Bone Cancer in Dogs

Bone cancer in dogs is also known as canine osteosarcoma. This form of cancer progresses rapidly without immediate medical intervention, and sometimes requires limb amputation. Malignant tumors can occur in any bone in the body, although certain bones are more commonly affected. Studies also reveal that larger breeds are more susceptible to osteosarcoma than small and young pets.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Dog Bone Cancer

The most prevalent symptom of bone cancer is lameness of the limb that's affected. Although the lameness may be partial in the initial stages of malignancy, it could become permanent with cancer progression. The tumor causes bone disintegration and metastasis in the early stage. There are several treatment options for osteosarcoma. However, most pet owners don't notice the symptoms soon enough or confuse the symptoms with those of canine arthritis and old age. As the tumor enlarges, it causes pathological fractures in the bone. Diagnosis of dog bone cancer involves radiographs and biopsies that differentiate the tumors from bacterial infection. Disease Progression

Tumors generally produce limb pain and lameness. The tumor may also spread and infect other areas of the dog's body such as the lungs. Thus, a prompt biopsy followed by aggressive treatment is necessary to prevent fatalities. Treatment of Dog Bone Cancer

The main aim of canine osteosarcoma treatment is to reduce the pain and discomfort caused during illness, and to slow cancer progression. Malignant tumors will be surgically removed while severely infected limbs may have to be completely amputated to reduce pain. In addition to surgery, dogs that are administered chemotherapy have a higher chance of survival. Studies reveal that 90 percent of pets that are treated exclusively with surgery die within one year, due to the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. Another method used during treatment is termed as limb sparing. It involves the surgical insertion of an allograph that replaces the damaged bone. Pain Killer Medication

Pets experience severe pain during illness and soon after surgery. In order to bring relief, the vet will prescribe pain killer medication, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Pain medication for dogs includes Metacam, tramadol, rimadyl and amantidine. The drugs may be administered in combinations decided by the vet. In addition to pain killer medication, radiation therapy also counteracts pain especially after limb sparing surgeries. Chemotherapy for Canine Osteosarcoma

Since chemotherapy increases pet life post-cancer surgery, most pets respond positively to agents such as cisplastin. Cisplastin may also be used in combination with other chemotherapy medication. The need for chemotherapy varies according to individual pet situations. The duration of chemotherapy and types of medication used are also adjusted after initial response to treatment. Successful Chemotherapy Drugs Include:

* A combination of cisplastin and doxyrubicin * Doxyrubicin administered exclusively * Carboplatin * Cisplastin administered exclusively

Although pets show higher chances of survival with a combination of amputation and chemotherapy, care takers have to follow adequate home care and routinely follow up with vet checks. Since there isn't any known cause of canine osteosarcoma, there aren't any preventive techniques to follow. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are the only options for pet survival.