Symptoms of Osteosarcoma in Dogs

Osteosarcoma in dogs is also known as bone cancer. Bones may be affected by tumors and most frequently these are localized close to the knee joint or below the shoulder joint. Osteosarcoma has been associated with sudden bone growths and larger dog breeds are more exposed to developing bone tumors.

The canine bone cancer is not a treatable condition, but detecting the symptoms in time may help your pet have a longer and more pain-free life.

Symptoms of Canine Osteosarcoma

Canine bone cancer does not present symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Lameness in the affected limb may be felt, but the dog may hide this symptom. In the beginning the lameness is not continuous. After the tumor starts growing and damages the bone tissue, the lameness will be constant and is a clear symptom of osteosarcoma. The dog will be in pain. Another symptom is depression and sleepiness. The dog will be less active and will lack appetite.

As the tumor increases, you may also notice a swelling in the affected area. The tumor is hard and rough.

In later stages of the bone cancer, the tumor will develop further and may cause fractures in the affected bone.

The metastasis will possibly affect the lungs. The dog will cough and have breathing difficulties.

Treatment Options for Canine Bone Cancer

The canine bone cancer can be diagnosed using radiographies. There are a few lesions that look similar to a bone tumor, so biopsies may be needed to get a clear diagnosis.

A full treatment of the osteosarcoma is not possible. However, it is possible to slow down the spreading of the cancerous cells in the body and prolong the dog's life.

The dog with bone cancer will be in a lot of pain and relieving this pain is a top priority to comfort your pet.

Surgery is also a solution. The tumor can be removed, but this can mean either amputation or bone transplant from a healthy donor. Surgery has proven to be successful and increases the dog's life expectancy by as much as 1 year. Even if the dog loses a limb, this procedure is still preferred and your dog can adapt to living with 3 limbs.

Surgery is recommended only in the first stages of the disease; in metastasis the surgery is pointless.

After surgery, it is highly recommended to keep the dog under chemotherapy, which will delay the formation of new cancerous cells and the occurrence of the metastasis. The chemo medication may include cisplastin, carboplastin or doxyrubicin. Often, two of these are combined.

Pain Medication for Canine Osteosarcoma

Canine osteosarcoma is a very painful condition. Controlling the pain is important to help your pet get better. You can opt for medications that don't contain steroids-these will reduce the pain and the inflammations. There are also pain-relieving drugs that contain steroids.

Vets often prescribe several pain medications for optimum effectiveness.

Radiation can get rid of the pain. It is falsely believed that radiations will remove the tumor; in fact radiations can only help with the pain.

Canine osteosarcoma is an aggressive condition and may easily spread in your pet's body. Early detection can help manage the condition and relieve your dog's pain.