Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer seen in dogs. This cancer can spread quickly to other parts of the pet's body, making early detection and treatment essential. Today our Winston-Salem veterinary oncology team explains how to spot the symptoms of bone cancer in your dog, and when to visit your vet.
Bone Cancer in Dogs
Bone cancers can originate from cells that normally reside in the bone space (primary cancer) or as a metastatic disease which has spread from cancers elsewhere in your pet's body. Osteosarcoma is the most common type of primary bone cancer seen in dogs, accounting for approximately 95% of bone tumors. Other types of bone cancer include:
- Myeloma (Bone marrow cancer which affects the white blood cells)
- Chondrosarcoma (The second most common type of bone cancer in dogs, often found in the nasal cavity and ribs)
Osteosarcoma is an aggressive cancer which leads to the malignant, abnormal growth of immature bone cells. This form of bone cancer is known to spread quickly to other parts of the body, making early detection and treatment essential in order to achieve good treatment outcomes.
While osteosarcoma is a very serious condition in dogs, there is hope. If diagnosed in the very earliest stages, life-saving surgery may be possible to amputate the cancerous limb.
Dog Breeds Facing An Increased Risk of Osteosarcoma
It's important to note that any breed of dog can develop bone cancer although some breeds face a higher risk of developing the disease than others, including:
- Scottish Deerhounds which are genetically predisposed to osteosarcoma
- Rottweilers and other large-breed dogs
- Great Danes and other giant-breed dogs
If your dog is showing any of the following signs bone cancer, book an appointment with a veterinary oncology team right away. Veterinarians specializing in oncology will have the appropriate technology to diagnose bone cancer and offer an effective treatment plan.
Signs of Bone Cancer in Dogs
Osteosarcoma will often appear in the dog's front limbs near the shoulder, wrist, and knee. That said, your dog's jaw, facial bones, vertebrae, ribs, and rear legs could also be affected by osteosarcoma. The early signs of bone cancer in dogs can difficult for pet parents to recognize since symptoms tend to be subtle. Below are some of the most common symptoms of bone cancer that pet parents should watch for:
- Loss of appetite and Lethargy
- Neurologic signs, such as a wobbly gait
- Indications of severe pain
- Discharge from the nostrils
- Breathing difficulties
- Swelling in the ribs, spine, legs, or jaw
- Limping or lameness
- Growth of a mass on the dog's body
When to See Your Veterinarian
Bone cancer in dogs can quickly spread to other organs. For that reason, pet parents should always take symptoms seriously and make an appointment with their vet as soon as possible if they spot any of the symptoms listed above. When it comes to your pet's health it's always better to err on the side of caution.
Diagnosing Osteosarcoma in Dogs
If your vet suspects that your dog has developed bone cancer they will perform a physical and orthopedic examination of your pet and recommend an X-ray be done to look for signs of bone cancer.
If a possible tumor appears on the X-ray the area will biopsied for a definitive diagnosis. Blood tests, urinalysis, chest X-rays or a CT scan may also be performed to help assess your dog’s overall health and determine whether the cancer has spread to your pets respiratory system or other organs.
Treating Bone Cancer in Dogs
Due to the aggressive nature of osteosarcomas tumors, the most common treatment is amputation of the affected limb followed by chemotherapy to treat metastasis.
Radiation treatment can be effective for providing pain relief if surgery is not an option. As few as two treatments could help to relieve your dog's cancer related pain for as long as several months.
If your dog is diagnosed with osteosarcoma your vet will develop a specialized treatment plan to coordinate cancer treatments and help your pet achieve the best possible outcome. New therapies and procedures are always being studied and alternative options may be available to help your dog.
At Animal Hospital of Clemmons our veterinarians take the time to discuss recent bone cancer treatment developments with you so that you are able to understand your dog's treatment options.
Prognosis for Dogs With Bone Cancer
Sadly, the prognosis for many dogs with bone cancer is poor since the disease often is not detected until it has become fairly advanced and has begun to spread.
The prognosis for your dog will depend on the severity and spread of the disease, as well as the treatment you choose, and factors such as age, weight, and where the tumor is located.
Your veterinarian will take the time to discuss the best treatment options, and prognosis for your dog.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
If your dog is displaying any signs and symptoms of bone cancer, contact our Contact Animal Hospital of Clemmons right away to book an examination for your pet.
Looking for a vet in
We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.
Related Articles View All
When our Clemmons vets have the sad task of diagnosing cancer in a dog, the owner's first question is typically - how long can my dog live with cancer? Today our vets explain why that's such a difficult question to answer even with today's advanced diagnostics and treatments.
Although pancreatic cancer is relatively rare in dogs it's important for owners to know the symptoms so that treatment can begin early to try and prevent or limit the spread of this disease. Today our Clemmons vets explain the types of pancreatic cancer seen in dogs.
Pet-parents may not think about skin cancer when it comes to their dogs but, in spite of the fact that dogs are covered in fur, skin cancer is still a very real concern. Today we look at 3 skin cancers that our Clemmons vets commonly see in dogs.
When it comes to urinary system cancers in dogs, the bladder is the most commonplace spot for tumors to appear. Today our Winston-Salem veterinary oncology team shares some of the causes and symptoms of bladder cancer in dogs, and how the condition is treated.
At Animal Hospital of Clemmons our veterinary oncology team provides diagnosis and care for cats and dogs with cancer, and support for the people who love them. In today's post, our vets explain some of the symptoms and treatments for lung cancer in dogs.