In veterinary school, we typically learn very specific treatment protocols for different types of cancer. Many of those protocols include oral and intravenous chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and/or immunotherapy. We are taught almost exclusively a Western approach to veterinary medicine.
Sometimes, however, it is important to look “outside the box” of traditional veterinary medicine and explore other options that may be available, if we just know where to look.
I stumbled upon Shemara Lee’s Facebook group “Hemangiosarcoma Diet & Supplement Protocols for Dogs – A Holistic Approach” somewhat by accident a couple of years after I had lost my own best buddy, Potter, to cancer. While he may not have truly had hemangiosarcoma of the heart – it was never definitively diagnosed, and the behavior of the tumor was not classic for hemangiosarcoma – I have always related the best with others who have been devastated by an HSA diagnosis with their own dog.
Even two years after I lost Potter, I found myself requesting to join Shem’s Facebook group when she created it because I was interested in what other options were possibly out there. I don’t pretend to know a lot about alternative and integrative medicine – I have practiced traditional veterinary medicine for 14 years. But, my eyes and brain do remain open to the possibilities of other forms and ways of treating diseases, especially cancer, being out there somewhere.
While I don’t comment a lot within this Facebook group, I do read many of the posts and remain interested in all of the options that are out there for treating hemangiosarcoma. In my opinion, HSA is one of the most monstrous cancers that dogs can develop. It is literally a ticking time bomb, and we as pet parents often experience a roller coaster ride of ups and downs with our dogs’ health . . . never knowing when we are going to lose the breaks on the “down.” The countless hours that Shem has put into this Facebook group (and others) – sharing protocols, consoling pet parents, fielding questions, etc. – is appreciated by so many.
I still believe in the current (and more traditional) forms of treatment for HSA – I would recommend a splenectomy and chemotherapy, depending upon a dog’s overall health status. However, I also recommend that owners look outside of the traditional veterinary medicine that I provide in order to supplement their dogs’ cancer care. Yunnan Baiyao and I’m Yunity are always discussed with every patient. I direct them to Shem’s Facebook group to delve into additional supportive care options. Every avenue that opens up deserves a chance to be explored. There are unfortunately NOT enough good options when it comes to treating splenic and cardiac hemangiosarcoma in dogs. Supplemental treatments – nutritional, herbal, etc. – are worth their weight in gold if they can give us more time with our best friends.
Fancy is 14 months post splenectomy and diagnosis. Although she has slowed down these past couple months, I’m so grateful she is still by my side.
I’m sure the majority of us have heard from our vet that we have 1-3 months, and to just give them as much love as we can. It was devastating to hear that.
Then a kind caring person from a dog breed group referred me to this group. I am forever grateful to them for leading me here. I have so many new memories with my girl, all made possible by learning how a holistic approach can help with this horrible disease. Seeing others success stories, gave me hope, and then seeing with my own eyes
Fancy’s health improved from diet change, the herbs, and Chinese medicine. Some days are a challenge, but I continue to learn new ways to treat this. I have gained confidence in these challenges because someone is always here to guide you in your journey. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Shemara Lee for creating this place for us.
Buffy is now just over 3 1/2 years post-op. Her tumor was growing into her ribs at an alarming rate, and she was going downhill fast. Because of where the tumor was, at first we thought it was osteosarcoma. After the tumor, along with 5 ribs, was removed, I got the devistating news from the oncologist that it was actually hemangiosarcoma. They said Buffy had maybe 6 months left.
I started hunting all over for anything I could do to beat or at least prolong that death sentence, and found this amazing group. As it turns out, this is exactly what I needed. Not only is this group full of much needed support from others dealing with the same thing, but tools and information to assist in this fight. Hearing others stories gave me so much hope, and confidence that we had a chance.
I created a homemade diet using information found here, and included some supplements. Whatever it is I’m doing is clearly working, and Buffy is not only still alive, but thriving. She’s still the happiest creature that ever existed. She’s playful and full of life.
I know not everybody gets this kind of success story, but this group played a huge role in ours. I also know when her time is up, I will have so many wonderful people here who understand and will support us, as they have supported so many others. Thank you so much Shemara Lee and everybody here! I couldn’t have done any of it without you!
