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To determine whether premature death occurred among dogs with nonmalignant splenic histopathologic findings after splenectomy for nontraumatic hemoabdomen.


197 dogs with nontraumatic hemoabdomen that underwent splenectomy and histopathologic evaluation between 2005 and 2018.


Information was obtained from electronic medical records, dog owners, and referring veterinarians to determine patient characteristics, histopathologic findings, survival information, and cause of death. Dogs were grouped based on histopathological diagnosis and outcome, and median survival times (MSTs) and risk factors for death were determined.


Histopathologic findings indicated malignancy in 144 of the 197 (73.1%) dogs with nontraumatic hemoabdomen. Hemangiosarcoma was diagnosed in 126 dogs (87.5% of those with malignancies and 64.0% of all dogs). Nine of 53 (17%) dogs with nonmalignant histopathologic findings had an adverse outcome and premature death, with an MST of 49 days. Risk factors for this outcome included low plasma total solids concentration, an elevated hemangiosarcoma likelihood prediction score, and a medium or high hemangiosarcoma likelihood prediction score category.


This study showed that there is a group of dogs with nontraumatic hemoabdomen due to splenic disease that have nonmalignant histopathologic findings after splenectomy, but nonetheless suffer an adverse outcome and die prematurely of a suspected malignancy. Further evaluation of potential at-risk populations may yield detection of otherwise overlooked malignancies.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association