Canine Osteosarcoma Prognosis

Canine osteosarcoma is a violent and painful tumor located in the bone of a dog. The first symptoms of the disease include lameness and lethargy. The prognosis for a dog with osteosarcoma is not favorable. On average, dogs with bone cancer may survive for up to 1 year. In some cases, if the limb is amputated, the osteosarcoma may be cured. It is important to recognize the symptoms and diagnose the disease in time, administrating suitable treatment, so that you can increase the lifespan of your pet and improve his life quality.

Affected Areas

A cancerous tumor may affect any bone; however, there are particular bones that are more likely to be affected:

  • Above and bellow the knee joint
  • Below the shoulder joint
  • Above the carpal joint of the legs

Larger dog breeds are more frequently affected by osteosarcomas.

Symptoms of Osteosarcoma

By noticing a few symptoms of osteosarcoma you can help your pet and get veterinary help, so that you relieve the pain and extend the dog’s life.

You may notice lameness in the legs or one leg; this will indicate the location of the tumor.

The dog will also be in a lot of pain, especially if the tumor starts growing. He will rest more, will avoid running or jumping.

The pain may make your dog growl.

Also, if you touch the affected bone, you may feel the tumor as a hard swelling. When touching the tumor, the dog will retract his leg.

As the tumor advances, it will weaken the bone and fractures may be present.

Coughing and gagging may occur when the cancer has spread to the lungs (metastasis).

Diagnosing Osteosarcomas

An x-ray can reveal the presence of an osteosarcoma. A bone biopsy should also be performed to rule out any bone infections that may present similar symptoms. The vet will perform further tests to determine is the cancer has affected other organs or areas of the body.

Prognosis Treating Canine Osteosarcoma

The treatment is essential and may help the dog live longer and pain free.

The treatment will focus on relieving the pain and stopping the tumor from spreading or slowing it down.

The vet may opt to amputate the leg or to remove the tumor and spare the leg.

Typically, the amputation of the leg is a more efficient treatment, as it will remove the tumor and the affected area and the cancerous cells may never grow back. However, amputation is not a guarantee that the cancer won’t reoccur.

Osteosarcoma is a very aggressive disease and spread really fast. If the cancer has spread to the rest of the body, amputation will not help. In these cases, the dog has less than 1 year to live. The vet will prescribe pain medication and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs. Radiotherapy can also relieve pain in dogs with advanced osteosarcoma. Chemotherapy should also be used, as this will slow down the spreading of the cancer and will delay metastasis.