog if he is suffering. Maxmygsd/iStock/Thinkstock


I had a beloved German Shepherd Dog, Schultz, who was 8 1/2 years old. I noticed a change in his appetite the last few weeks. It became worse each week with him not eating at dinnertime. I thought it was his food, so I started feeding him chicken and rice. Then I noticed last week he was vomiting. I saw him do this about three times last week. I also noticed that when I went outside, he was not interested in coming with me. Last Thursday, I was petting his belly and noticed a swelling under his private area. I took him to the vet who found a 16-inch long malignant tumor. There wasn’t much room for his organs and the tumor was squeezing his stomach. The vet also found spots on his lungs. He had lost 8 pounds at this point.

She said that this was one of the largest and most aggressive tumors she had seen and that an operation and chemotherapy were not options. So I had two options, giving him pain killers and an anti-inflammatory with the possibility that the tumor would rupture, or to euthanize him. My husband and I decided that we did not want him to suffer so we put him to sleep. My last GSD had the same condition, but we let him suffer too long. I did not want this for Schultz. However, I still feel guilty about my decision and cannot stop crying.


I am sorry to hear about the loss of Schultz. You obviously cared greatly for him. You need to know that he had an untreatable condition, he was suffering, and euthanasia was the most humane decision you could make. It took a true act of love to put the alleviation of your dog’s pain ahead of your need for his companionship.

He had a malignant tumor of his spleen that had already spread to his lungs, so it was inoperable. This type of tumor, known as a hemangiosarcoma, is unique to dogs and most common in German Shepherd Dogs and Golden Retrievers. Typically you will see vague signs at first, such as loss of appetite, lethargy or periods of fatigue. Over time, you may note weight loss, vomiting and pale gums.

In about 20 percent of dogs, these tumors are benign and can be removed surgically. Unfortunately, there is no way to know in advance of surgery if they are benign or malignant. However, when chest X-rays show spread of the tumor to the lungs, the mass is malignant, and there are no viable treatment options.

Alleviating your dog’s suffering through humane euthanasia was the best choice since treatment would have been hopeless and he only would have gotten worse. Try to enjoy all of the great memories you have of him. Remember his spirit and heart.

Article Categories:
Dogs · Health and Care


  • I’m sorry to hear about Shultz, I have to take mt big boy Troi to the vet tomorrow to be put to sleep, he’s a 6 year old Rottweiler, such a big gentle giant, he has went from 70 kg to 52 kg in 9 months, we tried different food , brown rice, everything possible, but he still wouldn’t eat, I took him to the vet and she said he has a large tumour in his stomach, his blood results where so poor, she just said sorry Mr Milne, I knew then, there was nothing else to do, I’m gutted can’t stop crying,but I know deep down it’s the best for my Troi, I couldn’t watch him suffer in pain when the condition gets worse, I had a Rottie 15 years ago, Dylan was 5 when he took cancer in his bones, I waited to long to make my decision about putting him to sleep,and at the end I could see how much pain he was in, I’m not putting my big boy through that, I love him so much,he’s my son as me and my wife where to old to have kids when we met,so we decided to get Troi our son, we will really miss him so much, good nite big pal xxx

    Alex milne December 4, 2016 4:12 am Reply
  • I’m sorry for your loss, I bet Shultz was such a good boy. You absolutely made the right decision to end his suffering. You did the most compassionate thing possible.

    We had to put down our 6 year old Beagle Maddie last night . From the outside she appeared OK, just al little slower than normal, but we knew that the hermagiosacroma was growing and she was having internal bleeding that would only get worse.

    CD December 25, 2016 6:38 am Reply
  • My Bassett hound was just diagnosed via x- rays last week and the vet said he had more than likely the rarest form of it as it had more than likely originated not only in the spleen but in the heart too. She was 90% certain and couldn’t be 100% without an ultrasound but the lung x- rays did not look good. That looked like spider webs running through it and she thrust she heard a slight mermer in his heart and it was round in shape too. My question is that she said we’d know when it was time and some of the signs would be labored breathing and the paling of his gums! Well his breathing has been anywhere from 48-65 breaths per minute for over a week so I was wondering would that slow down or go higher when it’s time? His gums look good and pink, he has lost his appetite and his down to about a half a cup a day. He still gets excited when visitors come and he always seems up for a walk but when he adjusts himself on the couch his breathing increases and it just seems hard to move. I just don’t think he’s in pain nor does the vet but I’m concerned I just won’t know and don’t want to not know and possible wait too long or be too premature. Is there any way I can have some clarity here? Thank you.

