• Open Access

Disseminated Hemangiosarcoma in the Horse: 35 Cases


Reprint requests; H.C. Schott II, DVM, PhD, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, D-202 Veterinary Medical Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824–1314; e-mail: schott@cvm. msu.edu.


Thirty-five cases of disseminated hemangiosarcoma (21 clinical cases and 14 previously reported cases) were reviewed to describe the disease in horses. Hemangiosarcoma occurred in mature, particularly middle-aged horses, with no apparent sex predilection. Thoroughbreds seemed to be overrepresented (13 cases) but a true breed predilection could not be established. The respiratory and musculoskeletal systems were most commonly affected and presenting complaints included dyspnea (26%), subcutaneous or muscular swelling (24%), epistaxis (17%), and lameness (12%). Heart and respiratory rates were usually increased and mucous membrane color was frequently pale or icteric. Capillary refill time and rectal temperature were often normal. Anemia (88%), neutrophilic leukocytosis (62%), and thrombocytopenia (48%) were common. Examination of tissue samples collected by fine-needle aspirate or biopsy established an antemortem diagnosis in 4 horses. The diagnosis was made during postmortem examination in the remaining 31 horses. The lung and pleura (77%), skeletal muscle (46%), and spleen (43%) were most commonly affected. A primary site of tumor involvement could be identified in 22 horses. Hemangiosarcoma should be included as a differential diagnosis for horses with evidence of hemorrhage into body cavities, skeletal muscle, or subcutaneous locations.