Any dog could get cancer but diagnosing it on time and getting the right treatment is what really matters. Splenic cancer is commonly reported late to the Veterinarian by dog owners making the condition difficult to treat. Learning how to identify the first signs of spleen cancer in dogs and understanding its causes would really give your dog a better chance at beating cancer.

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  1. The First Signs of Spleen Cancer in Dogs
  2. What Causes Spleen Cancer in Dogs
  3. Prognosis of Spleen Cancer in Dogs
  4. FAQs
  5. Conclusion

The First Signs of Spleen Cancer in Dogs

The early signs of splenic cancer in dogs could be vague making it difficult to notice on time. Usually, dogs with spleen cancer show signs of lethargy, inappetence, sudden fainting or extreme tiredness.

It’s saddening that this condition may not show serious signs like paleness or anemia till it gets worse. When there is a spleen rupture within the spleen, anemia, paleness and generalised weakness sets in due to internal bleeding.

“It becomes an emergency when dogs show symptoms like pale gums, collapse and labored breathing”, - Dr. Amanda Hemsley

In most spleen cancer cases, dogs would show signs such as:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Extreme fatigue or Fainting
  • Paleness/Anemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain at the left side of the abdomen
  • Nosebleed
  • Cold limbs

I had a friend whose dog experienced extreme weakness after any little exercise. She got worried and took her dog to the Veterinarian to get diagnosed and discovered that her dog has an early stage of spleen cancer. If you are away from your dog, identifying the first signs of spleen cancer would be difficult but with the Petcube Camera, you can watch out for them and report to the Veterinarian early enough.

What Causes Spleen Cancer in Dogs

Spleen cancer fondly known as Hemangiosarcoma means proliferation of cells within the blood vessels in the spleen. These cells could grow out of proportion and evade the body’s immune system leading to splenitis, spleen damage or even cancer which could metastasize through the portal or hepatic vein into the liver.

What causes this abnormal cell proliferation is really complex but research shows that there could be a link to breed types highlighting German Shepherds, Poodles, Golden Retrievers and dogs older than 5 years as being most susceptible.

In general, spleen cancer in dogs can be caused by the following:

  • Genetics
  • Old age
  • Radiation/UV Exposure
  • Toxins
  • Parasites (E.g Leishmaniasis)
  • Immune deficiency syndrome

Prognosis of Spleen Cancer in Dogs

Because of the highly invasive nature of spleen cancer, it could spread really fast to other parts of the body. A report shows that dogs with hepatic masses or liver associated complications alongside splenic cancer had a poorer prognosis.

If the cancer is benign, the dog has a better chance to live up to a few years. Once the cancer becomes malignant and spreads to other parts of the body like the liver, It becomes difficult for the dog to live longer than a few months even with treatment.

Reddit’s Expert: “There have been cases of dog owners whose dogs were diagnosed with malignant spleen cancer, some were given a life expectancy of a few weeks to some months and another testified about her dog living up to 2 years after undergoing splenic surgery”

In cases of malignant spleen cancer, there might be a need to use an ejection fraction (EF) measurement to determine the amount of blood the heart pumps per beat. This is because cancer may metastasize to the heart through the blood vessels and cause some heart issues thus the need to use the EF measurements.

Dogs with EF below <40% are usually associated with heart failure and would have a poor prognosis in case of a splenic cancer condition.


Dogs spleen tumor rupture signs?

Tumor rupture in the spleen usually leads to internal bleeding leading to anemia and presents as paleness of the gum, and weakness/fainting.

How to prevent spleen cancer in dogs?
Spleen cancer could be prevented in dogs by restricting it from coming in contact with risk factors such as radiating materials, UV exposures and toxins.


Early diagnosis is the bedrock of every successful case of cancer, a dog would have a better chance at fighting off cancer when diagnosed on time. Dog owners should do better by identifying early signs of spleen cancer in their dog. The condition is very aggressive and would need a lot of effort to help the dog scale through but with early diagnosis, chemotherapy and the right treatment, your dog would have the opportunity to live a much longer and happy life.

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