Larry is 5 weeks post-splenectomy (tumor rupture and bleed). I started him on the protocol after he recovered from surgery and he’s acting like a pup! I’m so thankful! I feel supported and I can turn to this group when Larry has those off days. Miracles happen everyday!
THIS GROUP SAVED MY DOG’S LIFE!!! When I was sent home from the vet with no hope, I found this group and received advice right away with information that Saved Duke’s Life!!!
It’s been over 6 months since the Cancer Mass and his Spleen Ruptured when the vet said he wouldn’t survive 3 hours let alone 3 days because he was actively internally bleeding to death…. TO DEATH!!!! Other organs were also failing and he likely wouldn’t survive any surgery or treatments because his body was shutting down. Vet recommended Euthanasia but we chose to bring him home.
I got on Facebook and by the grace of God I found this group Hemangiosarcoma Diet & Supplement Protocols for dogs – A holistic Approach. With this group I FOUND HOPE!!! I found options! I found other dogs that are STILL ALIVE!!! My Duke was a fighter and survived a Ruptured Spleen without surgery and he was still alive!!!! He had the WILL TO LIVE… and I found this group that GAVE ME THE KNOWLEDGE to learn what to do to help him not only survive this terrible cancer but actually thrive!!!
I am so utterly grateful for this group and the members that helped me!! There is so much support and inspiration. With their guidance they have shared a wealth of knowledge to teach me how to heal my dog holistically.
Duke is 14 years old and survived a ruptured spleen and internal bleeding without surgery, he never had chemo or a transfusion! He is still living because of the advice from this group! There is life after this terminal diagnosis of cancer… Duke is proof and still going strong!!!
We have been using this sort of protocol as outlined eloquently by Shemara Lee for many years in our veterinary practice. Yunnan baio and the little red pill has saved many of our patient’s lives. We have multiple patients that have lived longer than expected following splenectomy and HSA diagnosis – there is no doubt that diet changes, herbal supplements and the excellent care our owners show for their dogs has extended life.
— Elaine (vet)
It was September 6, 2019 when Dozer had his first episode. We went to the ER and we were completely overwhelmed with the diagnosis. We decided not to put him through all the recommendations given to us being he was to old to endure. I had made an appointment for a cross over date of Sept 8, 2019.
My Son found this amazing group and from there on we read, read and read and followed the advice of all the wonderful people and have hope for our fur babies. It has been 18 months later, Dozer is almost 14 now. He’s still wagging his tail and ready for our walks.
This group has given us so much more time and knowledge, I will forever be grateful. We learn and stress as new members, after a while we are here comforting and helping others. Thank you Shem, you really have changed our world
What would you do for an extra 3.5 years with a beloved family member? This group gave us hope and the tools to make that extra time a reality. Janus was found, collapsed the floor with what would become his first bleed, the first vet said he wouldn’t make it through the night and there was nothing to do for him.
After finding a vet that could tap his heart we were told not to be hopeful, if he made it we were looking at 30 days maximum before the heart issues returned.
Then I found this page. By following Hank’s protocol, and using the massive amount of information in the files I became a knowledgeable advocate that had the information necessary to get Janus the care he deserved.
We filled those extra years with a lot of love, fulfilled a long bucket list of activities we’d hope to do with him. I’m the end it was old age that took him from us. Those extra 3.5 years were more than we could have asked for and we wouldn’t have had them without the community and knowledge we found here.
Our Boxer, Honey Child Moodeen is the absolute joy of our home and our family, a special soul like no other.
We are blessed to be celebrating her 8th birthday and 29 months alive and healthy after her sudden collapse, splenectomy and Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis in December 2018.
We received the devastating 1-3 month survival rate for this horrible disease, and with chemo treatment not being an option for her, it seemed like a certain death sentence. Stunned and heartbroken, I have never cried so much or felt so completely lost for how to help my sweet girl.
While we prepared for the worst day to arrive, I spent hours searching the internet for answers to how we could beat this monster, HSA.