    Candy Norvell April 24, 2017 5:55 pm Reply
    • I’d think as long as he’s not in pain and responds to what he normally likes, he’s wanting to be here. I just lost a dog to this awful disease. She was fine until about the last 30 hours.

      FloridaDon May 11, 2017 6:16 pm Reply
      • Thanks for your input and very sorry to hear about your loss. How’d you really know, She told you when if was time?

        Melissa D'Ruiz July 12, 2017 9:08 pm Reply
    • Curious how your pup is doing? Our 7 1/2 year old German Shepard was just diagnosed yesterday. Same exact symptoms.. Will get excitsd when we come home or have visitors. The cat still makes him chase him. He even went swimming yesterday and we made him steak for dinner… But same question in our mind.. How long before its too long, he’s still happy now. So I just want to spend as much time as I can with him.

      Melissa D'Ruiz July 12, 2017 9:06 pm Reply
      • I’m sorry to say he didn’t make it a week. She gave him six weeks and she later told me that thats a pretty standard reply. In her experience 6 weeks is a stretch. He got progressively worse and in fact I think he suffered for about 12 hours too long. We called in the mobil vet to come here but couldn’t get an appointment until late in the afternoon. By 10 AM we knew we couldn’t wait so I called my vet and we took him in. We waited for my three kids to get there and he died peacefully in my arms. Hardest thing I’ve ever done. The minute his breathing becomes labored, he doesn’t eat, walks around slowly from room to room then you’ll know its time. Sorry for your doggie but listen to him they tend to rally at the end because its what they think you want. Elwood two days before we put him down, chased the tennis ball around the house.

        Candy Norvell July 13, 2017 9:09 am Reply
        • I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁 we have our mobile vet coming out to check on him tomorrow afternoon and will see what she says. His breathing has been labored going on about 3-4 weeks now but he is still eating the meat we give him, although day by day it seems like less and less. He got up and chased the cat this morning, but it is so hard to leave for work.

          Melissa D'Ruiz July 13, 2017 9:33 am Reply
  • My dog was diagnosed about theee months ago and had been doing fine until now. She had a spleenectomy when she was diagnosed and recovered quickly . Her appetite was good , no vomiting or diarrhea.
    Today I came home from a weekend at my daughter’s house and she looks like she’s lost weight and is having trouble getting up the stairs. I also noticed that her gums are whitening. She is able to eat but is very lethargic.

    I was told when she had the surgery that she did in fact have hemangiosarcoma and the prognosis was about three months. I am so saddened to see her like this . I am not sure when the right time is to start considering euthanasia or if I should just let her die on her own time. If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated.

    Michelle Garrett September 25, 2017 9:16 pm Reply
    • I’m so sorry for you, I just found out a few hours ago that my dog has this horrible disease as well. She is having surgery right now in fact. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of advice or information out there. Personally, the best I feel I can do when the time comes is try to tell what she wants… is she still herself, enjoying the world as much as she can be, or has the illness taken that away? People like to say you can’t really tell with a dog, but that’s total bull.

      FuzzyDuckling September 28, 2017 12:19 pm Reply
      • Thank you for your kind words. I don’t think she’s in pain and she’s eating again. Still has difficulty walking but has been up a few times. I got some prednisone from the vet which seems to have helped quite a bit. I’m going to wTch and wait for now. So sorry to hear about your dog.

        Michelle Garrett September 28, 2017 1:28 pm Reply
  • My dog Jackie (10) has spleen cancer. They said it is large. He is eating and drinking; walking around on his own. My question is how long can he last with this terrible issue without surgery? Just on the steroids. I do not want to put him down now, but I also do not want him to suffer and have the spleen rupture. Please help.

    Andrea October 6, 2017 8:44 pm Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *