Machery Hemangiomas

by Carol Machery DVM, Grassmere Animal Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee

When you see a dark spot on your greyhound’s skin, you may want to take a closer look.  Dark “things” can be something serious, or they can be minor things that are more of a nuisance than anything else.  One of the common things our greyhounds seem to grow easily is a hemangioma and, fortunately, these fall more into the nuisance category.

Appearance – smooth surface, red color, usually less than 1/4″ across and often much smaller.  (Click pictures for a full-size view)

Location – especially common on the lower chest and abdomen, and the legs.  They’re usually seen in the areas with the least fur.

Significance – these are benign growths – not cancers.  They will bleed if scratched.

Treatment – if they are clearly hemangioma’s, these small growths require no further treatment.  Some disappear on their own.  Some remain for years.

What else could they be? There are other, more serious tumors that can be confused with hemangioma’s so unless you’re confident about it, your vet should be the one to make that distinction.

  • Hemangiosarcomas – this is the malignant version of this tumor and these need to be quickly and completely removed surgically.  Hemangiosarcomas tend to be larger, and tend to have a more irregular cobble-stone surface.  These tumors can also be found internally, and they can be fatal.
  • Melanomas – a very serious cancer.  These tumors are often black, not blood-filled red, and may be thick or flat.  The borders may be irregular and hard to define.  Melanoma’s spreads to other areas, and can also be fatal.


3 thoughts on “Machery Hemangiomas

  1. Susan, I’m unable to edit the article to add the photos you want to see, but to see the difference, please Google the terms and click on “images.” You’ll find lots of illustrations that way. Roger, the dog in my avatar had retroperitoneal hemangiosarcoma near his hip. He was gone in about two months as it was invading his kidney. Two years before he developed the lump, he started licking the spot where it was forming. He was warning us but no one but me saw it. I pointed it out to my vet but she didn’t think anything of it – and she is a fine vet. There’s a lot we don’t know about hemangiosarcoma and the varieties of forms it can manifest.

    Posted by greyhoundarticlesonline | December 30, 2012, 9:19 AM
  2. Our greyhound’s first hemangioma was surgically removed but had we known what it was we probably wouldn’t have had it done. We were disappointed that our vets didn’t know what it was. Later, a second one appeared which wasn’t operated on.
    A few years on and tragically he developed a hemangiosarcoma, which was about 18-20mm in diameter with a height of about 10 mm. It was on his side in an area with a good covering of fur. The lump was drained but wouldn’t stop bleeding and it swelled again to its original size very quickly. Again, our vets didn’t know what it was at first and so delayed surgery for a few weeks.
    I doubt the delay made much difference though because many more tumours were found on his lungs by x-ray while undergoing the surgery. We were told not to expect more than about 3 months for him and that no treatment would be effective. The wound site healed very slowly and, as it turned out, our wonderful boy only survived for 6 weeks from diagnosis.
    Hemangiosarcoma is a wicked and very aggressive cancer.
    So many greys seem to suffer from various cancers. Does anyone know if it’s more prevalent than in other breeds?

    Posted by Roger Brenton | December 17, 2012, 2:04 PM
  3. It would be nice to see pictures of the hemangiosarcomas and melanomas for comparison….

    Posted by Susan Barnett-Kiengsiri | December 15, 2012, 7:39 PM

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