The mainstay of treatment is removal of the spleen and the tumour growing within it. This is a very, very important point. It is almost always the bleeding of the mass that is making the dog ill and likely to cause death, NOT the cancer itself. Removal of the spleen and the mass solves the bleeding issue and many dogs will live three to six months longer, even if the mass has spread, without any further treatment.
Removal of the mass/spleen is a simple/quick way of allowing the owners more time with a valued family member. Sometimes a blood transfusion may also be required before surgery, if the blood loss has been significant, prior to diagnosis.
In most cases, your pet will only spend one night in hospital, before being taken home for continued recovery care. Part of the high cost of referral level care is their insistence of extended stays until the pet is completely normal – often at a cost of $1,000 – $2,000 per day. Most owners prefer to have their pets at home and are perfectly capable of caring for them during the days after surgery. Your pet will go home with pain relief in the form of tablets, a slow release patch and antibiotics.