Canine hemangiosarcoma, one of the five most frequently diagnosed types, gives few warnings. Many of these fragile, blood-filled tumors aren’t discovered until they rupture, at which point, emergency surgery is the only treatment option.

What is it?

As its name suggests, these tumors develop from cells lining the blood vessels. Since the body is laced with blood vessels, a hemangiosarcoma can appear anywhere. That said, about 50 percent of the time, it affects the spleen, followed by the liver, heart or, rarely, the skin. This aggressive cancer (very similar to the relatively rare human angiosarcoma) most commonly afflicts middle-aged to older dogs, with a slight preference for males.

For the most part, what causes a hemangiosarcoma to develop is unknown, although for those that develop on or under the skin, overexposure to sun on thinly haired regions like the belly, inner thighs and…

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