When To Euthanize A Dog With Hemangiosarcoma? [Complete Guide]

When To Euthanize A Dog With Hemangiosarcoma

Do you know that cancers can appear in your dog without any warning? Obviously, prognosis at the early stage of a benign tumor is quite challenging. That’s why it is essential to update your knowledge about any possible disease in dogs that finally results in euthanization.

For this purpose, we are going to talk about canine cancer that can affect 5 % of dog breeds. The name of this cancer is hemangiosarcoma. It’s a devastating, malignant tumor. If not detected earlier, the ultimate end is to put the dog down or sleep forever!

When to euthanize a dog with hemangiosarcoma? Euthanizing a dog suffering from HSA depends on the type of HSA, treatment options, the overall health of the dog, life expectancy, and quality of life after treatment. After considering these facts, your vet will guide you when to put your pet down. Sometimes you may not get the desired improvement after surgery. So, it depends on the stages of the disease, location of the tumor as well as the time of diagnosis.

 Each case has a unique medical history. Keeping this factor in mind, it is advised to put the dog to sleep right after one week of diagnosis in case of visceral HSA.

The earlier the diagnosis, the better it will be to cure and increase in life expectancy. Later the diagnosis meant lower the quality of life as well as higher the chances of euthanization.

What Is Euthanization And Why You Need To Do This?

One of the hardest decisions about your pet is to euthanize it. Before we move on, let’s understand this term. Euthanasia means putting your dog to sleep or down in case of an incurable disease. In other words, choosing painless death instead of a miserable life after a fatal disease is what we call euthanizing a dog.

Why do you need to take this hard decision? The major reason for putting the down is to give him relief from painful life with a certain medical diagnosis that is untreatable. What should be the condition of a dog that is prone to euthanasia?.

Below are a few symptoms to tell you that your dog needs to put down immediately

  • Continuous bleeding from body parts
  • Not able to eat well
  • Continuous weight loss
  • Always howl in pain
  • Not interested in what’s going on around
  • No control over bowel and urination

When to put down the dog with Hemangiosarcoma?

From the above illustration of HSA, it is an understood fact that this type of cancer is incurable. However, dermal hemangiosarcoma does not spread too quickly. Moreover, there are fewer chances of survival up to one year after diagnosis and surgery.

The right time to put down your dog with hemangiosarcoma depends on the type of cancer, stage of cancer, and the impossibility of treatment. Let your vet decide this! There is a possibility of normal life in dermal hemangiosarcoma as it does not affect other body parts. The tumor under the skin can be treated with surgery. 

But visceral HSA is a malignant type of tumor that can affect internal organs by blocking blood circulation clotting within tumors, It may result in hemorrhage or rupture of big tumors that are very painful. It is better to put down your pet in such a case right after one week or two to three days of diagnosis.

During such a prognosis, you may have no choice but to put your dog down to save him from pain and misery. Though it is a terrible act living under such conditions can be more terrible.SO choosing death rather than miserable life is the only solution

Should you euthanize a dog with Hemangiosarcoma?

Here comes the confusion about whether to put down your dog or not? After diagnosis, it would be a hard time to decide between life or death. 

Consider these factors before deciding the right time to put your dog to eternal sleep:

Get Your Vet Opinion:

Ask your vet to suggest the right time for euthanization. In the case of dermal hemangiosarcoma, the possibility of normal life is quite high. But in Visceral HSA there will be no option other than putting your dog down.

Check Dog’s Health Condition after Diagnosis:

Keep a double check on your dog’s deteriorating health condition after diagnosis. If you feel continuous lethargy, weight loss, and low appetite, its a better option to euthanize your pet rather than living in misery. After surgery in dermal HSA, some dog breeds still dont opt to live a high-quality life. So, it’s better to end up!

Keep Treatment Cost in mind

It is true that dermal hemangiosarcoma can be treated if diagnosed at early stages. Typically the treatment from diagnosis to surgery may cost 500$ to 5000$. If your pet is insured, it would be an easy journey. But if it’s not the case, you may have to arrange a loan or other dog-care funds if available in your state. So, always keep this factor in your mind. But it’s unfair to choose death if you don’t have money to get treatment. It sounds horrible!

