Prancer&Onyx

Hemangiosarcoma

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I just wanted to share my Prancer's story in hopes of hearing someone else's story if anyone else has gone through this or at least to put it out there since I couldn't find much info on the internet.

A little background on my mare...she is a 24 y.o., arabian mare, never been bred and never any health issues aside from an occassional scrape/cut and maybe a cold or something. She has never foundered, coliced...none of that in the 15 years I owned her. I got her when she was 7. She was utd on all shots, working, farrier, dental.

Monday 8/6/12 at 11:30 I went out before I went to bed to say goodnite to her. She has eaten her dinner that evening (grain and hay) with no problems. When I left her that evening, everything was fine. Nothing was "off", her attitude was normal, appetite normal, bowel movements normal.

Tuesday 8/7/12 @ 6:30 am - Woke up to feed. Went to the barn and she was waiting for me at the fence as she usually does. I gave her her grain which she happily started munching on. I got her hay ready and put it outside for her. At this time I noticed she had a smear of blood on her right side. So I started checking her over to see what was going on. It was then I noticed she has blood in her right nostril. So I put her halter on and grabbed a wash cloth so I could clean it up. As I began cleaning, I noticed she had blood in both of her nostrils. I got her cleaned up and also took her temp which was 99.1 (normal for her).

At this point I called my vet and since she wasn't showing any other signs of anything and the bleeding appeared to have stopped, e decided maybe her sinuses for inflammed.

At 8:00 I went back out to the pasure to check on her. Since I had cleaned her nose up real good I could tell that there was not any fresh blood coming out of her nose. So I left for work.

At 11:30 I called a neighbor and asked if she would come check on Prancer. At 11:45 she got to the house to discover Prancer lying down in the pasture with more blood in her nose (not a gush, but a drip). I was in meeting and didn't get this message until noon at which point I called my vet who rushed out to my house. It took me 45 minutes to get home.

My vet checked her hb which was 66, her temp was 102.1 and her lungs sounded bad. She gave her a shot of banamine which showed a new issue....she bled out some at the needle point. My vet didn't know what to do as this was more than she was equipped to handle.

By 1:25 I had my mare loaded in our trailer on our way to New Bolton in Kennett Square, PA. She was a real trooper in the trailer, but was getting weak and tired by the end of the ride. At 2:30 we arrived and The team at New Bolton started examining her immediately. Her hb was now 72, her temp was 101. they had taken blood work that showed her platelet count was low and she was anemic. They put her on fluids. They did a scope which verified the location of the blood was coming from her lungs. The doc told me she either has an infection, autoimmune disorder or cancer. Then they did an ultrasound which I guess showed some abnormalities. By this time Prancer started shaking from the pain and she was getting resless. The doc asked to do an xray which showed her lungs were very damaged and she had to be put on oxygen during the xray. It was at this time around 5:30 we decided the only thing left to do was to let her go.

Everything was a whirlwind and happened so fast. Has anyone else experienced a horse with hemangiosarcoma? My vet assured me there was nothing I could have done to predict this and that we did everything we possibly could.

Thanks for reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never even heard of it. So sorry for an unhappy ending with your friend. I believe you did everything better than most would have. You gave her a peaceful closure to her life with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Thirty-five cases of disseminated hemangiosarcoma (21 clinical cases and 14 previously reported cases) were reviewed to describe the disease in horses. Hemangiosarcoma occurred in mature, particularly middle-aged horses, with no apparent sex predilection. Thoroughbreds seemed to be overrepresented (13 cases) but a true breed predilection could not be established. The respiratory and musculoskeletal systems were most commonly affected and presenting complaints included dyspnea (26%), subcutaneous or muscular swelling (24%), epistaxis (17%), and lameness (12%). Heart and respiratory rates were usually increased and mucous membrane color was frequently pale or icteric. Capillary refill time and rectal temperature were often normal. Anemia (88%), neutrophilic leukocytosis (62%), and thrombocytopenia (48%) were common. Examination of tissue samples collected by fine-needle aspirate or biopsy established an antemortem diagnosis in 4 horses. The diagnosis was made during postmortem examination in the remaining 31 horses. The lung and pleura (77%), skeletal muscle (46%), and spleen (43%) were most commonly affected. A primary site of tumor involvement could be identified in 22 horses. Hemangiosarcoma should be included as a differential diagnosis for horses with evidence of hemorrhage into body cavities, skeletal muscle, or subcutaneous locations. "

The above came from a WSU vet.

Introduction

?Cause : rare tumor of vascular endothelium. Most are benign (hemangioma) but some are highly malignant (hemangiosarcoma) in horses.

?Signs : primary site often impossible to define due to rapid metastasis.

