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Osteosarcoma in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

Bone cancer ranks among the most prevalent forms of cancer in dogs, requiring early detection and prompt treatment for optimal outcomes. Consult our Oak Grove veterinarians to gain insights into the symptoms and treatments for canine bone cancer.

What is osteosarcoma?

At Oak Grove Animal Hospital, we frequently encounter osteosarcoma as the predominant type of primary bone cancer in dogs, constituting 95% of all diagnosed canine bone tumors. This aggressive condition prompts the malignant proliferation of immature bone cells.

Unchecked, osteosarcoma swiftly disseminates throughout the body, triggering a chain of potential health complications that can rapidly prove fatal. Yet, early diagnosis of osteosarcoma opens the door to a life-saving option: surgical removal of the cancerous limb. Actively addressing the issue through prompt limb removal not only tackles the localized problem but also serves as a crucial preventative measure, thwarting the spread of the disease.

What are the signs of bone cancer in dogs?

Early symptoms of bone cancer in dogs are so subtle that many pet parents don't recognize them straight away. Osteosarcoma often develops in a dog's front legs first but may also affect your pet's jaw, facial bones, vertebrae, ribs, and rear legs.

Some of the most common symptoms of osteosarcoma in dogs include:

  • Swelling in the ribs, spine, legs, or jaw
  • Severe pain
  • Mass or lump on the dog's body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Limping or lameness
  • Respiratory distress
  • Discharge from the nostrils
  • Lethargy or weakness

When should I take my dog to see a vet?

Bone cancer aggressively spreads, requiring urgent treatment. If your pet exhibits any symptoms listed above, call your vet immediately to schedule an emergency appointment. Always take signs of bone cancer in your dogs seriously, as osteosarcoma can swiftly turn fatal if not detected early for treatment.

What is the treatment for dogs with bone cancer?

Osteosarcoma requires a proactive approach for effective treatment. The preferred method often involves limb amputation followed by chemotherapy due to the aggressive nature of the disease.

While amputation may initially seem drastic, it significantly reduces the risk of cancer spreading, and dogs typically adapt well to life with three legs. In cases where surgery isn't viable, a combination of radiation and chemotherapy proves beneficial.

Upon diagnosing your dog with osteosarcoma, your vet will thoroughly discuss recent advancements in cancer treatment. This ensures you gain a clear understanding of the therapy options available for your dog.

What is the outlook for dogs with osteosarcoma?

Factors like your dog's age, weight, and the tumor's location will all influence the prognosis. Only your vet can provide you with an accurate prognosis for your pet, and your veterinarian or veterinary oncologist will develop a specialized treatment plan to help your dog achieve the best possible outcome.

Dogs diagnosed and treated for bone cancer can usually live for another 1 - 6 years. Unfortunately, bone cancer is extremely aggressive and often proves fatal even when treated with surgery and other therapies. Still, your primary and specialty vet teams will collaborate to ensure your dog's comfort and quality of life for as long as possible.

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.

For more information on getting a referral for diagnosis and treatment for your dog at Oak Grove Animal Hospital, please get in touch immediately so that our team can provide the best care for your dog. 

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Oak Grove Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinarians are passionate about animal health and are proud to serve our patients. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment and to get started.

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