click for more information on companion cancerGinger and her cancer diet


Hello everyone. It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell all who find this site that Ginger passed away June 8th, 2007. In her tribute, I decided I want to keep this site alive. Ginger had a great life, especially after being diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. I spoiled the heck out of her. She survived almost 6 1/2 years after being diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. She was virtually pretty healthy and very active until the very end. Below is just the beginning of her story and her diet for hemangiosarcoma.

Read more about The Amazing Ginger.

My dog (Ginger) collapsed Dec. 23rd, 2000 while I was playing with her. A tumor on her spleen had ruptured which caused the collapse. She had a splenectomy three days later. I received her biopsy report on Jan. 4th, 2001 which showed hemangiosarcoma.
After seeing a Veterinary Oncologist and talking to my veterinarian, I decided not to go with chemotherapy. The oncologist felt that with this type of cancer, the chemo could give her possibly a couple more months, with no guarantee on how she would respond to chemo.
Ginger haD always been an extremely active dog and after healing from her surgery, she was as if nothing had ever happened. My vet practices holistics and felt that a strict diet would be best for her. I decided to go with the diet and skip the chemo.
Ginger was doing great and still catching frisbees. I really don't know if she would be as she had been if we pursued chemo. I feel as if I made the right decision. I wouldn't want her any other way.
I am including her diet in this web page. Just in case any of you are interested in this diet, keep in mind that these proportions are for a 40 pound dog. I would also consult with a vet who practices holistics before making any diet changes.
Many people, myself included, believe Ginger was a German Shepherd/Siberian Husky Mix. She was approximately 9 months old when I found her in Feb. 1994. .

ginger working for her dinner

Ginger working for her dinner

Ginger's Diet
In A.M.

1 garlic pill (equal to 1/2 clove of garlic)
1 Pet Tab (vitamin-mineral supplement)

1st Meal 4 oz free range chicken (white meat) 3/4 cup brown rice 1/2 TBS virgin olive oil 1/3 cup chopped organic carrots 1 clove of garlic 2 tsp chopped parsley 2 Vitamin C (1000mg)(500mg each) 1 Vitamin E (400 I.U.) 1 capsule Thorne Veterinary Immugen Essiac Tea (10ml)
2nd Meal 4 oz free range chicken (white meat) 3/4 cup brown rice 1/2 TBS virgin olive oil 1/4 cup mashed sardines 2 garlic pills (equal to 1 clove of garlic) 1 Vitamin A (10,000 I.U.) 2 Vitamin C (1000mg)(500mg each) 1 capsule Chinese Ginseng (500mg) 1 capsule Twin Lab Cell Boost with IP-6 1/2 TBS Lipiderm Essiac Tea (10ml) 2 tsp plain low fat yogurt (this I give her separately)
Echinacea - 5 drops 3 times a day for 7 days, then skip 7 days, then start for 7 days again, etc.
I also give her spring water to drink.
A final note here: The pictures you see of Ginger were all taken following her being diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. Ginger was still doing very well. She still chased squirrels, catched frisbees (and rarely missed I might add), and was still obsessed with playing (tennis balls are her favorite). Her reflexes were still lightning quick. My vet and I both feel her diet helped her immensely. I also feel that she needed the attention and the playing as much as the diet. I was very pleased with how Ginger was doing for all those years. I do hope that anyone who owns a pet with cancer who happens upon this web page has as much success as I have had with Ginger.

I've had several hundred people email me who found Ginger's web site (April 2001 - the end of 2006). Some of their dogs had a different type of cancer. I am only listing the dogs who the owners say where diagnosed with HSA and who also mentioned their breed. I am not including the dogs in the cancer club unless the owner emailed me prior to joining. I'm sure many of you will find the following of interest, especially those of you who are battling HSA.

The Purebreds:
54 Golden Retriever;
50 German Shepherd;
39 Labrador Retriever;
11 Australian Shepherd;
11 Boxer;
10 Rottweiler;
9 Beagle;
9 Miniature Schnauzer;
8 Siberian Husky;
7 Cocker Spaniel;
7 Doberman Pinscher;
6 Border Collie;
4 Bichon Frise;
4 Greyhound;
3 American Pit Bull Terrier;
3 Jack Russell Terrier;
3 Maltese;
2 Airedale Terrier;
2 American Eskimo Dog;
2 Australian Cattle Dog;
2 Bernese Mountain Dog;
2 Chow Chow;
2 Dalmatian;
2 Flat-Coated Retriever;
2 Keeshond;
2 Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever;
2 Pembroke Welsh Corgi;
2 Portuguese Water Dog;
2 Shetland Sheepdog;
2 Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier;
2 Standard Poodle;
2 Vizsla;
2 Yorkshire Terrier.