?Most commonly located in skin, conjunctiva or in muscles as primary lesion: ◦Intramuscular hemangioma/hemangiosarcoma are commonest internal form - rapid metastatic spread to lungs and other organs including gut.

?Cavernous hemangioma is a rare skin tumor that is found in neonatal foals : ◦Arabian foals over-represented but also Thoroughbred and crosses.

◦Possibly vascular endothelial anomaly rather than tumor, but some are highly invasive.

?Occasionally affects the spleen - may be present with abdominal discomfort following competitive exercise.

?More common in younger animals than older.

?Malignant forms are reported in middle aged to older horses, but range of 319 years. Short course with rapid deterioration usually in malignant forms.

?Diagnosis : ultrasonography, scintigraphy, biopsy, radiography.

?Treatment : surgery.

?Prognosis : poor.

Clinical signs

?Anemia is major presenting sign of disseminated hemangiosarcoma.

?Overt bleeding.

?Epistaxis (also seen with ethmoid hematomas and EIPH conditions).

?Hematuria.

?Melena.

?DIC related clotting failure (thrombocytopenia and consumptive coagulaopathy).

?Skin forms manifest as skin nodules with a highly vascular appearance that bleed readily upon even minor trauma.

?Internal forms have vague or sometimes unrelated signs such as particle intestinal obstruction.

?Malignant forms may produce organ changes and bleeding (urinary bleeding/intestinal bleeding).

?Paraneoplastic syndrome is possible .

?Muscular forms are commonly presented with limb swelling/edema/lameness.

?Pleural effusion and peritoneal bleeding an be detected by appropriate sampling.

Diagnosis

Differential diagnosis

?Other multiple malignancy.

?Major differentiation is between malignant forms and the very benign (but still very difficult/serious) benign form.

Prognosis

?Very poor.

?Rapid deterioration.

Expected response to treatment

?Nil for malignant forms.

Reasons for treatment failure

?High malignancy.

I got the above from Vet Stream

After reading the info I'd have to say there was nothing you could do to prevent this. On a side note it looks like there are a few different kinds of Hemangiosarcoma. And this also occurs in dogs and cats and some other livestock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the replies. I guess it really is a rare cancer. I googled it, but didn't get much info there either and the vet has been wonderful answering my many new questions I wake up to ask him, but more often that not he just doesn't have the answers. All I know about hemangiosarcoma is: it is aggressive, there is no treatment, it is deadly and the onset is very fast.

Well, maybe now if someone else, god forbid, has this happen to their horse, they will know they aren't alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sorry for your loss though, its never easy is it.

I think we were posting about the same time small! I had read that article as well. There's more literature about the cancer in dogs than horses.

I am very content in knowing that we did all we could and my dear girl didn't suffer after talking to my vet and just the little bit of info I got off the net. I just like to arm myself with knowledge once I encounter something and was just reaching out to share our story or hear others (if any).

New Bolton is doing an autopsy and I should have the final report in about a week or so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:huggy: :huggy: For the loss of your beloved Prancer.

Prancer was lucky to have such a loving and caring person who worked so hard to give her a great life and a peaceful end. You should be proud of all that you did to save her.

When I was reading about what happened, it made me think about when we lost my niece's 22 year old Arab/Quarter pony Princie.

He'd had a little bit of blood coming from each nostril, the day before he died.

I'd called my vet and was very worried. Especially since he'd given all the horses their shots the day before. The West Nile virus vaccine had just been released and I was worried about any unknown complications. Respiration,temp, heartbeat, capillary refill where are normal for him.

My Vet said that Princie must have either bumped his nose when I was trailering him home or his nasal passages were irritated by the inhaler used each morning to help him with the heaves (called COPD at that time).

The next day, I came home from work checked him over, brushed and cleaned his hooves while he was eating his wet hay. Everything was fine. Went in the house and came back outside a couple of hours later to find him dead.

No sign of thrashing, it looked like he just quietly keeled over. There was a tiny smear of blood in right nostril which was the side he landed on. I called my vet and he said that Princie must have had an aneurysm in his brain that blew out.

Now I'm wondering if he'd had a misdiagnosed hemangiosarcoma in his lungs????

The onset of his breathing problem was rapid (four or five months) and wasn't getting better with the all the medications, inhaler, wet food and being moved from my sister's dry lot to the pasture at my house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dondie, I'm sorry to hear about your boy. It very well could be what your boy had also. It's one of those cancers that comes fast and comes hard. New Bolton has tissue samples of the cancer they are keeping so that when they develop the technology to learn more they have that much more tissue sample to work with.

