When To Euthanize A Dog With Hemangiosarcoma (HSA)?

When the vet says your loving dog has HSA, it’s heart-breaking. Your dog may have it in its blood vessels, heart, and liver too. And no matter how we feel about it, we have to do what is right. I mean, instead of wondering when to euthanize a dog with hemangiosarcoma, just do it whenever the vet recommends it.

It’s like human cancer, the more you wait the worse it gets. Also, early detection is very important to have to best treatment. In this article, I will talk about all the symptoms about it, when to start the treatment, and when to euthanize.

When To Euthanize A Dog With HSA?

euthanize a dog with hemangiosarcoma

This is the hardest part; both for you and your dog. It’s a great dilemma sometimes. No one wants to let go of their best friends. Considering the untreatable condition, this is the most humane thing you can do for your dog alleviating the pain even a little.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself. You will be doing a great thing putting the comfort of your dog first ahead of your need for companionship. It’s an act of love, an act of courage.

Before you decide to euthanize it, you should know some facts. First of all, not all dogs with this disease suffer any pain. There are some exceptions.

On the other hand, most dogs hide their pain. So, it becomes harder to know whether its suffering or not. But if your dog vocalizes of any sort out of ordinary, it indicates it may be suffering from pain and anxiety. Your vet can tell it more accurately.

If your dog is not suffering any pain, take it home and spend the last few days to make it memorable forever. Such great memories will help you to remember his great spirit and pure heart forever.

You can tell yourself whether your dog is suffering from the pain too. If it doesn’t seem uncomfortable, drink water, wagging his/her tail, show you a happy face – it is not suffering from the pain.

So no need to euthanize just yet. You can get some pain killers for your dog from your family vet in case you notice the pain symptoms start to show up in the last few moments.

Only if you notice the dog is suffering or if the vet says it’s suffering, this is the time to euthanize it. Letting your loving dog die in a peaceful and comfortable way is the last best thing you can do for him.

Treating the HSA is totally hopeless. If the dog is suffering from pain and you don’t let the vet euthanize, your dog will suffer a lot from excruciating pain. The passing of your dog may even be disturbing as well with lots of blood here and there.

Early Symptoms of Hemangiosarcoma

This is totally unique to dogs; especially to German shepherd dogs and golden retrievers. The problem with the HSA is that it becomes already too late before you can detect it. The symptoms will show up when the cancer is already spread everywhere. And the sad thing is there is no proven cure for this.

However, just like any forms of cancer, the situation will deteriorate day by day. So, early detection is crucial for the betterment of your dog at the earliest possible time. The symptoms presented below will vary as the disease progresses. Here are the common symptoms you will notice:

  • Repeated vomiting and diarrhea.sick dog
  • Pale gums.
  • Sudden loss of appetite and consequently weight loss.
  • You will notice distended belly as the time goes by.
  • Shows symbols of intolerance.
  • Your loving dog will have difficulty in breathing. There will be a lot of gasping and panting for breath.
  • You will notice reclusive behavior in your dog.
  • Sudden internal and external bleeding.
  • Black/tarry stool.
  • Dull mentation.
  • Collapsing out of the blue and not being able to rise!
  • Internal/external bleeding profusely.
  • Increased whining/crying due to excruciating pain.

Now, just because your dog has a tumor does not mean it has hemangiosarcoma. Sometimes, these tumors are treatable and can be surgically removed. But that is only possible if you or your vet can detect it at the earlier stage.

A dog with HSA can be diagnosed with X-rays, ultrasound, surgery, etc. The vet will recommend which one is better.

The Sad Truth of Hemangiosarcoma Treatment

If the tumor is benign and there is no internal cancer cell involvement, you can go forward with the diagnosis.

If successful, surgical removal may give your dog to live 1 to 4 more months to live. The surgery may even stop the bleeding temporarily. With chemotherapy, the life expectancy may be increased to 6 to 8 months.

Only the veterinarian can tell whether treatment is a viable option or not. If treatment is not recommended, then euthanizing is the best thing you can do to lessen the pain.

Let me tell you why.

Even with the surgery and chemotherapy to combat the HSA, the disease will never go away. It will continue to progress and the cancer cells will spread throughout the entire body.

The tumor will eventually spread to the lungs and the mass will be malignant. The condition of your dog will get worse day by day. There will be internal bleeding and your dog will eventually die from it. The sad truth is there is no viable treatment once the cancer cell spreads to the lungs.

If you don’t go forward with euthanizing your dog even if the vet insists, the death might horrible and it may be a traumatic experience for you and your family members. So, I urge you to do whatever the vet recommends. Sometimes, the sooner the nightmare ends, the better it is for everybody:(


Throughout her entire life, your dog helps to bring great joy in your life and give you much needed emotional support when you are in pain. Don’t let the last moment of your loving pet be horrible. Like you, a lot of dog lovers have gone through this hardest phase of their lives. Let it die peacefully. Cherish every loving moment you had together.

Medical Disclaimer: The information presented above is based on various research papers and notes published from various vets (sources given below). Nothing mentioned in this article can act as the replacement of the vet’s recommendations.

Sources of Information:

  1. Understanding: Hemangiosarcoma – Morrisan Animal Foundation
  2. Treatment of canine hemangiosarcoma: 2000 and beyond

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