I found hope in a Facebook community of others going through the same nightmare, in their stories of survival past the odds, and in the holistic treatments they used that could give us more time with Honey. So, we changed everything. We switched to homemade dog food, filtered water, added holistic supplement regimens for immune support, and removed toxins from our environment like yard spray, flea repellent, and chemical household cleaners. It’s been a long road for all of us, but 2 years and 5 months after diagnosis, our miracle, Honey Child Moodeen is thriving!
This group helped me not feel so hopeless because it introduced me to other treatment options besides chemo, and introduced me to other people/dogs who had survived their life expectancy…. This group helped me quickly navigate the overwhelming amount of information out there about home made food, holistic supplements, and what to do in emergencies so I could quickly implement changes to Honey’s treatment plan with confidence. I love the support from the community whether you’re celebrating another milestone, grieving a loss, or need quick help on questions, the people here are willing and ready to support you.
I am so grateful to this community for their shared knowledge! Our sunshine girl wouldn’t be here today with out your help and support!
Peanut went in the emergency room on 4/10/21 with what I thought was a stomach ache. Turns out he had a tumor on his spleen and they did the splenectomy the same day. I immediately began researching and even before finding out that his tumor in fact was hemangiosarcoma I found this group. I thank God I found this group, I am grateful everyday!
Thanks to amazing people in this group they sent me Yunnan Baiyao, turkey tail & lots of other supplements to get started. It has given me hope when I felt completely hopeless. The files and emotional support have been so powerful to me.
I also started cooking fresh meals for Peanut. Thanks to this group he is thriving (I pray everyday he continues to thrive) his fur is shinier than ever, and he loves his food.
I know we are not out of the 1-3 month diagnosis but I believe he is my little miracle thanks to this group .
The group has made me feel that we are notGoing through this alone, given some hope and removed a significant amount of fear.
I joined this group as part of my learning curve to keep my 8 yo Golden Retriever healthy. The support of members in this group to each other is phenomenal. Although I currently have a healthy raw fed dog, I know my good fortune can change. So I’m learning.
As a practicing veterinarian in Texas for 35 years I made the diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma several times yearly. It was always accompanied by a grave prognosis of 1 to 6 months of life remaining. This is what I was taught in veterinary school and what I saw played out in practice. I offered surgery and chemotherapy, but what I failed to offer was hope. It was only after my own canine companion was diagnosed that I realized this failure and took a harder look. No changes had been made in the recommended therapy for decades and so the prognosis had not changed.
Upon investigating I learned that human research in Japan with similar cancers showed some promise using a mushroom extract, and there was vague talk of Chinese medicine having successes in this area. A ray of hope made it through my clinical thinking and into my heart.
I researched further and found this group along the way. The hope brightened. To be alone with this disease is overwhelming, but to have others with whom you can share and learn is empowering and near miraculous. The depth of information that has been painstakingly collected is impressive. The love and support is indeed genuine. The stories of success cannot be denied.
I am grateful to have been able to put my previous attitudes and bias about hemangiosarcoma on the shelf and embrace the hope this group offers. That hope is available to all who seek it.
As time goes by, we will continue to learn about this disease and how we can more successfully treat it. Those in this group are contributing data from which may come a universally accepted treatment protocol. I personally believe this to be the case.
In the meantime, our members can and should celebrate every extra day with our companions while knowing they have done everything they can do for their pet, for themselves, and for all of the others touched by hemangiosarcoma.
— Carl (vet)
When Lexi’s spleen suddenly ruptured, we found ourselves at the Emergency Vet where we heard hemangiosarcoma for the first time. Having had dogs for almost 15 years, we had never heard of this before. As she went through a blood transfusion and emergency surgery, we researched and researched. Everything we read, dictated the same things we were told by the Emergency Vet – 1-3 months with surgery, maybe 6 months with chemo.
When we came across this group, we found much more – we found hope. Because of this group, we found different protocols and looked into holistic medicine. We found stories of success and also loss. We found people going through the same things were going through. Because of this community, we were able to put aside the “textbook” information out there.
Lexi is currently thriving, having celebrated a year post splenectomy in May. The group was there for us as we faced a splenectomy with our other dog as well. We have good days and bad days, but had we not had this community, we would have drowned in the gloom and doom of our initial findings. Instead, we live in the moment and celebrate the milestones and are forever grateful for every day Lexi has.
