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Old December 28th, 2002, 06:48 PM   #1
Tom M (Sunol, CA)
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Any veterinarians (oncologist) in the house?

We just had a splenectomy performed on our Golden Retriever, Cassie. While we're waiting for the pathology report the vet believes (as do I based on the symptoms) that Cassie has hemangiosarcoma. Fortunately for her there don't appear to be any other lesions based on the x-rays and the visual examination the vet performed during the surgery. I'm hoping we caught it fairly early as I am unaware of any "fainting" spells she may have suffered. The only clue that someting was wrong was a slight reduction in energy and her going off her normal eating habits. She did however also exhibit a lightened nose and gums.

While I know the prognosis is not good and that the amount of time Cassie now has left is variable (a few weeks to a year or so) I'm looking for treatment options that have a good chance of extending her lifespan while still maintaing a reasonable quality of life.

TIA for any assistance that can be provided.
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Old December 28th, 2002, 10:32 PM   #2
Geoff in Malibu
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Not a vet but went through it with our two dogs

Two rotties. First had lymphoma in his liver, it eventually spread to his brain. Changed his diet (I learned to cook for him) and did lots of chemo (big $$$ but worth it). Prognosis was weeks to months. He lived a little over 7 months longer and had a wonderful quality of life. Second had nasal tumor (adenocarcenoma sp?). Did 20 days of radiation. Also started cooking for her. The only dog they ever say gain weight during radiation. She also had a great quality of life. The cancer spread to her lungs (showed up on 6 month X-ray and surprised us all), did chemo w/o any improvement, and she was doing great until her last day.

Enjoy her while you can and spoil her. Dogs react very different to chemo than people.

So sorry to hear about your dog. Feel free to email me if you want more info
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Old December 29th, 2002, 11:07 AM   #3
jaime howell
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Re: Any veterinarians (oncologist) in the house?

sorry to hear about your doggie...you might want to check with brian harrington as his wife is a vet
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Old December 30th, 2002, 02:13 AM   #4
Magic Mtn Dan
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Sorry to hear about Cassie Tom...

She's a pretty Golden and it's sad to hear about her medical troubles - it must be hard for you and Janice. I hope she is somehow rejuvenated and lives a long, happy life.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 07:46 AM   #5
JoshS
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will ask my Vet today...

since we're bringing Sunshine in for some shots. So sorry to hear about Cassie. Hope everything turns out well.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 11:46 AM   #6
Steve B
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Our best wishes for Cassie

Depending upon what your local vet has to say, you may want to contact someone at UC Davis. they have an outstanding vet school and should know all the latest alternatives.

The son of my best friend from high school is spending his residency there. Let me know if you want me to make contact.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 12:13 PM   #7
blk 2k 2.7
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all the best... they touch our hearts. *NM*

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Old December 30th, 2002, 05:03 PM   #8
Robert (Agoura Hills)
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RHey Tom, Here is some Info that I promised you. I hope this helps out.

Here are some emails from some of the best veterinary minds in the USA
regarding your problem. I'll be getting some international correspondence
regarding your problem tomorrow.
.................................................. ...................
Prior to my mid-life crisis and transition to being a lab animal vet I spent
15 years in private practice. So this is my experience. Goldens are one
of the breeds prone to tumor development and hemangiosarcomas are one of the
biggies for them. If it has been removed and there were no metastasis, then
the prognosis is good. I had a poodle that I referred to the local vet
school where ultrasound found a bump on the spleen that was a
hemangiosarcoma. After splenectomy, it lived for many years. I also
referred a Golden for a splenectomy for a suspected hemangiosarcoma and it
didn't fare as well.

Summary: The dog might do well or it might not, depending on whether there
are any other tumors sitting in the belly waiting to grow. Ultrasound would
be the best non-invasive means for looking for recurrence. Plain X-rays can
easily miss one.

Buster

James "Buster" Hawkins, DVM, MS, DACLAM
NHLBI / NIH
phone: (301) 451-6743
fax: (301) 480-7576
.................................................. ....................
Hi, I know that Dr. David Vail and the group at Wisconsin have done alot of
work on canine hemangiosarcomas. You're right that it's not a good
prognosis. They have done quite a bit of work on this cancer with Doxil. I
know about this as I'm in the pharmaceutical development field and worked on
Doxil for quite a while. It is an expensive therapy and it does seem to
only buy additional time, not achieve 'cure's. Worth talking to Dr. Vail
though. Here's his e-dress and phone. You can say I sent you. Gail
Dr. David Vail
(608)263-9804

.................................................. ....................
Although golden retrievers seem to be predisposed to hemangiosarcoma, I
wouldn't give up hope yet since about 50% of splenic tumors are benign.
However, if this does turn out to be hemangiosarcoma, I'd recommend that
your friend's DVM contact a veterinary oncologist (either local or at
UCDavis). Oncologists are usually willing to discuss the current recommended
therapy and prognosis with referring DVMs. When I was in practice we used
cyclophosphamide and adriamycin for this type of cancer, but this may have
changed in the interim. I've included a couple of abstracts below. In my
experience, MOST (but definitely NOT all) dogs tolerated these
chemotherapeutics with minimal problems. There are certainly potential side
effects, common and less common, that the DVM should discuss before
proceeding.

