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Abby is 9 years old and has always been in good health. Until this weekend. Sunday morning she would not eat anything. As the day went on, we noticed she was breathing differently. She was not panting, coughing or gasping, but we could see that her breathing was rapid and shallow. That evening she would not eat dinner until her brother came over to try to take some and then she ate a little and let him have the rest, something that would never happen if she was herself!
So Monday morning we got a urine sample from her (they always want the first morning sample) and my husband dropped it off and made an appointment for 10am. I brought her in to our vet and he examined her and said he could not hear her heart clearly. He did not hear any murmurs but it was muffled. He wanted to run additional tests, blood screening and an xray so he asked that I leave her there until the tech came in at 1. Around 2 he called me with shocking news. He said he saw some small white spots on her lungs which were usually cancer. He also said her heart was twice it's normal size - so trying to comprehend all of this on the phone was not doing it for me. I asked him if I could come in and see the xrays with my husband. He showed us the xrays and explained what he thought was wrong. He said the rest of her body looked good, but the sac around her heart looked like it was full of fluid, a little fluid in her chest around her heart and her lungs had some white markings that he said is usually cancer. He said the lungs could be "old do lung" but being that her heart was like it is, he said it was probably a tumor on her heart. Not good news. He said he could drain the fluid himself, but he did not have an ultrasound machine which would give a better picture of what was wrong and also help guide the needle to aspirate the fluid.
Off to the cardiologist we went the next day - I really wanted to go that day, but there were no appointments. We met with the cardiologist and he explained it all again and we opted for the ultrasound to see what was going on. He came out and said her heart was surround by a lot of fluid. He scanned her spleen, liver, stomach, etc. and did not see any fluid or tumors or swelling. So we asked him to drain the fluid from around her heart. He got 500 ml of fluid - that's a whole water bottle for those who were wondering! He saw tumor on her heart but he said her heart function was not being effected - he said it was a very small tumor. He also saw several lesions on the inside of the heart sac that were probably old tumors that had bled. The lungs, well he cannot be positive but feels that it is probably metastasized cancer cells.
I was wondering if anyone had a dog that had cancer on their heart? He did not know the prognosis - depends on whether the sac around her heart fills up again and how quickly that happens. Or if the cancer spreads and how quickly. He told us to give her an herbal supplement called Yunnan Baiyao twice a day. I guess that is to prevent bleeding in tumors. So we are giving them to her. Is there anything else I can do? Her breathing is somewhat better, still not normal. I keep thinking that sac could be filling up with fluid again - but I can't keep going to the cardiologist for an ultrasound. Good news is that she is eating again, drinking, etc. I know it does not sound good, but I want to keep my baby as long as possible while her quality of life is still good. He said chemotherapy would not help, not that I could ever afford that anyway.
 

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I'm sad to hear this. Our Penny had similar symptoms; breathing with difficulty, not eating, loosing weight, clearly sad with life. There was nothing that could be done to change the outcome; maybe buy some time. But at what cost to HER??? We choose to let her go.

I'm so sorry, your baby is only 9. Ours was 11 1/2. A terrible loss at any age.
 

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I am so very sorry for the diagnosis of your sweet Abby, I have no experience with a heart tumor; but too much with cancer in my pups. I lost my Bonnie Boo on 10/12/13, and my Clyde Kadiddle Hopper on 1/6/14, both to different cancers. Try to live in the moment and enjoy every day! I found B12 injections really helped perk Clyde up and give him more gusto, also a daily multivitamin as cancer takes so much out of them. They both lived just about two months after diagnosis, but we enjoyed every day to the fullest! Please feel free to contact me if you need to talk. Thoughts and prayers for the best days possible....Dawn
 

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Typically a tumor of the heart is hemangiosarcoma, which is basically a cancer of the lining of the blood vessels.
I'm sorry for this for you- and hope that you get as many great days as you can with her, and that she does not suffer.
Robin
 

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My Dillon also had the same symptoms--it was hemangiosarcoma and was also found in other organs as well. When it was diagnosed, my vet said I could take him home with an IV for the weekend, but I chose to let him go. That was not Dillon! He would have hated that though it would have been more precious moments for me. He had just turned 11 years old 4 days before and was running around the house roo-rooing that day.

I'm sorry you are going through this and pray you have a better outcome. Take care.
 

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I agree it sounds like a cardiac Hemangiosarcoma, it is good they put her on the Chinese herb it will help with the small bleeds, but yes the percardial sac will eventually refill. Enjoy the precious time you have with her, sending hugs and prayers.
 

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She is beautiful.
My Bear had hemangiosarcoma of the spleen with the metastices in the lungs. Unfortunately many of us here are all too familiar with hemangiosarcoma in our dogs.

The Yunnan Baiyo is supposed to help with control/prevent bleeds. There is also a tiny red pill in the middle of the pack that can be used as an "emergency" pill for a bleed. My oncology vet told me about it, but didn't know if it would help or not. It can't hurt in that situation.

Just love on her. The tumor will bleed again, it just depends on when and if it stops. Most dogs with this don't have a very long prognosis, but some really lucky ones live quite some time.

I had Bear for 2 months after her diagnosis. In the end, it wasn't a bleed. The tumor spread to her front leg bone. I wasn't willing to risk the break.
 

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Thank you for sharing with me about Bear and I am sorry for your loss. Is there anything that helped her after diagnosis?
 

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I did go through chemo with Bear-but the vet was upfront about it not buying us time, we were doing it as a palliative treatment.
The vet had me giving her the yunnan baiyao twice a day.

What I did was make Bear a "bucket list". I made a list of some of her favorite things and some things she had never done, but I thought she would like. I made an extra effort to be able to check off things on the list to make the time she had left extra special.
 
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