Hemangiosarcoma is a very aggressive form of cancer that can very sadly strike without any warning and make your golden retriever very ill in a very short time. Unfortunately, golden retrievers are especially susceptible to this cancer.
It originates from endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. Most often they are located in the spleen and heart. It typically affects middle-aged to older dogs, with the average age at diagnosis being 9 to 12 years.
Clinical signs depend on the tumor’s location. Most of them are non specific and therefore they don’t immediately suggest cancer.
It’s most common for dogs to experience sudden collapse due to a massive tumor rupture and hemorrhage. Dog’s can very easily fall into shock which can be lethal.
During an examination vets may observe signs such as pale mucous membranes, elevated heart and respiratory rates, nosebleeds – all of which would be due to the tumor’s rupture.
The main treatment for this form of cancer is surgery. Surgical treatment for a splenic HSA is a splenectomy, while for a cardiac HSA removing the tumor and part of the pericardial sac, a structure that surrounds and protects the heart.