I got another year with my best friend with hep from this group. Even though he has passed, I recently searched all natural flea meds in this group to make a better decision for my new puppy.
Over 20 years ago, I had a beautiful black Standard Poodle named July. She moved like a dream and she had a beautiful personality to go with her looks. At around 10 or 11 years old she developed some kind of lesion on her right hock. This was long before I became active in dog sports, I had no inner circle of dog friends and Facebook and Yahoo groups did not exist.
I was very concerned about the spot on her hock. It bled all the time and she was always licking it. I took her to 5 different vets and every one of them had a response that amounted to, “ooh that is in a bad spot., I’d leave it alone.” Not one of them recommended a fine needle aspiration or any other kind of test. I was naïve and believed they knew best. It was a Hemangio wart. A fairly innocuous external bump, had it been taken care of when it first appeared. Ultimately it became so bad she had to have surgery to remove it. The pathology came back as Hemangiosarcoma (HSA). She had spent a year or more licking that bloody spot. I was referred to a veterinary Oncologist who suggested amputation of the leg or a very expensive experimental treatment that would have meant she would spend Monday – Friday at the animal hospital and come home on weekends for over a month. Neither of these were to me, viable options. By this time she was 12 and I made the choice to let her keep all her limbs and spend whatever time she had at home with us. She lived an additional six months and didn’t have a single bad day. The night I let her go, she was standing with a posture that I’d never seen-braced against gravity. She was having a bleed caused by the HSA. The only option I was given at this point was to euthanize her.
On January 30, 2019, I recognized that my 12.5 year old Standard Poodle, Jazz was standing in that same posture July had on her last night. I rushed Jazz to my vet who took an X-Ray and saw a shadow which led to an ultrasound showing a mass on her spleen. We discussed doing nothing or surgery to remove her spleen. She had the surgery that day. The pathology confirmed what I already knew in my heart. Hemangiosarcoma.
After her diagnosis, my vet gave me a gift that a former patient had left with him to pay it forward. It was a bottle of Turkey Tail mushroom capsules and a package of Yunnan Baiyao capsules.
I posted the devastating news on Facebook and one of my agility friends, suggested I check out Facebook groups about living with HSA. I found the group Hemangiosarcoma Diet & Supplement Protocols for Dogs – A holistic Approach. It is through this group I learned how to dose the Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Yunnan Baiyao for Jazz and through them I also learned about other supplements that I slowly added to her regimen.
This is an amazing group of people and I have learned so much about treating this disease holistically. They are a great supportive group of almost 7000 people who currently have a dog with HSA or have lost a dog to HSA. I am incredibly grateful for this group for the knowledge and support they have given us. I have been able to have extra time with Jazz and provide a good quality of life for her. We celebrated 28 months of survival on May 30, 2021. 20 years ago my concerns were dismissed or ignored by conventional vets. I read the stories of what my fellow group members are told by their vets when their dogs are diagnosed with HAS or it is suspected.
Today over 20 years since I lost July, some vets are still not giving their clients options beyond euthanasia. Everyone has a different approach and capability both financially and emotionally for dealing with HSA. In Jazz’s case I was given two options and through discussion with our vet, I was able to make an informed choice for her. Then I found the group, Hemangiosarcoma Diet & Supplement Protocols for Dogs – A holistic Approach which has made dealing with the emotional issues we owners go through daily and the physical issues our dogs go through much easier. 20 years ago I was alone in dealing with July and vets were not informed. Today, almost 7000 people have my back. My hope for everyone who is ever faced with learning their dog has this disease is that they will be given options so they can make the best decision for themselves and their beloved dog and that they will join this group.
I got 10 GOOD months with my boy thanks to this group, instead of the 3 months tops they gave me. It was a big learning curve but it was so worth it.
I felt like no one offers hope, understands, or had any options to this cancer until I found this group. We dealt with it years ago and were given no options to our GSP who was diagnosed without hardly any symptoms. Once diagnosed he declined and passed within a week. We were devastated. Years later our dachshund mix had a ruptured mass on her spleen and they hardly even recommended surgery because the likely outcome wasn’t treatable. We opted for surgery anyway and the mass was benign. I feel like that is not shared much either. The surgeon didn’t even believe the pathology so we did ultrasounds every 3 months for a year. There is hope and it’s not always hemangiosarcoma so knowing that there are options and to not always take the first vet recommendation was so comforting to us. I have learned so much here not only for our dogs but to help others too. Plus to have the information to try and prevent cancers in our dogs with diet and supplements.
