BACKGROUND: Skeletal muscle metastases (SMMs) have been described sporadically in canine oncology.
HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence, localization, and clinical signs of SMMs associated with hemangiosarcoma (HSA) in a population of dogs presented for whole body computed tomography (CT).
ANIMALS: Dogs with a histologically confirmed HSA and a tissue core specimen or fine needle aspirate of suspected metastatic lesions were included in the study.
METHODS: Retrospective study. Dogs with a final diagnosis of visceral or muscular HSA that underwent whole body CT scan were enrolled in the study. Final diagnosis of primary tumor and SMMs was reached by histology, cytology, or both. Signalment, clinical signs, localization of the primary lesion, and metastases characteristics were reviewed.
RESULTS: Sixty-one dogs met the inclusion criteria. Skeletal muscle metastases were detected in 15 dogs (24.6%) and all of these dogs had also metastases in ≥1 sites. Presence of SMMs was significantly higher in males but was not significantly related to age, neuter status, breed, localization, and dimensions of the primary tumor. Nine of 15 (60.0%) dogs with SMMs showed lameness or reluctance to move whereas these signs were not recorded in any of the 42 dogs without SMMs (P < .001).
CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Prevalence of SMMs in our population of dogs with HSA was higher in comparison to previous studies in the human and veterinary medical literature. Whole body CT is recommended for staging of dogs with HSA, because SMMs could be missed by clinical examination and traditional diagnostic imaging modalities.