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Hemangiosarcoma in dog

Hemangiosarcoma in dog

Posted by Dr. Julia Henriques on Nov 16th 2022

Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of the blood vessel lining … technically called the vascular endothelium. Hemangiosarcoma can spread fast … because your dog has blood vessels everywhere in his body.. It’s also called angiosarcoma or malignant hemangioendothelioma. Hemangiosarcoma is abbreviated as HSA. It’s more common in largre breeds as they age, accounting for 5-7% of all tumors in dogs.

Hemangiosarcoma is a dogs-only cancer. Humans sometimes get similar tumors called angiosarcomas. Those are usually from work exposure to vinyl chloride and polychlorinated PCBs … often in rubber or tire plants. Women who get high dose radiation for breast cancer can get angiosarcoma of the skin.

There are three types of HSA:

  • Visceral – in the internal organs, especially spleen, heart (right atrium), liver
  • Dermal or cutaneous – appears on the skin, often where fur is sparse
  • Hypodermal – the layer of tissue under the skin (subcutis)

As this list suggests. the disease can appear anywhere in the body. It often starts somewhere there’s a lot of blood supply … like the spleen or heart. In fact, 66% of spleen cancers and 40% of heart cancers are HSA. The spleen’s job is to filter red blood cells … which is why it’s one of the most likely places for an HSA tumor.

Hemangiosarcoma starts out slow. It doesn’t usually cause pain, and dogs may not show symptoms. But eventually it’s a very aggressive cancer. It’s also difficult to detect. This means that in more than half the cases, by the time HSA is diagnosed, it’s already spread. It can metastasize widely … to the lungs, abdominal lymph nodes, brain, bone and muscle, as well as into the omentum (part of the abdomen).

The hypodermal and visceral forms are the most aggressive and invasive types of HSA. Dermal HSA is sometimes treatable if it hasn’t already spread. But like the other types of HSA, it can metastasize internally. As the disease progresses, tumors often grow and rupture. The result is severe bleeding, leading to collapse, shock and death.

The cause of HSA is unknown, though because of breed disposition, genetics likely play a role.

Yunnan Baiyo is a popular herbal formula in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) … and TCM for humans too. The formula is proprietary (patented by the Chinese government) … so there’s no information available about what’s in it. Some say it may contain ingredients like ginseng, ox gall bladder, and more.

Many TCVM practitioners use Yunnan Baiyao as a constitutional remedy. It balances Qi blood statis or stagnation. And it’s also a very popular remedy to stop bleeding. Yunnan Baiyao helps improve platelets and clotting. So it can stop bleeding from external wounds as well as internal hemorrhaging. And this is what makes it effective in helping dogs with hemangiosarcoma.

Yunnan Baiyao may also help slow the growth of an HSA tumor. In fact, there’s research taking place to study its potential in killing HSA cells. Yunnan baiyao may also have anti-inflammatory properties.

If you’d like to use this formula, it’s best to consult a TCVM vet who understands the proper dosing for Yunnan Baiyao. Yunnan Baiyao dosing needs to be tailored to your dog.

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