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Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs: How TCM Can Help Manage Bleeding Tumors

Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs: How TCM Can Help Manage Bleeding Tumors

Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs: How TCM Can Help Manage Bleeding Tumors

As loving pet owners, the thought of a serious health issue affecting our furry family members is enough to send shivers down our spines.

Sadly, these things do happen. The best thing we can do as pet owners is be aware of common issues and the different ways we can help our pets overcome them.

One of the most feared conditions is hemangiosarcoma, a cancer that commonly causes bleeding tumors in dogs. Hemangiosarcoma is a dangerous disease, but with a combined approach of Western medicine treatment and Chinese medicine remedies, you can help your pet live their best life despite their diagnosis.

What is Hemangiosarcoma?

Hemangiosarcoma is a form of veterinary cancer that starts in the cells that build blood vessels. In dogs, it most commonly affects the tissues of the spleen, heart, and liver.

This type of cancer is particularly troublesome because it can develop and grow rapidly. By the time your pet seems ill, the cancer may have already reached an advanced stage and caused severe damage. Hemangiosarcoma tumors can rupture unexpectedly and cause massive bleeding and blood loss – especially when the tumors are on the spleen or heart.

What are the Signs of Hemangiosarcoma?

Because hemangiosarcomas can develop quickly and aggressively, it’s important to know the early warning signs so your pet can get the care they need to stop the growth as soon as possible. Take your dog to the vet if they start to show any of these signs:

  • Lethargy and Weakness
    One of the initial signs of hemangiosarcoma is a big drop in your dog’s energy levels. If your dog seems unusually slow-moving or uninterested in their usual activities, it can be a sign they are unwell.

  • Pale Gums and Mucous Membranes
    Hemangiosarcoma can cause internal bleeding, which often results in anemia. Check your dog's gums and mucous membranes – do they look strangely pale or white? If so, it can indicate a decrease in red blood cells, and may mean they are bleeding internally.

  • Difficulty Breathing
    When tumors grow on the heart, they can impact the entire chest cavity. They cause fluid to build up in the chest which can put pressure on your pet’s lungs. As a result, your dog may wheeze or pant excessively, because they are struggling to breathe properly. This can be a serious sign, so if you notice excessive panting (without exercise), it’s time to see your vet.

  • Abdominal Distension
    Just as hemangiosarcomas on the heart can cause build-up in the chest, hemangiosarcoma affecting the spleen or liver can lead to build-up in the abdomen. A sudden increase in the size of your pet’s belly (especially if it feels full and distended) could be a sign that a tumor has grown or ruptured.

  • Collapse or Fainting Spells
    Due to the potential for internal bleeding and compromised circulation, dogs with hemangiosarcoma may experience episodes of collapse or fainting. If your dog collapses, even if just for a moment, tell your veterinarian immediately.

  • Unexplained Weight Loss
    Rapid and unexplained weight loss is a concerning sign in any dog. Hemangiosarcoma's impact on the body's systems can lead to weight loss despite a regular diet, indicating a potential health issue that requires investigation.

  • Changes in Behavior or Appetite
    Sudden behavior change in dogs is a common sign that something is off. Dogs with hemangiosarcoma may suddenly act restless or irritable or lose interest in the activities they used to love. And that goes for food, too. A sudden loss of interest in food or treats can be a sign of many different health conditions and is worth telling your vet as soon as possible.

  • Episodes of Vomiting or Diarrhea
    Gastrointestinal symptoms often show up as the first signs our pets are ill. Issues like vomiting or diarrhea that don’t get better with dietary adjustments should be checked out by your veterinarian.

The Chinese Medicine Approach to Helping Dogs with Hemangiosarcoma

From a Western medicine perspective, the treatment for hemangiosarcoma typically means removing the affected organ (such as with a splenectomy), followed by chemotherapy.

Sadly, because this cancer can be so aggressive, the prognosis can be grim even with treatment. This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine steps in with potentially life-prolonging therapies.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient therapy that has been used by humans – and their pets – for centuries. While you may think herbal supplements are just for people, dogs, cats, horses, and other animals can also benefit from their healing properties.

From a TCM point of view, hemangiosarcoma is caused by the stagnation of blood and qi (vital energy) in a pet’s body. When this flow of blood and qi is disrupted, it can cause issues like poor blood circulation, bleeding, and tumor growth (as in the case of hemangiosarcoma).

What does a TCM treatment of hemangiosarcoma look like? In addition to your vet’s Western medical recommendations, there are a few complementary therapies you can use to reduce your pet’s symptoms, encourage healing, and even prolong their life.

  • Yunnan Baiyao for Dogs
    Yunnan Baiyao is perhaps the most well-known herbal remedy for hemangiosarcoma. This formula was first developed to help save soldiers in battle, stopping the bleeding from gunshot wounds until they could get the care they needed. Today, it is used for a wide range of bleeding disorders (including canine cancers) due to its powerful and natural hemostatic properties.

    So, how does it work? Yunnan Baiyao is believed to stimulate blood circulation and enhance the body's ability to clot. Pet owners who have incorporated this herbal remedy into their dogs' treatment plans often report a significant reduction in bleeding and an improvement in their pet’s overall comfort levels.

    For internal bleeding, Yunnan Baiyao pills or powder can be used, while a topical tincture or aerosol spray is helpful for bleeding wounds or exposed tumors.

    In many cases, using Yunnan Baiyao has helped owners prolong the lives of their pets with hemangiosarcoma long beyond their vet’s initial prognosis.

  • Dissolve Mass (Stasis Breaker) Liquid Tincture
    Dissolve Mass Stasis Breaker is a home blend of Chinese herbs designed to help dissolve nodules, palpable masses, and tumors. In the case of hemangiosarcoma, this tincture can help support your pet’s body in fighting the cancer cells and shrinking the tumor.

  • Strengthen Immunity (Qi Booster) Liquid Tincture
    Qi Booster is a house blend of Chinese herbs formulated to help strengthen the body, boost energy levels, and speed recovery from illness. For pets undergoing hemangiosarcoma chemotherapy, this tincture can help keep their bodies strong and resilient so they can complete their full treatment. It also helps weakened pets regain their energy in recovery.

  • Turkey Tail Mushroom Powder
    Certain mushrooms, such as reishi and turkey tail, have incredible medicinal properties. Turkey Tail, for instance, has been shown to boost immunity and support your dog’s defenses while they fight cancer.

  • Acupuncture
    Acupuncture is a popular holistic therapy that involves inserting thin needles into specific points of the body. Each point has a different effect, but in most cases, they help improve the flow of energy and blood, relax the nervous system, and trigger the body’s healing response. Acupuncture may help alleviate your pet’s pain, improve blood circulation, encourage tissue healing, and support the immune system.

Help Your Pet with Chinese Medicine

Knowing your beloved pet has an aggressive cancer is undeniably challenging. While Western medicine can help them fight cancer, many pet owners have found relief in the complementary benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine to enhance their dogs' quality of life.

One of the must-have TCM remedies for dogs with hemangiosarcoma is Yunnan Baiyao. It’s a natural supplement that not only helps you manage your pet’s bleeding but also relieves their pain and can give you and your pet more time together.

To learn more about how Yunnan Baiyao could help your pet, download our Free Guide to Yunnan Baiyao for Dogs and shop our collection of natural remedies for canine cancers.