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Posts: 1
Let me start from the beginning so you have insights into my overwhelming amount of guilt and frustration. My boy Ruger (8 yr GSD) was fine, he had a stuffy nose and my husband and I were about to move across country so I wanted to ensure he was okay. I took him in and they decided to do blood work and it came back with some irregularities that they were concerned with. They told me the potential of hemangiosarcoma but urged an ultrasound. Concerned, obviously, we got it done immediately. While there the veterinarian said he was clear and realistically they usually “don’t see anything” and the dogs turn out to be fine. I relayed the results to our local veterinarian and she said just be cautious and once we get settled do redo the blood work in about six months (this was in September). So I’m thinking okay we’re cleared of cancer, he’s fine. We finally get settled into our new home, I could give a ton of “excuses” as to why I didn’t get him tested soon, but none of them truly justify why I didn’t do it sooner. Anyways. We had been shopping a few veterinarians as we were getting ready to take a trip and wanted to update their shots and get his damn blood test redone.. Obviously this all came too late which is why I’m seeking support in this site. My boy was laying in the house while I was outside doing yard work. He was fine when I went out, when I came back in he was completely different. He could barley walk, kept laying down, I tried to get him on his side so I could feel his tummy and he gave me this look of terror and his breathing got all weird. Immediately my husband and I rushed him to the emergency clinic. They took him back and the vet came to us and you could see it on her face. There was blood in his stomach which meant his spleen had ruptured and he was basically bleeding out. I kept probing in hopes she would give me the slight hope that he could get through this.. that it wasn’t hemangiosarcoma. She gave us the yes there’s surgery but, he might only live 3-6 months if it hadn’t spread already. We were brought back to my boy where I could see his bright brown eyes were tired. The veterinarian came in with the injections my boy got up and got between her and my husband as if to say “okay, this is it”. We stayed with him while he passed on and made sure he knew we were there with him.
I’m mad, I’m mad at myself that I didn’t take care of my boy sooner. I’m mad at the clinic because they down played this whole damn thing, most dogs only have potentially six months once diagnosed. So why would I wait six months to retest if most only have that time allotted? But, anyways. I’m mad at myself because I let my boy suffer. I’m sad, because I had this sweet, sweet dog just ripped from me in matter of an hour. I’m terrified my other boy would have a similar fate. I’m destroyed that now the boy I loved so deeply is now in a box on my nightstand and I’m missing out on years that I should of had with him.

I’m just wanting to get support and guidance from any of you who have experienced something like this.

Posts: 7
I want you to know I know exactly how you feel. We lost our wonderful 12 year old Annie to hemangiosarcoma a couple of years ago. I had sensed something "wasn't quite right" the night before, and took her to our vet the next afternoon where she acted normal. Blood tests were done anyhow, and our vet called us 45 minutes later to tell us to get her to the vet ER ASAP. Which we did. In the amazing short time it took us to get her there, she was unable to get up. Her spleen had ruptured and after hearing all our options, none of which would have bought us anything other than a month or so, we chose to put her to sleep right then and there. I was a horrible, horrible experience. She was fine at 3PM that day and dead by 5PM.

It is such a shock and tragic loss, almost unreal. Some folks call hemangiosarcoma "the thief in the night cancer." It is the very rare person who finds out something is wrong until that sudden, horrible death. In fact, even those who through some freak of nature do discover the cancer before a sudden death can do absolutely nothing to cure it or prevent it from its course. Yes. You could have bought your beloved Ruger a month or so by taking the spleen and heading out for chemo, but the end result would have been the same.

All of this is to say that you did the right thing by Ruger. You were faced with absolutely no good options against the thief. You have no reason to be angry with yourself. You did not let your boy suffer. Instead you stood up to be there with him with strong will and great love. The grief is real and unrelenting. It was for me, and it will be for you too, but you did right by Ruger and as the days and weeks and months progress, you will be able to take great solace in that. Peace be with you. And Ruger.

Posts: 2
Sorry for your loss.

Posts: 9
For TheBoys,

I have just experienced the same thing with my wonderful dog, Felina. She was a beautiful black lab mix and the most loving dog I've ever had. She would give me hugs by coming to sit next to me and rest her head on my shoulder. Very sensitive emotionally and very strong physically. She was my Canine Good Citizen. I had her for 11 years, since she was a puppy. My older dog, a GSD, had just passed away two months ago and as sad as that was, it was easier because he was elderly and suffering from arthritis. Felina was still so strong and active and I was looking forward to another 3-4 years together, just the two of us. I know that's what she wanted. But one morning, about two weeks ago I noticed some swelling in her belly. I took her to a group of veterinary specialists that included oncologists. They told me that she had a large tumor in her spleen,most likely hemangioma and that it had ruptured. The x-rays showed another tumor on her spine. I felt I had no choice but to do what was right for her and let her go. Still,I am torn up by it.

It sounds to me like there was nothing to suggest that your dog was sick six months ago. Felina had just had a wellness check with full blood panel two weeks before this happened to her. These tumors grow very fast. The vest told me it could have been only 1-2 months. So, please don't blame yourself. I had a long talk with them and they told me that these cancers are not painful. So, please don't think your boy suffered. And don't think that you let him down. This isn't your fault. It's just a terrible and devastating disease. Even if caught before it hemorages, life expectancy is very short.

I too feel like my dog and I were cheated. It's hard to accept this this happened to such an otherwise healthy and happy dog. I so wanted her to be my only dog for a while. Life just isn't fair. The suddenness of such a terrible diagnosis and the need to make such an immediate decision is devastating. I understand how you feel and I'm so sorry for your loss. It's not likely the same thing will happen to your other dog. I wish you peace and hope you feel better soon.

Take care,
Felina's Mom
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