More About the Hemangiosarcoma Study

Hemangiosarcoma (also called HAS) is a tumor that affects the skin, heart, and spleen of dogs. The type that affects the heart usually causes death within 2 weeks, but the type that affects the spleen is the most common, and also has a very high death rate.

Dogs who get hemangiosarcoma of the spleen usually do not show signs until the first time the tumor ruptures. At that time it bleeds a lot, filling the abdomen with blood. The dog has a swollen, painful belly and pale to white colored gums.

In some ways HSA works differently than other tunors. So treatments that help with the treatment of other tumors do not work as well with this type of tumor.

HSA affects some dog breeds more than other. According to Morris Animal Foundation, some of the most popular breeds are affected the most – especially Golden Retrievers, Labradors, German Shepherds, Boxers, Doberman Retrievers, and English Setters. It is the fifth most common type of tumor in the dog. Dr. Modiano at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center estimates that about 2 million of the 72 million dogs in the U.S. will die from this type of cancer.

There is no good treatment. Most dogs with hemangiosarcoma are treated with surgery. When surgery is the only treatment, most dogs only live about 2 months, since the cancer spreads quickly to other organs in the body, especially the liver and kidneys. Less than 13% live as long as a year.

Chemotherapy is added to try to increase that survival time, but even with that treatment, most dogs still die 3 to 4 months after the surgery. Only 7% more live a full year after receiving chemotherapy.

Veterinarians have been looking for a better treatment, testing different types and combinations of chemotherapy, for the past 30 years. But they have not been able to help these patients.

Dr. Erin Bannink, a board certified veterinary cancer specialist, thinks she can help change that. She and Dr. Steve Marsden, a leader in the field of veterinary herbal medicine, have  used a combination of Chinese herbs, formulated by Dr. Marsden, along with vitamin D3 on 15 patients and have dramatically increased their chances of survival. The herbs and herbal formulas were chosen for several reason. Some help stop bleeding. Some have specific anti-cancer effects. Some have been shown to increase the number and activity of immune cells. Some attack those different ways that HSA works.

Dr. Bannink wants to use this combination in a scientific study of enough dogs so that statistics will help show how well it works. She needs to have 50 dogs in her study.

A lot of other veterinary cancer specialists are helping. All are donating their time for free. Dr. Bannink has also had some tests and herbs donated. But she still needs an additional $500 for every dog who undergoes treatment.

The Foundation has already raised enough to treat one dog. We need your help so that Dr. Bannink can enroll an additional 49 dogs in her study. Please donate here or text HERBS to 91999. Help us fight this horrible disease.