1 each of the following:
Alaskan Malamute; American Staffordshire Terrier; Borzoi; Boston Terrier; Brittany Spaniel; Bulldog; Cairn Terrier; Collie; Dachshund; English Setter; English Shepherd; English Springer Spaniel; German Shorthaired Pointer; German Wirehaired Pointer; Giant Schnauzer; Irish Setter; Lurcher; Miniature Poodle; Norwegian Elkhound; Old English Sheepdog; Puli; Rat Terrier; Redbone Coonhound; Schipperke; Scottish Terrier; Shar-Pei; Shih-Tzu; Standard Schnauzer; Tibetan Mastiff; Tosa Inu; West Highland White Terrier; Wirehaired Fox Terrier; Wolf.

Owners identified these dogs as follows:
28 German Shepherd Mix;
14 Labrador Retriever Mix;
7 Terrier Mix;
3 Doberman Pinscher Mix;
2 Border Collie Mix.

1 each of the following:
Alaskan Malamute Mix; American Pit Bull Terrier Mix; Australian Cattle Dog Mix; Australian Shepherd Mix; Basset Hound Mix; Brittany Spaniel Mix; Cairn Terrier Mix; Chow Chow Mix; Dalmatian Mix; Pharaoh Hound Mix; Retriever Mix; Rottweiler Mix; Siberian Husky Mix.

Owners identified 2 breeds in the following:
13 German Shepherd/Labrador Retriever;
5 German Shepherd/Siberian Husky;
2 German Shepherd/Beagle;
2 German Shepherd/Collie;
2 German Shepherd/Hound;
3 Labrador Retriever/Golden Retriever;
2 Labrador Retriever/American Pit Bull Terrier;
2 Labrador Retriever/Border Collie;
2 Labrador Retriever/English Springer Spaniel;
2 Labrador Retriever/Newfoundland;
3 Golden Retriever/Chow Chow.

1 each of the following:
German Shepherd/Alaskan Malamute; German Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog; German Shepherd/Border Collie; German Shepherd/Chow Chow; German Shepherd/Dachshund; German Shepherd/Golden Retriever; German Shepherd/Greyhound; German Shepherd/Keeshond; German Shepherd/Terrier; Labrador Retriever/Beagle; Labrador Retriever/Chow Chow; Labrador Retriever/Dalmatian; Labrador Retriever/Flat-Coated Retriever; Labrador Retriever/Rottweiler; Labrador Retriever/Terrier; Golden Retriever/Cocker Spaniel; Golden Retriever/Collie; Golden Retriever/Flat-Coated Retriever; Golden Retriever/Irish Setter; Siberian Husky/Alaskan Malamute; Siberian Husky/Doberman Pinscher; Australian Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog; Australian Shepherd/Border Collie; Australian Shepherd/Flat-Coated Retriever; Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie; Shetland Sheepdog/Keeshond; American Eskimo Dog/Cocker Spaniel; American Eskimo Dog/English Springer Spaniel; American Pit Bull Terrier/Pointer; American Pit Bull Terrier/Chow Chow; Cairn Terrier/Pekingese.

Owners identified 3 breeds in the following:
Golden Retriever/Labrador Retriever/Rhodesian Ridgeback;
Labrador Retriever/German Shepherd/Chow Chow;
Labrador Retriever/German Shepherd/Hound;
Labrador Retriever/Siberian Husky/Chow Chow;
German Shepherd/Rhodesian Ridgeback/Labrador Retriever;
German Shepherd/Chow Chow/Australian Cattle Dog;
German Shepherd/Beagle/Terrier;

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The following is a website of veterinarians who practice holistics:
I do hope that this information can be of some help.
Good luck to all

