What the heck am I talking about? What does arthritis have to do with the abdomen?
Just had another friend, whose dog’s arthritis started acting up, facing a diagnosis of a splenic tumor.
Yes, arthritis can get more painful on some days, particularly if your dog overdoes it, or is a weekend warrior. For some dogs, weather can play a role in how their joints feel.
But sometimes, arthritis might not be to blame!
It happened to my brother-in-law. His dog suddenly had days when she virtually couldn’t get up at all. Then she’d get better, and then worse again. And this went on for quite some time, in spite of a number of veterinary visits. Finally, I convinced him to get a second opinion.
Surely enough, his dog had cancer in her spleen.
The friend I mentioned in the beginning, has gone through a similar pattern. His dog seemed really bothered by his arthritis lately, with some days worse than others. Because there was a history of a cruciate tear, they went to a vet to discuss the option of a stifle brace. As the vet examined him, he felt a mass in the abdomen. Imaging revealed tumors on the spleen as well as the liver.
Last week somebody posted a similar question on my Dog Health Issues group, asking what she can do to help her dog get through the bad days. An older dog, A German Shepherd on top of it. I urged her to consider having the abdomen checked. I hope she does. I hope they don’t find anything. But I do feel it is something she ought to do.
Most dogs diagnosed with splenic tumors have a history of waxing and warning signs of their arthritis really bothering them.
How does that happen? One thing splenic tumors are really great at is bleeding. As the tumor bleeds, the dog becomes painful and lethargic. Then the body reabsorbs the blood and dog is feeling better. This goes on until they end up in an emergency hospital.
If your dog is having bad days and good days with their arthritis, if their arthritic symptoms wax and wane, consider an abdominal ultrasound.
It could save your dog’s life.
Splenic tumors are not always malignant.
About half of them are indeed an aggressive hemangiosarcoma. But the other half are benign hemangiomas. In both cases, the sooner you get it taken care of, the better.
Please listen to Dr. Donna Spector podcast.