Malignant Hemangiosarcoma is one of the most aggressive types of cancers found in dogs. Remission is rare but has been achieved by some, (myself included). The key to successfully treating this type of cancer is understanding it’s characteristics and addressing the underlying factors that contribute to its development.
Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of the blood vessels which make it prone to metastasize and spread through the blood stream very easily. Because of this, it’s extremely important to take action immediately once diagnosed. All forms of hemangiosarcoma are potentially fatal but some more serious than others.
Before we address the treatments, let’s take a quick look at the three types of hemangiosarcoma found in dogs.
Types of Hemangiosarcoma
Considered the least serious, this is a type of skin cancer is commonly found in areas with little fur or light colored fur and is often associated with sun exposure. Surgical removal of these tumors can alone be a successful treatment if clean margins are obtained. If clean margins are not accomplished and some of the cancerous tissue is missed, then these will most likely return in a relatively short amount of time.
Black Salve (a drawing compound) can also be affective in eliminating these type of tumors often drawing out the cancerous tissue. I’ve had first hand experience with this compound and was amazed with the results. – (More on the Black salve Page).
Subcutaneous (hypedermal) Hemangiosarcoma
These tumors develop just below the skin, often not affecting the skin itself at all. This type of
hemangiosarcoma it more serious and has a higher percentage of metastasis (around 60%). Surgical removal of the tumors can be performed though it is more difficult to determine if all the cancerous tissue is removed.
These types of tumors commonly develop on the heart and spleen. They are generally malignant with a high rate of metastasis. This is the most severe type of hemangiosarcoma and the average prognosis is only approximately 6-9 months, even with some of the best conventional treatments.
Is it a case of faulty genes?
In the vast majority of cases, absolutely not.
Some types of cancer are more common it certain breeds and hemangiosarcoma is no different. However, it’s important to understand that predisposed does not mean predetermined! Genetics are a factor, but there are many other factors as well. For cancer or any disease to develop, an immune system dysfunction must be present. So by addressing this area, we can greatly reduce illness regardless of what genetic challenges a certain breed has.
All that being said, some breads are more predisposed than others. This simply means that when something is challenging the immune system, the weakest link is where the we find the effects first. Many breads have these same “weak links” and go on to live a healthy full life while some unfortunately do not. This is because genes are merely blueprints, and it’s how well these these blueprints are properly built upon that makes the difference. And what affects the way genetic code is followed? External Factors.
A clear example can be seen with osteosarcoma. It’s been on a dramatic rise in recent years and it’s most commonly found in larger breads. However this is not because “large breads” are born with defective genes, but rather that other external factors that challenge the immune system and as a result, they develop an illness in their weakest link.
Large dogs have much larger growing spurts as puppies than do small dogs, so it’s crucial that they receive the proper diet in order to develop a healthy skeletal system. Most domesticated puppies are fed commercially manufactured puppy kibble that’s loaded with cheap carbohydrates instead of good proteins and other nutrients that are needed to develop strong bones. The result? Low bone density, an weakened immune system. As they grow to large and heavy dogs, we now have a problem and an area for disease to develop.
Some breeders of large dogs have been more fortunate than others when it comes to osteosarcoma in the blood lines. Many used to believe it was due to a” bad blood line”, but over time it was shown that it wasn’t the blood line at all, it was the environment in which they were raised, especially as puppies.
Conventional Hemangiosarcoma Treatments and Their Limitations
Now I’m not one to bash conventional medicine, and it’s certainly has had some amazing advancements in the last 100 years, however it does have it’s limitations, especially when it comes to promoting health and treating certain diseases.
Unfortunately most conventional treatments of malignant forms of hemangiosarcoma fail miserably. The common approaches such as chemo, radiation and surgery only deal with the tumor itself and fail to address the underlying issue. The tumor, is in fact the result of an issue, and that issue needs to be addressed in order achieve and maintain remission.
Conventional treatments for hemangiosarcoma commonly involve the surgical removal of the main tumor, then often chemo is administered. This generally only extends the dog’s life a matter of months at the most. As insane as it sound, this expensive and ineffective procedure continues to be the protocol even though there’s no real chance of remission that’s expected.
It’s important to understand that many conventional treatments do have some undeniable benefits, but to fully realize their potential, they must combined with a holistic approach to health as well.
When it comes to malignant forms hemangiosarcoma in dogs however, most conventional treatments offer little hope so other alternative approaches need to be considered.
Successfully Treating Hemangiosarcoma
The body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, and just as the improper diet can cause complications that lead to disease, the right diet with with certain immune boosting herbs and cancer fighting supplements have the ability to help he body heal itself. Holistic approaches seem to have a little better understanding of this as they tend to address the cancer itself as well as promoting health boosting the immune system and addressing the underlying challenges that are unique to the individual. They tend to treat the patent as well as the disease.
There has been some cases where hemangiosarcoma has been slowed of even gone into remission, and in all the cases I’m aware of, dietary treatment was actually the main component. It’s also important to note that I haven’t come across a success case in where the diet was not main component.
Malignant Hemangiosarcoma is serious, however it’s also treatable. I know first hand from my own dog Henry beating the odds with it. You can read a little about Henry’s story here.