Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Spleen Cancer in Dogs

Our furry friends bring us infinite amounts of happiness and companionship. However, much like humans, they can also be prone to severe illnesses, including cancer. In this article, our vets in Turlock will explain spleen cancer in dogs, including its definition, breeds most susceptible, signs and symptoms to watch out for, potential causes, available treatments, and diagnosis methods.

What is spleen cancer in dogs?

Spleen cancer in dogs refers to the development of malignant tumors in the spleen, also known as splenic tumors or splenic hemangiosarcoma. The spleen, responsible for filtering blood and storing red blood cells, can develop hemangiosarcoma, the most common form of splenic tumors. As the spleen comprises a large network of blood vessels, tumors can grow rapidly due to the abundant blood supply. Hemangiosarcoma, originating from blood vessels, is highly aggressive and typically found in the spleen, liver, heart, and skin.

Which dogs are at higher risk of developing spleen tumors?

Older, larger breeds of dogs are more susceptible to developing spleen tumors, with dogs aged between 6 and 13 years old at higher risk. Some of these breeds include:

  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • Standard Poodle
  • Bernese Mountain dog
  • Flat-Coated Retriever

What are the symptoms of spleen cancer in dogs?

Symptoms of splenic tumors in dogs can be challenging to detect, often presenting during diagnostic tests for other conditions. The primary concern is potential rupture, leading to either slow or fast bleeding into the abdomen. Early symptoms may include

  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sudden collapse or fainting
  • Pale gums
  • Abdominal enlargement (such as bloating or swollen abdomen)
  • Cold limbs
  • Heart arrhythmia

What can cause spleen cancer in dogs?

The exact cause of spleen cancer in dogs remains unclear, though genetics, environmental factors, and immune system dysfunction may contribute.

Diagnosis of Spleen Cancer in Dogs

Veterinarians may suspect a bleeding splenic tumor based on clinical signs and physical examination. Diagnostic imaging techniques such as ultrasound and X-rays, along with blood tests, are commonly used to assess internal bleeding and blood cell counts. A definitive diagnosis often requires a biopsy of the tumor tissue.

Treatment for Spleen Cancer in Dogs

Treatment options depend on the disease stage and the dog's overall health. Surgical removal of the spleen (splenectomy) is primary, especially if the tumor hasn't spread. Chemotherapy may follow surgery to target any remaining cancer cells and improve survival rates. Common chemotherapy treatments include doxorubicin, alone or in combination.

Is splenic cancer painful for dogs?

Spleen cancer typically doesn't cause pain as it grows. Clinical signs become noticeable when the tumor ruptures or bleeds, potentially causing abdominal pain.

Spleen Cancer in Dog's Life Expectancy 

Prognosis varies based on disease stage, treatment effectiveness, and the dog's health. Untreated splenic tumors have a life expectancy of weeks to months, while treated dogs may survive several months to over a year with appropriate care.

Understanding the signs and risks associated with spleen cancer in dogs is crucial for early detection and intervention. If you notice concerning symptoms, consult your oncologie veterinarian in Turlock for evaluation and guidance.

Early detection and treatment can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for affected dogs.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned about your dog displaying signs of spleen cancer? Our veterinarians at Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital in Turlock can help. Call us today for a consultation.

New Patients Welcome

Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Turlock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(209) 634-0023

Book Online (209) 634-0023