Cancer in dogs

Cancer in dogs - Hemangiosarcomas

Hemangiosarcomas are malignant neoplasms that originate from the vascular endothelium. They occur predominantly in older dogs (8 to 10 years of age) and in males; German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are at high risk for this type of dog cancer. The spleen, right atrium, and subcutis are common sites of involvement at the time of presentation.

In general, the biologic behavior of cancer in dogs is highly aggressive, with most anatomic forms of the tumor infiltrating and metastasing early in the disease. The only exception is that of primary hemangiosarcomas, which have a lower metastatic potential than the tumors that originate in subcutaneous tissues.

The nature of owner's complaints and the clinical signs at presentation are usually related to the site of the primary tumor; to the presence or absence of metastatic lesions; and to the development of spontaneous tumor rupture, coagulopathies or cardiac arrhythmias. Dogs with cardiac hemangiosarcomas, regardless of the primary location or stage, are anemia and spontaneous bleeding. The anemia is usually the result of intracavitary bleeding or microangiopathic hemolysis .

Hematologic abnormalities in dogs with cancer have been well-characterized and include anemia, thrombocytopenia; the presence of nucleated red blood cells, and acanthocytes in the blood smear, and leukocytosis with neutrophilia, a left shift, and monocytosis. In addition, hemostatic abnormalities are also common in dogs with cancer.

In summary, hemangiosarcomas are usually diagnosed on the basis of historical, physical examination, and clinicopathologic findings, in conjunction with ultrasonographic and radiographic changes. A morphologic diagnosis can usually be made on the basis of cytologic or histopathologic findings. Although surgery is the preferred cancer treatment in dogs, survival times in such animals is extremely short. Postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy using doxorubicin-containing protocols prolongs survival in regarding cancer in dogs.

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