Thanks for the kind words as well. It's still very numbing to know she's gone and she isn't coming back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the replies. I guess it really is a rare cancer. I googled it, but didn't get much info there either and the vet has been wonderful answering my many new questions I wake up to ask him, but more often that not he just doesn't have the answers. All I know about hemangiosarcoma is: it is aggressive, there is no treatment, it is deadly and the onset is very fast.

Well, maybe now if someone else, god forbid, has this happen to their horse, they will know they aren't alone.

I wanted to thank you for telling your story. My first and only horse/pet is a beautiful 15 yr old female Tennessee Walker I bought a year ago April 17. We fell in love with other and I couldn't ever imagine anything like what I've experienced with her in this short year. In Oct 2013, I noticed a lump about the size of a pea in her third eyelid in her right eye. Her eye was weeping slightly and she was rubbing it. I called the vet who upon sedation and further exam found a much larger one further down in the tissue of the third eyelid. she further sedated Savannah and performed a complete third eyelid dissection right there while I held her. After two long weeks (the lab ran the tests twice because they wanted to be sure), my world turned upside down. Savannah was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma.

Like you I went straight to the Internet and was shocked at what I learned. Fatal, poor prognosis, no treatment, etc. I began calling the few universities listed, UC Davis and Washington State Univ seeking advice and opinions. These folks were amazing and very gracious in helping me. I sent them the lab reports and their only advice was based on my vets very good dissection indicating excellent margins to good tissue, was to observe closely and hope I was the "lucky" one who caught the tumor at its origin.

Less than two weeks ago, I noticed a growth under her right eye eyelid towards the rear of her eye. Within 3days it had grown to almost 2/3rds of the length of her eyelid. I called the vet of course and she came back and is but certain it is a return of the Hemgiosarcoma. Her behavior has been less social and her appetite the last two days has decreased to the point she did not eat any of the orchard grass she normally chows down. She has been somewhat more aggressive to her buddies in her herd. She is the sweetest kindest horse and use to do therapy sessions with young children, so her aggressiveness towards other horses and humans (not me) is unusual.

I reached out to the folks at cal Davis again and they suggest a CAT scan to determine the extent of the cancer as a means of determining if surgery to remove the growing tumor under her right eye is worth it for her comfort vs life expetency.

I've hardly slept since this was discovered and my heart is tearing apart trying to figure out the right thing to do for her. I do not like playing God, but I do not want to rob her of a single good day, but at the same time do not want her to suffer for a minute. I know this is terminal and there is no chance of recovery, but I don't want to rob her of a single good day.

This is an absolutely horrible cancer and can be excruciating and rapid decline based on hours and hours of research I've done since October. I appreciate you telling your story because it is so rare among horses, I'm still trying to figure out why Savannah.

As I am a novice with horses, I would appreciate ANY and all advice on when to make that awful decision I know I am faced with. I am more fortunate than the author of this thread as I have had 6 great months with Savannah, but I am now faced with when I need to the worst thing I've ever had to do in my life and put her down.

I apologize for the long post but this is the first place I've found where someone else has shared their story and I want to share mine and seek advice on how to tell when it's time.

Sincerely,

Tim & Savannah

WA State

Edited by TimSavannah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terribly, terribly sad. The accounts here are truly awful and even though we need to ask them there are never answers to the "why" questions, unfortunately. When her suffering outweighs her good days you will feel it, you will know, when the time has come.

My heart breaks for you and Savannah, and for Prancer&Onyx.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tim & Savannah, we pay a very high price for love of our animals. Sometimes the most difficult decisions are the hardest. These very difficult decisions are also the kindest we can do for them. Keep in mind a horse is a prey animal and when they can't get up or graze, ask yourself is my horse happy in this present condition and will it ever improve? The horse will tell us in their eyes, we just have to listen. I'am so sorry.

Edited by Floridacracker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The next day, I came home from work checked him over, brushed and cleaned his hooves while he was eating his wet hay. Everything was fine. Went in the house and came back outside a couple of hours later to find him dead.

No sign of thrashing, it looked like he just quietly keeled over. There was a tiny smear of blood in right nostril which was the side he landed on. I called my vet and he said that Princie must have had an aneurysm in his brain that blew out.

Dondie, sounds like what I went through with Hatch this past January - just shy of owning him a year. Doc believes it was most likely an aneurysm as well. I don't recall any nose bleeds.

Prancer&Onyx Sooooo sorry for your loss :angel3:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tim, as keepers of animals it is impossible to avoid heartbreak. Ultimately, it is a decision you and Savannah will have to decide together. You know her best and know when she's not herself. "Better a day too soon than a minute too late." in regards to her comfort and quality of life.

Do keep consulting with vets and universities, you never know how they can help, or how your case can help others in the future.

:huggy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now