This group is the reason my beautiful girl is still here after 6 months of being told hopeless. She’s happy and we appreciate each day together.The shared knowledge, support and experiences have been our daily survival tool. Thank you all, for everything.
This group gave me HOPE when I could not find anyone else to offer it or to believe. It also gave me the powerful tools and information to set me on a path to extend my boxer boys life while making sure he still had quality of life. I was in a deep hole when given the 1 to 3 month prognosis by the veterinarian and oncologist. Had no idea where to start. Then I found this group, this community of support and truly of love and I felt like the fog lifted and I could see the path. It allowed me to be clear so that I could focus on him in a positive way and help him fight. We got two amazing years!! Two years!! He lived life to the fullest and we had a blast and I have no regrets on the path we chose for holistic treatment. Without the knowledge and support from this community, I truly believe we would not have made it as far. There is HOPE!
This group gave me hope when the prognosis gave me none. It is much like group therapy here — a safe place to talk about concerns, ask questions, seek help and to share mini-landmarks and be cheered along. It is huge to feel within a community of caring when this disease and its progression are so frightening. I credit this group for the courage to follow other than the conventional course and as a result relish every day of the six months more that at one time seemed the last thing possible. I can’t imagine making the journey without support as is found here.
This group gave me hope when I didn’t have any and 18.5 and counting, “extra” months with my baby.
This group is the reason my dog is alive today. I was told by the ER vet and my regular vet to take my boy home to die. That was two and a half months ago. Through the advice of this group, we made it through his first post splenectomy bleed. I have no doubt that if it wasn’t for the knowledge and help of this group, he wouldn’t have made it through that. But he’s alive and well a week afterward with tons of energy and life.
When my girl was first diagnosed, I panicked and cried. This page brought me down to a level of understanding. Knowing that there are, unfortunately, many people going through this. This page seems to have a lot more knowledge than the professionals, and has really calmed my soul.
The admins and members of this group provided the information and support that my vet and others could not. I tried the suggested protocol, and sadly, it was not effective for my pup, but I feel like I did everything that I could for her, and that was a comfort. I am immensely grateful for this group; words cannot even express how much. Thank you for everything you do.
When there is still life in your baby’s eyes, and the vet says it’s over, it’s NOT over. When you will fight but the vet doesn’t support you, there IS support. When it’s 2 am and you’re panicked on what’s happening, and the vet isn’t available, 8k people personally experiencing HSA are available. We aren’t all vets or claim to be one, but we have data the vets don’t have, because they hear only a small, narrow focused, piece of outdated information. When vets have surface information, get overwhelmed with HSA, and are too busy to specialize themselves, and give up, we are the pet owners with extreme personal investment constantly educating ourselves on what works and what MORE could work, making us specialized fighters of HSA. It’s our fight and this group makes us a real contender. Given 3 months, now over a year!’
Side note. If I could, I would go to every vet clinic and share thousands of success stories. Just to give pause to the euthanasia protocol. There’s room for the other side in their approach.
Shock, gut-wrenching pain, anger. We have all felt this hearing that our beloved pet, our best friend has HSA. My husband and I could not process that our healthy, energetic French Bulldog was being rushed into an emergency splenectomy. How could this happen? We searched for answers after getting the diagnosis. The news was grim. We were told Roxy would probably live 3 months without chemo and 6-8 months with it.
Sitting in the animal clinic’s lobby very distraught, a woman turned to us and suggested we join a support group on Facebook. She said don’t give up! After a quick search we discovered this group and our outlook changed. The advice we received was invaluable. 3 years later Roxy is doing great! Yes, I said 3 years. She is an incredible little dog, living her best life. She loves her walks around the neighborhood, has canine friends on either side of our house, and enjoys all her meals and treats! If it wasn’t for her gray fur, no one would guess she’s 10. Hopefully Roxy can serve as motivation for others to stay positive.
