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Canine Spleen Tumor

 Submitted by Michael Adams on May 23, 2010

The spleen is an organ located just beneath the stomach, and it is an important part of the immune system as it depletes old red blood cells and stores blood for emergencies such as if a hemorrhage develops. Absence of the spleen cannot be life threatening, but as far as dogs are concerned, they are exposed to infections if the spleen is dysfunctional or surgically removed. This is because it contains a considerable number of lymphocytes and macrophages cells that react when they sense an attack to the immune system.

Any growth within the spleen is abnormal and exposes the dog to a risk of suffering cancerous growths. Many times the enlarged spleen in dogs is seen because of bleeding in the spleen and poor blood circulation, or, when the blood cells break down excessively. These usually happen when the dog ages and if he is overworked.

But these enlargements are not cancerous. Even then, the cancers of blood cells are quite common in dogs, though they rarely suffer from leukemia. A more common kind is mastocytoma, which can attack the dog as tumors.

A canine spleen tumor diagnosis and treatment must be done without any delay as it can act up at any time and cause the dog to bleed to death. A condition called hemagiosarcoma is the greatest danger to a dog with spleen tumor as it starts in the lining of the blood vessels. All malignant tumors have to be diagnosed in time and the spleen has to be removed. This in itself is a great danger as the dog is easily exposed to infections. A dog can also die because of anesthesia, and suffer a muscle contraction in the heart. An early detection of a spleen tumor is important as the dog can die within eight weeks if the tumor is not treated immediately. There are some very telling signs of a spleen tumor, like, nosebleeds and other forms of visible bleeding, sudden weakness, pale membranes around the eyes and mouth, abdominal swelling and pain and increased respiration.

Unfortunately, perhaps the only treatment for dog spleen tumor is the removal of the spleen. Chemotherapy and steroids extend the dog’s life but only by a few months and they do not cure the condition usually. Prevention is the best cure for such tumors. It is important to strengthen the dog’s immune system. Supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, and selenium are important to help prevent the condition. Vitamin E, in particular, can help in dissolve tumors and provides oxygenated blood to the external organs.

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