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NJ Veterinary Medical Association
390 Amwell Road, Suite 402
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Phone:  908-281-0918
Fax:  908-450-1286

Health Concerns: Cancer

Dear Veterinarian:
My dog recently had emergency surgery and her spleen was removed because a tumor had ruptured and she was bleeding internally. We have her home now and are waiting for the biopsy results. She is much better but I want to know what to expect. Can she live a healthy life without her spleen and what tumors are known to be found in the spleen?

Dear Pet Owner:
Splenic masses are areas of enlargement in the tissues of the spleen. These masses can be neoplastic (malignant) or non-neoplastic. Non-malignant masses are usually hematomas caused by disruption of normal blood flow, or nodular hyperplasia, nodules of enlarged lymphoid or hematopoetic (blood-forming) tissues. The word tumor is usually indicative of the malignant type of mass. These are highly malignant cancers arising from the blood vessels found within the spleen. They are also usually highly metastatic, which means they have a tendency to spread to other parts of the body, and unfortunately, they carry a poor prognosis. Very few animals survive for longer than 1 year with most dying within a few months. Dogs treated with both surgery and chemotherapy have prolonged survival times than those treated by surgery alone. The spleen functions as a filter to remove damaged blood cells and also as a storage site for blood. It is also a site of blood production. Many patients have splenectomies or partial splenectomies due to accidental trauma to the spleen. These patients can live a normal life but their immune system can be weakened as a result. Once you get the biopsy results your veterinarian can help you with your options.

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