This group allowed me to have my boy, Riley, for an extra 41 days after his emergency surgery. When he had his first bleed I straight up panicked and felt I was doing everything wrong. The support I received during his bleeds was truly a life saver! I lost my boy Jan 21 and I stay even though it breaks my heart and I relieve his last day over when I read some of these post. But I stay because I want to pay it forward and try to help or show support to others. I wish there were no need for this group but I am so thankful for it!
I will be forever thankful to this group and its members. Even though my Cooper didn’t have a long life after the splenectomy, I can say that I didn’t feel alone during the “scary” moments. It was good to talk to people who understood the situation. Cooper left this earth almost 9 months ago, but I am still here learning, silently celebrating happy posts and empathizing with the members that lost their dog to this disease. My hope is that the cause of this cancer can be found and also that different protocols can be offered to new patients if HSA is found.
Diane TudinoShemara Lee, and our dear family friend, Jill Porter, and so many others in this group who did, (and continue to do), so much research..and gave us hope when our vet predicted 3-6 months. With the help and support of this HSA community, we were lucky enough to have our beloved Niko for 37 months post splenectomy. He did not die from HSA. He had deteriorating disks in his back and hind legs, and could no longer stand or walk…Unfortunately, after Niko passed, our friend Jill Porter’s beloved fur baby, Grissy, was also diagnosed with this horrible cancer, and recently passed. Hopefully a cure will be found soon. This group was a God send
I found this community about a month after my boy had surgery for and was thus diagnosed with retroperitoneal hemangiosarcoma. Our surgeon already had him on YB. Due to this group, we added TT and changed his diet. We had 6 excellent months before we lost our beautiful boxer boy. But I stay with the group, reading, reading, reading. I’ve also changed the diet of my three year old boxer girl. I got hope and time with my boy. I’m sure this group will be one of the first to post eventual news of a cure for this horrid cancer. Thank you all.
This group is amazing. Getting a diagnosis of this cancer is very confusing and scary, especially since the doctors give little hope that your dog will be alive. The information that is contained here is life saving and informative to help one navigate this new world. The people are simply the best in supporting one another and helping in times of crisis. All vets should point towards this holistic view but sadly they do not and you have to take matters into your own hands to save your pup. This group helps with that period! In July we will celebrate 3 years post splenectomy. It works!
I found this group when I was feeling hopeless and helpless about Mulligan’s cancer diagnosis. The ER vet sent me home with a box of Yunnan Baiyao and no explanation of what it was or how it could be used. Shemara Lee responded to my request to join immediately. The resources I found were incredibly helpful. I went from being helpless to empowered. Mulligan is doing great and is 9 weeks post diagnosis. With a little luck and the help of this group, I hope we make it to 9 months or beyond!]
Thank you so much for all your work Shemara Lee. It’s the only place to go if you want a community of people dedicated to helping keep your baby alive. I ran into so many professionals who simply threw up there hands or gave me a flat “enjoy the time you have left”…there’s always SOMETHING you could be doing to help them along, and you can find that here.
I found this group well over 3 years ago, after my Jakey was diagnosed and given just 2-6 months by our traditional vet. Jakey is still here with me, over 3.5 years later, and I believe this group is a big reason for that. Not only did the wealth of knowledge and information in this group provide me with tremendous guidance on how look after my Jakey and give him the best support, but the people in this group, Shemara Lee , Jamie, and all the members are just the most incredible support group.
People here genuinely care, they know what you are going through and they take time to help you through the tough times, provide hope and the emotional support and connection you can sometimes only get from people going through the same thing as you.
I can’t speak highly enough about this group, the Admin and all the members. Thank you for everything you have and continue to provide for us all.
We found out our black lab Drake had Hemangiosarcoma when he was 11 yrs old. He had a splenectomy and his prognosis was 3 months. My world collapsed and I felt hopeless until I stumbled on Shemara Lee’s FB group. The compassion, knowledge, and community support that I found in her group was beyond anything I could ever imagine. The group files gave me the tools and hope I needed to fight this monster of a disease and we ended up having 28 wonderful months! Yes, over two years! I know Drake would not have made it that long if it were not for this incredible group.