Young Sugar
This document summarizes information gained from a certified veterinary oncologist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, during a consultation for a 14.5 year old Boxer mix female who had a hemangiosarcoma removed from the left femur approximately six weeks prior to the consultation. That surgery occurred in March of 2000.
This information may or may not be applicable to other situations. It must also be remembered that the author is a lay person, with no training or experience in veterinary medicine, who is making this information available solely to help other pet owners understand their dog's cancer. This document is not a substitute for advice and consultation with a veterinary oncologist.
Hemangiosarcoma is a malignant cancer originating in the blood vessels. It is an aggressive, rapidly metastasizing cancer due to its ready access to the circulatory system. Unlike other cancers, which must invade muscle or other body organs to establish a beachhead, hemangiosarcoma travels throughout the circulatory system. Typically, microscopic portions of tumor break off, travel through the blood stream until they attach themselves at points of resistance and establish new tumors. By the time the disease is diagnosed, it is likely that multiple metastases have already occurred.
Hemangiosarcomas form their own blood vessels to supply the tumor. These vessels are weak, however, and rupture easily. The cancer most commonly attacks the spleen and the heart, as these organs have a large blood supply and thus provide a hospitable environment. Tumors may invade bone, which can cause significant pain, or the brain, where tumor growth may cause pain from pressure inside the skull. These latter two developments are, however, not the usual course of development for this cancer.
This cancer is unknown in humans and is relatively rare in dogs. It is a highly unpredictable cancer.
The usual course of treatment for metastasized hemangiosarcoma is a combination of two drugs—Cytoxan and Adriamycin. Both drugs can cause a variety of symptoms, most commonly vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, low white blood cell count and, in the case of Adriamycin, heart problems. The goal of chemotherapy is to attack microscopic metastases, not gross tumors.
Chemotherapy in canines is quite different from that in humans. In veterinary medicine, the goal of treatment (at least for hemangiosarcoma) is to lengthen the life of the patient, whereas in human medicine it is to completely knock out the cancer. So the drug dosages are considerably lower for dogs than humans.
Physiologically, canines—being true omnivores who eat all manner of putrefied matter, garbage, dead animals, etc.---have an advantage in chemotherapy, in that their stomachs and digestive systems are much stronger than humans' and they are thus less likely to suffer from nausea or other GI tract difficulties associated with chemotherapy. Furthermore, because dogs are believed not to have sufficient foresight or awareness to make connections between any negative reactions and the chemotherapy, they are believed to be more likely to be tolerant of the negative reactions. Humans, on the other hand, who connect their pain with the chemotherapy, and who anticipate the side effects, are thought to be sensitized and thus more uncomfortable with the side effects.
So dogs are thought to tolerate chemotherapy much better than humans, and many of the side effects seen in humans are simply absent in dogs undergoing treatment.
As stated above, the goal of chemotherapy is to lengthen the life of the dog, not to effect a cure. In the Boxer patient, life expectancy with no treatment is 2 to 3 months. With chemotherapy, life expectancy might be prolonged 6 to 9 months. (This is an average, and some dogs do better while some do worse.) When considered in the light of the relative relationship between human and canine life spans, this amounts to up to seven dog years, depending upon the age of the dog. Before chemotherapy is undertaken, x-rays and ultrasound are usually done to confirm that there are not gross (as opposed to microscopic) tumors within the chest and abdomen. If tumors are visible, chemotherapy is usually not recommended.
A dog with hemangiosarcoma is most likely to die from internal bleeding. As the disease progresses, and tumors become more numerous and larger, the weak blood vessels will rupture, causing collapse which may last from several minutes to a day. Once the bleeding stops and blood volume is restored, the dog will feel better and resume its normal life. Death is most likely to occur when the bleed is large or does not stop on its own. Presumably, simultaneous bleeding at multiple sites will cause death as well. In the meantime, the dog is unlikely to be in pain, and will experience the collapses as a human does when fainting or losing consciousness. The dog is likely to be unconscious during many of these bleeding episodes, and at the time of death if death occurs in this manner.
Occasionally a tumor will lodge in a vital organ and cause death through damage to that organ. If this occurs, or if the tumor invades bone, the dog may experience pain and may require medication for pain relief.
Chemotherapy can prolong the dog's life, but the course of the disease and the manner of death remain unchanged. Bleeds appear unrelated to the dog's activities, so no restrictions of activity are necessary, though measures for the dog's protection (e.g. baby gates across stairs) are desirable.
It is not easy to tell when a dog is in pain. Being pack animals, dogs do not vocalize when they are in pain. They are more likely to exhibit unusual behavior, such as pacing, soiling of their beds, losing their house training, going off their food, isolating themselves and staring at their alpha with a look saying, "Please do something."

