ritz and sassy  

People Helping Dogs Fight Cancer

Because They Look Up To Us For Help


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   Better Days

Ritz & Sassy

b. Mar.26.1999- d. Jan.31.2008 / b. Apr.29.2000- d. Apr.01.2009

Splenic Hemangiosarcoma

 Recently we lost our 8 year old German Shepherd Dogs “Ritz” & "Sassy"

to Hemangiosarcoma (HSA).

 Hemangiosarcoma is known as the “Silent Killer” amongst dogs and cats. Mainly though found in dogs, and is most prevalent in older large breeds such as German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Boxers and Labradors. Called the silent killer due, we think, to the fact that by the time it presents itself, it is already endangering your cherished pet.

ALL breeds are affected.

 We would like new nationwide guidelines put into place which could give pet owners a fighting chance against (HSA) through advertising (leaflets) and integrated into Veterinary Computer Software bringing up a Flag or Alert to the Veterinarian (Vet) practice when an older dog is brought in showing one of the many symptoms of HSA.

 This cancer was something we were completely unaware of when we brought our dog Ritz in to our local Veterinary Hospital for a check because of no appetite. On that visit, we discussed many possibilities and none of them were found to be the cause of her loss of appetite. With Sassy it was in the back of our minds but with her it was her recent lethargy and sluggish behaviour that my wife Lisa spotted. Both dogs were dismissed with no in depth testing and both were later diagnosed with Splenic HSA. If some sort of flagging system or alert were in place within the computer software the Vet could identify that a dog of an age of six or greater, would greatly benefit from a more in depth exam or a diagnostic suggestion could be offered to the owner of said pet, which ultimately could save the pets life, or at least increase its life span.

 If our Vet had offered us information regarding HSA we would have had them give Ritz & Sassy an ultrasound on that day we brought them in, it is very likely they would still be with us today.

 We feel that pet owners need to be made aware of the dangers their pet faces as it goes through the ageing process. Vets and owners need to be aware of and look for ANY of the markers of (HSA), mainly given a dog older than the age of six (6) with signs including loss of appetite, arrhythmias, weight loss, weakness, lethargy, collapse, or pale mucous membranes. Also possibilities could be as simple as noticing an enlarged abdomen, which is often seen due to haemorrhage of an HSA tumour, as we did as soon as the VERY NEXT DAY following the FULL examination with BOTH dogs.

 Our request is that ALL Veterinary surgeries in the UK should be required to notify ALL owners of dogs as they pass the age of 6 years old as a precautionary measure, a flagging system put into place when a dog is brought into a vet surgery for ANY reason that is of age and that an abdominal ultrasound, and/or a health screening could possibly save their dogs life or at least give it a fighting chance from early detection of most cancers. The Vets in our area do this for inoculations and worming annually, why then could they not do this for ageing dogs. Simple blood tests would show cancer markers such as non-coagulation, and low Pack Cell Volume (PCV).

 In closing we would like to you impose an advertising campaign by way of posters and leaflets in vet surgeries, and for veterinary surgeries around the country to send out reminders, to owners of pets that are the age of six (6) or older, of the need for bi-annual ultrasounds. Also vets themselves should notify owners that bring their pets in for routine appointments i.e. worming, boosters, check-ups etc. of their aging dog and future dangers thereof pertaining to age and breed, and that regular health checks could save the life of their furry best friends!

 We also need to say that we would not have been able to cope with all that has transpired since Ritz & Sassy had emergency splenectomies. Without the unending kindness, and vast knowledge that we found at Yahoo Groups/Canine Cancer. It was Ginger's story that inspired us, and lead us to this group, and with all of the loving caring dog lovers and their perseverance in finding the best treatments and diets, we were able to ask the right questions of our Ritz & Sassy's health care provider(s). Please if you need to, go to Yahoo/Pets/Groups/Canine Cancer and if it's Hemangiosarcoma in particular go to The Sumner Foundation Group at Yahoo

If you or your charity / company / trust / organisation is working in the same direction,

or have a need for assistance in fighting canine cancer in whatever form,

please email us as we are more than happy to aid in your endeavours,

and will do everything in our power to help.


Print this page off and take into your vet. Send it to your Pet insurance.

Send it to your friends, don't let this happen to any more animals.

 PetScreen - Animal Cancer Trust - Canine Cancer Awareness

The Sumner Foundation - The Magic Bullet Fund






Ritz & Sassy Protocol
Outlining our aim for new Veterinary Guidelines.


Ritz & Sassy's Story
Our Ritz & Sassy and their last photos and the motivation for us to help all other dogs fighting cancer.


Your Stories
Please feel free to contact us with your individual stories of fighting canine cancer for others to read, and gain strength from.