Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer) in Dogs

 

OSTEOSARCOMA AND YOUR DOG -- Here's What You Need to Know. 

Osteosarcomas are the most common type of bone cancer in dogs.  They are most common in large and giant breeds of dogs. For instance, Osteosarcoma in Great Danes and Retriever breeds are fairly common.  Here's what you need to know about osteosarcomas or bone cancer in dogs.

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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OSTEOSARCOMA IN DOGS?

When it comes to symptoms of bone cancer in dogs, here are some things a professional veterinarian will look for.

  • Progressive pain and lameness
  • Hard swelling of the bones
  • Common sites: the shoulder and just above the wrist on the forelimbs, and around the knee in the hindlimbs.
  • Can also occur wherever the bone has been chronically irritated -- dental disease, areas of old fractures or surgery.

 

HOW  DO WE DIAGNOSE OSTEOSARCOMAS IN DOGS? WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF BONE CANCER IN DOGS?

Without proper tests, diagnosing bone cancer in dogs isn’t easy. However, through a combination of physical examination and medical tests, a diagnosis can be made. Here’s what the process usually looks like.

  • Palpation of the suspected mass is pretty suggestive
  • Confirmation requires radiographs of the affected bone
  • Fungal diseases like Valley Fever can mimic bone cancer, so if you live in an endemic area you should consider fungal blood titers for your pet.
  • For absolute diagnosis, a bone biopsy of the affected area
  • As the cancer progresses, it frequently travels to the lungs and so chest films are also a good idea.

 

THE NATURAL TREATMENT OF OSTEOSARCOMA

  • CURCUMIN both reduces pain and kills cancer cells.  
  • CBD OIL has significant anti-inflammatory properties and also kills cancer cells.

 

TRADITIONAL TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR OSTEOSARCOMA IN DOGS

  • You must understand that osteosarcoma is generally NOT curable, and our goal with therapy is to maintain quality of life for as long as possible.
  • It is common for pet parents to ask, “Should I amputate my dog’s leg with Osteosarcoma”. The answer, unfortunately, isn’t an easy one. While AMPUTATION of the affected limb may help reduce pain over the short term, in the long run it will NOT prevent spread to the lungs What’s worse is that it can sometimes create significant problems for dogs with spinal issues or pain in other legs.  Choose wisely!!
  • CHEMOTHERAPY with injectable CARBOPLATIN or DOXORUBICIN.  Using either carboplatin or doxorubicin injections along with limb amputation has yielded median survival times ranging from 262 days to 366 days, one-year survival rates ranging from 37% to 46%, and two-year survival rates ranging from 16% to 26%.  These injections can be given at many general veterinary practices.
  • PAIN RELIEF-- NSAIDs like Rimadyl, Metacam, and Deramaxx or narcotics like hydromorphone.

 

NEW TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR OSTEOSARCOMA IN DOGS

  • BISPHOSPHANATE TREATMENT -- Similar to Boniva, these injections reduce bone destruction by the tumor and thus prolong quality of life.  These can be given intravenously by your regular veterinarian.  The most common of these is a drug called Zoledronate, which your vet can order in from Diamondback Pharmacy.
  • RAPAMYCIN given orally at home both kills tumor cells and minimizes tumor spread.
  • A NEW OSTEOSARCOMA VACCINE is being developed.
  • LIMB-SPARING SURGERY removes just the affected area of bone and typically replaces that diseased bone with metal implants to allow weight bearing.  This is a very specialized procedure performed by referral surgical centers.
  • STEREOTACTIC RADIATION treats the tumor itself with high dose radiation and can prolong your pet's quality of life.  It requires sedation and can only be performed at specialty clinics or universities.

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