The most likely drugs for pain relief in a dog with hemangiosarcoma are aspirin, Rimadyl or other anti-inflammatories. These drugs present difficulties, however, in a dog who is already suffering a bleeding problem. So they are not recommended early in the course of the disease. Morphine and its derivatives can be used, but getting dosage correct is difficult in dogs, and these drugs are not commonly used.


Our Boxer mix, Sugar, died at home on June 12, 2000, less than three months from the initial surgery. Some time before her death, the hemangiosarcoma apparently entered her heart, and so she became like someone with congestive heart failure. She began collapsing about 3 weeks after surgery, and those collapses went from one every week or so to one every time she exerted herself. We carried her up and down stairs for the last week of her life.
Sugar appeared to be in no pain, would lose consciousness briefly during a collapse, and would then get up and go about her business. She ate with her usual gusto the night before she died. Her passing was quick and, so far as we could tell, painless.
She is remembered with love.
Copyright Rebecca A. Knittle 2001
June 30, 2001

  • polymvaDr. Goldstein has treated canines with Hemangiosarcoma with poly mva. Marla's Country, the most wonderful husky is still in remission. Marla believes that the Poly MVA put Country into remission.. Country was diagnosed in 1999.
  • Hemangiosarcoma by DVM Anita R. Weidinger, D.V.M.
  • from akc on hemangiosarcoma
  • vetmedcenter's writeup
  • Hemangiosarcoma,Hemangiopericytomas and Hemangiomas
  • QUICK GLANCE AT Hemangiosarcoma(HSA)
  • CARDIAC TUMORS..attention also on Salukis"We also looked for trends in HSA occurrence compared with lymphomas. Dog lymphosarcomas have remained fairly constant, at about 1.5% of diagnoses, while canine HSAs have increased from less than 1% to approximately 1.5%. The location of canine HSA was found to be the skin in 32.8% of all HSA cases, the spleen in 28.8% of cases, and the heart in only 7.1% of cases. The tumors were diagnosed with a female-male ratio of 41:56 percent. The breeds of highest incidence were the Saluki (32/73), Golden Retriever (119/5196), German Shepherd Dog (37/2796), Labrador Retriever (47/5159), and Boxer (16/2033). The average age of dogs in HSA cases was 9 years, while it was roughly 11 years for the Saluki."
  • J Vet Diagn Invest. 2004 Nov;16(6):522-6. : A retrospective study of visceral and nonvisceral hemangiosarcoma and hemangiomas in domestic animals.
    Schultheiss PC.
    Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.

    Cases of hemangiosarcoma submitted to the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory during a 6-year period were reviewed. Visceral hemangiosarcomas represent less than 2% of canine specimens submitted for histologic examination and nonvisceral hemangiosarcoma less than 1%. Most nonvisceral hemangiosarcomas of dogs occur in skin. Hemangiosarcomas are less common in cats and usually occur in skin. They are also rare in other animal species. Animals with nonvisceral hemangiosarcomas are usually mature; dogs and cats average 10 years of age. The tumors develop in many different locations, and there is no sex predilection. A wide variety of dog breeds are affected, but Italian greyhounds, greyhounds, and whippets are overrepresented. Clinical outcomes of 76 cases of nonvisceral hemangiosarcomas in dogs and cats were obtained from submitting veterinarians. Completeness of excision of a tumor is the most important factor that can be used in predicting clinical outcome for an affected dog or cat. In all cases in which the animals were clinically normal for at least 1 year after surgical removal of a nonvisceral hemangiosarcoma, the margins were reported to be free of neoplastic cells. Degree of differentiation, mitotic rate, size of tumor, and presence or absence of epidermal ulceration, mast cells, or solar elastosis did not correlate with clinical outcome.
  • hemangiosarcoma: 2000 and beyond.-treatment

