Canine osteosarcoma, often referred to as OSA, is a very common form of dog bone cancer. For dogs, OSA is even more common than skin cancer. OSA tumors develop in all types of dogs, but typically they develop in older, larger breed dogs. OSA tumors are very aggressive, and they are difficult to treat in most dogs.
Where OSA Tumors Occur in the Body
Most often OSA tumors form on a dog's limb, usually near the femur. The tumors are very painful and fast growing; quickly spreading to the lungs and other areas of the body.
Symptoms of OSA Tumors
Tumor symptoms can be difficult to notice until the tumor has grown, and then it may be too late for treatment. If your dog is suffering with an OSA tumor you may notice that the affected limb seems to be lame and or swollen. Advanced OSA tumors that have spread will often lead your dog to stop eating. So decreased appetite, vomiting and general lethargy are all symptoms that mean your dog could have OSA dog tumors.
Diagnosis of OSA Tumors
Veterinarians diagnosis an OSA tumor by biopsying the tumor. By looking at the tumor microscopically your veterinarian can know for sure whether or not the tumor is cancerous. Without a biopsy the best your veterinarian can do is guess what the tumor is.
Treatment of OSA Tumors
The treatment of OSA tumors really depends on where the tumor is and how long it has been there. If the tumor has been growing for a while or if it has spread there will be limits to the amount of treatment that is appropriate and or the types of treatments that are available. Treatments that are available include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hyperthermia therapy. However, most of the time surgery and chemotherapy are the recommended treatments according to most veterinarians.
Prognosis of Dogs with OSA Tumors
Dogs suffering from an OSA tumor often don't have a great prognosis from the veterinarian. Treatments that are available often only buy you a few more weeks with your dog. Typically by the time of the diagnosis the cancer has spread. Usually, your vet will work with you to make sure your dog is as comfortable for as long as possible until a decision about euthanasia needs to be made.
Being aware of the health issues, like canine cancer, that may arise can help you keep your dog happy and healthy as long as possible. Knowing the information about symptoms and treatments will help you when you speak to your veterinarian about your dog.