Pain Management for Canine Bone Cancer

Pain management for canine bone cancer is possible, and there are many ways to help relieve your dog's discomfort. Bone cancer is extremely painful for canines, so use of any combination of preferred methods will be beneficial in some way in helping to maintain a more manageable comfort level for your dog. Use of medication together with natural and non-medicinal methods will produce the best results.


The most effective procedure for pain management of canine bone cancer is amputation of the affected limb. Amputation provides immediate pain relief, and usually extends and improves the dog's quality of life. Many people hesitate to opt for amputation, but dogs recover and adapt to the procedure rather well. Amputation of the cancerous area completely rids the devastating pain caused by canine bone cancer. Careful consideration of this option is recommended.

Palliative Radiation

When amputation is not an option due to decreased state of health in a dog, palliative radiation is another treatment to consider. Palliative radiation is administered in intervals over a period of time. This procedure is for pain relief and not intended to be a cure for canine bone cancer. Side effects are usually minimal and limited to the area of administration. Radiation dermatitis is a common side effect, causing redness or flaking of the skin near the area of treatment.

Alternative Health Care Options

Many methods of alternative healthcare are also available for pain management of canine bone cancer. Neurostimulation is a procedure that uses non-painful impulses sent to block the transmission of painful impulses in the nerves around the affected area. Acupuncture can be sought and is becoming an increasingly common method of treatment for pain in animals. Acupuncture is a system that encompasses many methods of treatment, including the addition of massage, nutrition and herbal medicines. Chiropractic procedures are optional as well. Chiropractors are skilled at alleviating pain, and may also offer additional suggestions for treating and maintaining a pain-free lifestyle for your dog.

Anti-Inflammatory Pain Medication

Anti-inflammatory medication can be administered in the form of pills or injection. Anti-inflammatory drugs typically do not contain steroids and are non-narcotic. NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, help to control the pain and inflammation associated with canine bone cancer. Side-effects to be aware of: stomach irritation, and decreased kidney and liver function.

Narcotic Pain Medications

There are several types of narcotic pain relievers that can be given for pain management of canine bone cancer. Drugs such as butorphanol, buprenorphine, or morphine can be administered with good results. However, due to the narcotic nature of these medications, one must always take into consideration other medications the dog is currently taking, and other present conditions that may interfere with the effectiveness of these drugs. Many of these recommended narcotic drugs cause severe side effects, or lose effectiveness when combined with other medications. Consider carefully when choosing drugs of a narcotic nature.