What Is Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs?

First, consider the etymology of the term Hemangiosarcoma. Hem meaning blood, angio meaning vessels, and sarcoma meaning tumor. From here, it is clear that Hemangiosarcoma is a type of chronic tumor characterized by the cells that line blood vessels. 

In other words, it is a rare type of cancer that can affect 5 % of dogs. The dangerous thing about this cancer is that it can develop anywhere as a network of blood vessels goes throughout the body. However, it mostly affects the spleen, skin, heart, liver, or other parts of the body.

Such blood vessels that carry tumors tend to deform and blood cells inside these vessels form clots. These clots prevent nutrients from entering vessels. As a result, the dog loses weight and dies ultimately. It tends to spread aggressively in the intestines, liver, lungs, and mesentery. However, its spread is limited under the skin.

If not diagnosed on time, any rupture in a big tumor may cause collapse, hemorrhage, or even death.

What are the Causes Of Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs?

Researchers blame genetic mutation to be responsible for causing this disease in dogs. But it’s not true in all cases. Sometimes environmental factors along with heritable factors also play a vital role in the spread of disease.

Below are a few suspected causes of Hemangiosarcoma in dogs:

  • Genetic mutation especially when both males or females carry the affected genes.
  • Dermal hemangiosarcoma may be caused by radiation or sun exposure in street dogs.
  • Prolonged infection or untreated injury may also result in this tumor.

Researchers are still trying to find out the exact causes of this cancer. More studies are undergoing on this topic. Hopefully, in the future, there will be some more clues.

What are the Symptoms Of Hemangiosarcoma In Dogs?

If a tumor is inside the organs of the body, it will show no visible symptoms until the bigger tumor gets rupture. Below are a few notable symptoms for this cancer in dogs:

  • Bleeding in the case when tumor ruptures
  • Short term lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Blood loss
  • Mass under the skin for cutaneous hemangiosarcoma
  • Enlarged Abdomen due to hemorrhage as a result of tumor

How Do I know It’s time to Euthanize my dog with Hemangiosarcoma?

Dog owners are often confused about the right time to put the dog to sleep. If your dog has diagnosed with symptoms of HSA, it’s your responsibility to note the few points given below carefully:

  • Check whether your dog is always in pain even after medication
  • Check your dog is continuously losing weight using a pet scale.
  • Check your dog is not taking interest in eating and drinking
  • Check if your dog is having the short breath
  • Check if your dog is feeling difficulty in standing well
  • Check fever and blood glucose level
  • Check your dog for expected symptoms of tumor rupture or bleeding.

Does the dog suffer when they have Hemangiosarcoma?

Canine hemangiosarcoma is an indolent disease that causes no pain until a big tumor burst. Your pet may look normal even in developing stages. However, the last stages are relatively painful with hemorrhage and other effects as a result of tumor rupture

In dermal HSA, dogs may feel pain after surgical removal of tumors. But tumors under the skin will not cause any pain. It develops gradually and slowly. Even canines may not show any clinical symptoms during earlier prognosis.

Cancer of this type develops silently inside the body organs. Unless the tumor grows bigger in the size, there will be no notable complications or suffering. But when the tumor gains its optimal weight, blood circulation along the vessels disturbs a lot. At that moment putting your dog down would be the ultimate option.

How long can a dog live with Hemangiosarcoma without surgery?

The survival time of dogs in HSA varies considerably. How long a dog can survive without surgery in this cancer depends on the stage of cancer, treatment duration, and overall health condition of the dog.

