Diagnosis of Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs with Hemoabdomen


The goal of this study is to determine if TK isoenzymes are good biomarkers for the early detection of HSA in dogs and to identify a threshold for detecting HSA from the presence of TK isoenzymes.

HSA is a malignant and rapidly growing cancer that is difficult to detect. HSA is a tumor derived from blood vessels, and thus the tumor is filled with blood. A frequent cause of death from HSA is the rupturing of the tumor, causing the patient to rapidly hemorrhage to death. HSA is common in dogs, and more so in certain breeds of dogs such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. Dogs with HSA rarely show clinical signs until the tumor has become very large and has metastasized. Typically, clinical signs are due to hypovolemia after the tumor ruptures, causing severe bleeding. Owners of the affected dogs often discover that the dog has HSA only after the animal has collapsed secondary to bleeding. The HSA tumor often appears on the spleen, right side of the heart or liver.

There are currently no commercially viable screening mechanisms for detecting HSA in dogs. Most dogs present with HSA as emergencies and major decisions about treatment must be made without a definitive diagnosis. A screening test that would allow the detection of HSA would be very valuable in the planning of treatment and earlier detection of the disease. Preliminary data in dogs suggests that TK is significantly increased in dogs with some types of cancer, specifically HSA and thus TK may be useful in detecting, staging and monitoring disease in dogs with HSA.

Inclusion Criteria

Any dog (any age, sex or breed) with a hemoabdomen that undergoes exploratory surgery.

Exclusion Criteria

Dogs with pre-existing, previously diagnosed neoplastic conditions other than hemangiosarcoma will be excluded.

Client Benefits

There are no direct benefits to the client. The indirect benefit is that this research will aid in the development of a point-of-care test for the diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma in dogs which will help owners of dogs with hemoabdomen make decisions regarding the best management for their dogs.

Contact Information

Dr. Claire Sharp
Phone: (508) 839-5302