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Old 06-09-2009, 07:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Surgery or no surgery for spleen mass?

We have a beloved 9.5 year old boxer who was just diagnosed with a splenic mass , which may be benign or may be cancerous. The definitive diagnosis is through surgery. If cancerous, she only has a short time to live but the prognosis appears better if its benign (not sure how much time it buys).

We are trying to decide if we should do the surgery. Does anyone have experience with doing it or not doing it and what was your results/decision process? How old was your dog? Any surgery complications? Any boxer specific concerns? Of course we want to do what is best for her not us.

Cons: her older age, may not tolerate surgery well, we are not sure that the spleen is the source of her pain but its the most likely source, surgery complications, about ~60% of these are cancerous and clinical perspectives suggest this it is higher in older dogs. The other complicating factor is that we are moving cross country in 3 weeks (we might be able to delay this 2 weeks if she has surgery to give her more time to heal if our landlord has not rented out our place) and she is always so stressed when we move (poor girl has been through a lot of moves).

Pros: if benign, we might be able buy all of us more time (a REALLY big plus)

Thanks in advance for any feedback or insight you might be able to offer.

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Old 06-09-2009, 07:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Surgery or no surgery for spleen mass?

Ughhhh Tought situation, do not envy at all. Sorry about the decision you have to make...

however if it were my dogs, Id do anything for that extra time if there is a chance they can recover and be pain free. If it a surgery that the risks out-weight the pros, then I may have to just enjoy my dog and bi-pass the surgery. 9.5 years in a boxer is a good thing, so I'd choose to celebrate it see, what I could do medically/holistically without surgery and let nature take it course until the quality of life was upside down for my dog.

However if everything is all healthy with the dog besides the mass, and there is a good recovery plan after, then I know being me, and the attachment, I'd do the surgery.

So good luck with your decision, just remember everyone makes these tough decisions bases on their own circumstances and situations, so sorry you have to be in this prediciment, and thoughts go out to your boxer and your family.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Surgery or no surgery for spleen mass?

Sorry, I haven't dealt with this so I'm really unsure of what I would do. I'm not really understanding the surgery either. I know the surgery will tell you if it is benign or cancerous, but that's all I am understanding. Are they going to remove the mass or just biopsy it? If it were just a surgery to tell if the mass is benign or cancerous, I think I would bypass the surgery and just enjoy the time I had left with her.
Sorry I can't offer any other advice. Whatever you decide, I'm sure you will do what's best for your girl. ><
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Surgery or no surgery for spleen mass?

Thanks for your responses and thoughts. I don't think there is a clear answer on this one. We is probably why we are struggling so much with what we should do.

Just to clarify, if they do surgery they would remove the tumor, cancerous or not. Her prognosis is short if cancer (most live ~2-3 months) but is much better if tumor ends up being non-cancerous but I can't find any information on how much better (e.g. how much time) we'd likely have if benign, probably because it is very unique to the dog.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Surgery or no surgery for spleen mass?

I have an almost 12 yr old female with a mass in her abdomen. We opted not to do the surgery due to her age. It is a very tough choice. Hazley is not in any pain though. I think it would make the decision even harder if she was.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Surgery or no surgery for spleen mass?

Sorry you are having to make this decision. She is old for a boxer and only you and your vet can surmise how she will cope with an operation. My last dog was a mongrel and he developed a massive growth in his chest at the age of twelve - I opted to have it removed as it was affecting his breathing. I knew I could lose him under anaesthetic but it was either remove the mass or have him put to sleep. I decided if he did die during the op he would be under anaesthetic anyway and would know nothing. In my mind it would be no different to putting him to sleep except I was giving him a chance to come round and breathe better and carry on living - he was still sprightly then. He came through the op - they had to leave some of the mass behind as it was attached to vital arteries but he continued to have a full life until he got lymphoma at the grand old age of sixteen. Fortunately the growth was benign.
I don't know anything about growths on the spleen so can't offer any advice in that area. If I was you I'd do a little research into spleen surgery and talk to your vet about all option.
In the meantime I will pray for you while you are making these hard decisions. [-O<
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Surgery or no surgery for spleen mass?

Hi there,

Im wondering if you can tell me what ever happened with this prognosis of the spleen mass. My baby just got diagnosed with the same thing last week, and i am at a loss as to what to do or what to expect. You can also email me at

Thank you.
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