    " An understanding of mechanisms of metastasis has led to the development of new treatments designed to delay or inhibit tumor spread. Promising new treatment options include novel delivery systems (inhalation or intracavitary chemotherapy); use of immunomodulators such as liposome-encapsulated muramyl tripeptide-phosphatidylethanolamine; antimetastatic agents such as inhibitors of angiogenesis (interferons, thalidomide), matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors, and minocycline; dietary modifications; and gene therapy. Inhibitors of angiogenesis seem to be safe and, unlike conventional chemotherapy, do not induce drug resistance. "
  • splenic masses
    "Adriamycin adjuvant chemotherapy offers some hope for improved survival"
    " A simple rule to follow is the rule of two thirds. The rule of two thirds states that dogs with solitary splenic masses have a two-thirds chance of having cancer. Therefore, one third of the dogs will have benign disease such as haemangioma, haematoma, splenic cyst, nodular hyperplasia and so on."
  • "The distinction between a haematoma, a haemangioma and a haemangiosarcoma is of very great significance if a surgical procedure is to be carried out. The former two present little threat as a result of contamination during surgery whilst a haemangiosarcoma presents a very severe threat. The removal of a haemangiosarcoma is extremely hazardous as any blood or tissue contamination of other organs or of the abdominal cavity will almost certainly result in seeding of neoplastic cells. "
  • "Radiographs or X-rays can be of help diagnosing the presence of the tumor but again an ultrasound image will give you an almost immediate confirmation . More importantly it will also indicate to you how far the disease has progressed in term of metastasis to other organs."also shows pictures
  • Splenectomy
    "The spleen is attached to the stomach by the gastrosplenic ligament
    The spleen has a tremendous blood supply
    The spleen has filters which cleanse the blood
    Dogs and cats can function normally without a spleen
    Clinical signs of diseases of the spleen
    Pale gums – due to bleeding into the abdomen from a ruptured tumor
    Distention of the abdomen
    Loss of appetite
    Hemangiosarcoma, the most common type of tumor of the spleen is highly malignant
    Most dogs with this disease have microscopic spread of the tumor to the lungs, liver, heart or other regions of the body
    Chemotherapy and surgery can increase the survival to about 1 year with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen if macroscopic spread is not present
  • graphic picture of a tumor during operation of a rottie
    the vet hospital says in article as of two years later, Marcus is still alive! The article mentions the owners saw a deep orange color to his urine

  • Canine hemangiosarcoma treated with standard chemotherapy and minocycline.
    Sorenmo K,Duda L,Barber L,Cronin K,Sammarco C,Usborne A,Goldschmidt M,Shofer F
    Dept of Clin Studies and Pathob,Vet Hosp of the Univ of Penn,Philadelphia 19104,USA.
    J Vet Intern Med 2000 Jul-Aug;14(4):395-8

    Standard treatments for canine hemangiosarcoma include surgery and chemotherapy with doxorubicin, but in spite of treatment
    most dogs with this disease die within 6 months of diagnosis. Tumor growth and metastasis are angiogenesis dependent.
    Antiangiogenic drugs such as minocycline may provide therapeutic benefits in cancer patients. The purpose of this prospective
    study was to evaluate the efficacy of chemotherapy with doxorubicin and minocycline, an antiangiogenic agent, in dogs with
    hemangiosarcoma. Eighteen dogs with histologically confirmed hemangiosarcoma of any stage were treated with doxorubicin,
    cyclophosphamide, and minocycline. Complete staging was performed before and during the treatment period to assess
    remission status and response to therapy. No statistically significant difference was found in survival between the dogs treated
    with chemotherapy and minocycline, and historical controls consisting of dogs that received chemotherapy alone. Postmortem
    examination revealed widespread metastasis, suggesting that minocycline is ineffective as a single antiangiogenic agent in canine

  • hemangiosarcoma-graphics and video..
    "Since the tumor usually grows ion a highly vascular organ such as a spleen or liver ,when it ruptures it results in a sudden abdominal bleed in the affected pet. Since the blood loss is contained within the body the owner never notices it .This correlated to the weak phase whereby the pet owner sees their pet as " off " .Again since the blood is not really lost it is reabsorbed within a few days by the dog hence giving it back it's strength .The problem is that with each bleeding episode the dog is effectively seeding it own body with new sites for the tumors to grow anew."
  • Quick Facts at a Glance
  • Analysis of factors affecting survival in dogs with aortic body tumors.
    "Of all factors analyzed, only treatment with pericardectomy had a significant influence on survival (P =.0029). Dogs that had pericardectomy survived longer (median survival, 730 days; range, 1-1,621 days) compared with dogs that did not have pericardectomy (median survival, 42 days; range, 1-180 days). This finding was independent of the presence or absence of pericardial effusion at the time of surgery. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Dogs that are diagnosed with aortic body tumors may benefit from a pericardectomy at the time of surgical biopsy"
  • Electrochemotherapy: potentiation of local antitumour effectiveness of cisplatin in dogs and cats.
    This study showed that electrochemotherapy with cisplatin is an effective, safe and simple local treatment of different histological types of cutaneous and subcutaneous tumours in cats and dogs.