J Vet Intern Med 2000 Sep-Oct;14(5):479-85 Related Articles, Links
Treatment of canine hemangiosarcoma: 2000 and beyond.
Clifford CA, Mackin AJ, Henry CJ.
University of Pennsylvania, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, School of
Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Canine hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is an aggressive and malignant neoplasia with a
grave prognosis. Surgery and chemotherapy have limited success in prolonging
survival times and increasing quality of life in dogs with HSA. Advances in
medical oncology are resulting in increased survival rates and a better
quality of life for veterinary cancer patients. An understanding of
mechanisms of metastasis has led to the development of new treatments
designed to delay or inhibit tumor spread. Promising new treatment options
include novel delivery systems (inhalation or intracavitary chemotherapy);
use of immunomodulators such as liposome-encapsulated muramyl
tripeptide-phosphatidylethanolamine; antimetastatic agents such as
inhibitors of angiogenesis (interferons, thalidomide), matrix
metalloproteinase inhibitors, and minocycline; dietary modifications; and
gene therapy. Inhibitors of angiogenesis seem to be safe and, unlike
conventional chemotherapy, do not induce drug resistance. Although many of
the newer approaches are still under development and review, the use of
multimodality therapy incorporating innovative treatment modalities may
offer the best therapeutic option for dogs affected with HSA.

J Vet Intern Med 2000 May-Jun;14(3):271-6 Related Articles, Links
Evaluation of ifosfamide for treatment of various canine neoplasms.
Rassnick KM, Frimberger AE, Wood CA, Williams LE, Cotter SM, Moore AS.
Harrington Oncology Program, School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts
University, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA. [email protected]

lfosfamide (3-[2-chloroethyl]-2[(2
chloroethyl)amino]tetrahydro-2H-1,3,2-oxazaphosphorine 2-oxide) is an
alkylating agent with a broad spectrum of antitumor activity. The efficacy
and toxicity of ifosfamide were evaluated in 72 dogs with spontaneously
occurring tumors. Forty dogs (56%) had lymphoma, 31 (43%) had sarcomas, and
1 had a metastatic carcinoma. Five dogs received ifosfamide at dosages for
"hemangiosarcoma and thalidomide", you can find an abstract (pasted below).

If you do a Google search for "hemangiosarcoma and
thalidomide", there are a lot of Web pages which discuss hemangiosarcoma in
dogs, treatment options, including chemotherapy (including thalidomide).

In my experience, splenic hemangiosarcoma is poorly responsive to
treatment. Most dogs I've seen w/ it are dead by 4mo post-splenectomy, &
traditional/conventional chemotherapy has not been successful in preventing
metastasis, so at best may prolong life a short time & the drugs tend to
make the dogs sick, so many pet owners opt to take the dog home
post-splenectomy for quality time until the dog gets sick again & have it
euthanized at that time.

About 1-2yr ago, I asked one of the UCD vet oncologists about thalidomide
since a friend at Ontario Veterinary College mentioned promising results in
treating dogs w/ the drug. Thalidomide suppresses angiogenesis, so it has
the potential to slow down the growth of hemangioSA tumors, making it
potentially useful for prolonging life & facilitating treatment w/
anti-cancer drugs. However, I don't know the current status of thalidomide
availability in the US. The oncologist agreed that traditional
chemotherapeutic drugs are not very effective in treating hemangioSA in
dogs.

You might want to read Clifford et al's paper for more details on treatment
or contact the UPenn folks to ask about treatment options, including
clinical trials.

J Vet Intern Med 2000 Sep-Oct;14(5):479-85
Treatment of canine hemangiosarcoma: 2000 and beyond.
Clifford CA, Mackin AJ, Henry CJ.
University of Pennsylvania, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, School of
Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

ABSTRACT: Canine hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is an aggressive and malignant
neoplasia with a grave prognosis. Surgery and chemotherapy have limited
success in prolonging survival times and increasing quality of life in dogs
with HSA. Advances in medical oncology are resulting in increased survival
rates and a better quality of life for veterinary cancer patients. An
understanding of mechanisms of metastasis has led to the development of new
treatments designed to delay or inhibit tumor spread. Promising new
treatment options include novel delivery systems (inhalation or
intracavitary chemotherapy); use of immunomodulators such as
liposome-encapsulated muramyl tripeptide-phosphatidylethanolamine;
antimetastatic agents such as inhibitors of angiogenesis (interferons,
thalidomide), matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors, and minocycline; dietary
modifications; and gene therapy. Inhibitors of angiogenesis seem to be safe
and, unlike conventional chemotherapy, do not induce drug resistance.
Although many of the newer approaches are still under development and
review, the use of multimodality therapy incorporating innovative treatment
modalities may offer the best therapeutic option for dogs affected with HSA.

Pauline
PL Wong, DVM, DACVA
1) Veterinary Anesthesia Consulting Services
2) Anesthesia/CPC, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hosp

Univ of California, Davis, CA 95616
.................................................. ....................
I hope that helps some. These people are some of my brain trust at work.
There is no way I could do what I do with out their wisdom. So I hope they
can help you too. I'll no doubt be getting more feedback in the next few
days from other experts from other parts of the world and I'll post those emails too.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 05:40 PM   #9
Tom M (Sunol, CA)
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Thanks a bunch Robert. I look forward to anything else

you and your colleagues may be able to provide.
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Old December 31st, 2002, 06:39 PM   #10
RobynC
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All the best to Cassie...you are all in our prayers. *NM*

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