Below are a few points related to the survival range of dog in HSA:

  • The survival ratio of dogs may increase up to one year after surgery or chemotherapy. About 6 to 13%of dogs can live up to one-year post-diagnosis.
  • The survival range of dogs suffering from dermal HSA depends mainly on the stage and location of tumors. If a tumor has destroyed tissues then it would be incurable even after surgery. In such cases, the survival range would fall between 5 to 10 months.
  • If not treated, dogs with visceral HSA would die within one or two weeks of diagnosis. The tumor inside the organs takes time to grow but it would take no time to rupture causing hemorrhage.
  • The survival range of dogs with Splenic HSA treated with one surgery is one to three months. However, dogs treated with surgery and chemotherapy may live from four to eight-month post-diagnosis.
  • Survival time tends to be shorter for dogs with splenic tumors that ruptures. It would be a painful time if you don’t put your canine down.
  • Possibility of a long life after diagnosing a tumor in the heart, liver spleen, and other organs would be shorter or typically would not be more than one month if not treated.
  • Similarly, the survival range of dogs with Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)will be shorter and unpredictable.

Dog Breeds  that mostly suffer from Hemangiosarcoma?

It is a sad fact that HSA can affect any dog breed. However, larger breeds are most prone to this type of cancer as compared to smaller breeds. 

Below is a list of dog breeds that show a greater tendency of developing this cancer:

  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Basset Hounds
  • Boxers
  • Dalmatians
  • English Setters
  • Flat-coated Retriever
  • Great Danes
  • Poodles
  • Portuguese Water Dogs
  • Sky Terries 
  • Whippets

Don’t forget to get this training program if you are planning to raise any of the above dog breeds as a pet.

Is there any possible Treatment Of Hemangiosarcoma?

Dog lovers are always emotional about putting their furry friends down. They often ask the vet about, Is there any possible treatment option of this cancer in veterinary science?. Studies on this devastating disease have the following results:

YES, treatment of dermal HSA is possible if detected at an earlier stage. However, visceral HSA is incurable and difficult to diagnose at an earlier stage. Though you can’t put cancer at the end after surgery on chemotherapy, lifespan and quality of life can be improved considerably

Treatment options of hemangiosarcoma are given below:


Primarily, surgery is the best option for treating all types of HSA.It is the most effective way of treating dermal HSA. Through surgery, a benign tumor is extracted that causes no further damage. Similarly, in splenic HSA, the spleen is removed through surgery. But it has many complications. Surgery can be done anywhere except in the heart.


Where surgery can be difficult, chemo is an alternative way of treating tumors especially in heart or cardiac locations. The purpose of chemotherapy is to slow down the progression of cancer. Several chemotherapy protocols plus medicines are used for this task to slow down the gravity of the disease. However, it may not increase the survival range in many cases.


Though this treatment option is not widely used. But for dermal HSA where surgery is not effective RT is done to get the desired results. Studies are further carried out on this method. This procedure is helpful in providing restricted treatment and increasing the expectancy of life.

What happens If you don’t Euthanize your Dog?

I have seen many pet owners who don’t want to put the pets down unnaturally. They would prefer natural death. But it has serious implications as described below:

Anxiety and Pain:

Your dog might suffer from endless anxiety. He would gradually disconnect from everything around himself. He may not walk properly and even may not be able to protect himself from insects. In this way, you have to be more careful as dogs can catch any infection. He would howl in pain and would not be able to eat or drink well.


This happens with dog owners who observe illness for the first time. They don’t opt to euthanize as they want to give time to their dog. Perhaps they think that by delaying this process, animals would improve a little bit. However, this may not happen in HSA. Sometimes, owners delay this procedure as they want to avoid the feeling of regret and guilt. They don’t want to blame themselves for putting their dog down. But it may result in lots of pain and anxiety.

After all, this process is not a cruel act!

Final Words

Finally, choosing death is always painful. Be positive, it would be less painful than witnessing your dog dying with pain. If your dog is on the same boat, I would advise you to dig a grave and prepare a cemetery for your lovely friend. Bury it when it is dead! Place flowers on its grave and then go to the pet shop to buy another healthy pet for your family.

Your friend is nowhere in between you but you can keep his memories alive by making another healthy furry friend. 

Emotions cant die! Life can be put to an end but we can’t put down good memories of happy companionship. Take care of your dog. Bye-bye!


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