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Bone Cancer in Dogs - Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

Bone cancer is one of the most common types of cancer our Huntsville vets see in dogs. To achieve positive treatment outcomes it is essential to detect and begin treating bone cancer while it is in the very earliest stages. Read on to learn more about this heartbreaking condition.

Osteosarcoma - Bone Cancer 

At VMSG in Ventura, osteosarcoma is the most common type of primary bone cancer our vets see in dogs. Osteosarcoma accounts for approximately 95% of all bone tumors diagnosed in dogs. This aggressive condition leads to the malignant, abnormal growth of immature bone cells.

Sadly, without treatment osteosarcoma spreads quickly throughout the body causing other health issues, and can quickly become fatal for dogs. That said, if bone cancer is diagnosed early, life-saving surgery may be possible to remove the cancerous limb and help to prevent spreading.

Signs of Bone Cancer in Dogs

The early signs of bone cancer are so subtle that many pet parents don't recognize them straight away. Bone cancer often appears in the dog's front legs however, your dog's jaw, facial bones, vertebrae, ribs, and rear legs may all be affected by this disease.

Symptoms of bone cancer to watch for include:

  • Swelling in the ribs, spine, legs, or jaw
  • Severe pain
  • Growth of a mass on the dog's body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Limping or lameness
  • Respiratory distress
  • Discharge from the nostrils
  • Lethargy or weakness

Bone cancer is a very aggressive disease prone to spreading quickly, that's why pet parents should always take symptoms of bone cancer in their dogs very seriously and contact their vet immediately if they notice any of the above symptoms. Osteosarcoma can quickly spread to other organs and cause fatal conditions such as respiratory distress.

That said, it is always important to monitor your dog's health and contact your vet whenever you notice any symptoms or behaviors that are out of the ordinary for your pet. Early treatment is especially important when it comes cancer but many other conditions are easiest to treat if diagnosed early.

Veterinary Oncology

If your dog is showing signs of bone cancer, book an appointment with a veterinary oncologist immediately. Veterinarians with specialized training in oncology have the appropriate technology to diagnose bone cancer in dogs and quickly begin treatment.

Bone Cancer in Dogs Treatment 

Because osteosarcoma is such an aggressive disease, treatment is often amputation of the limb followed by chemotherapy. While amputation may seem extreme it may help to prevent the cancer from spreading and most dogs do very well with three legs. If surgery isn't an option a combination of radiation and chemotherapy may be beneficial.

New therapies and procedures are always being studied. Your vet will take the time to discuss recent bone cancer treatment developments with you so that you are able to understand your dog's treatment options. 

What is the prognosis for dogs with bone cancer?

Factors such as age, weight, and where the tumor is located will all influence your dog's prognosis. Only your vet will be able to provide you with an accurate prognosis for your pet. Your veterinarian or veterinary oncologist will develop a specialized treatment plan to help your dog achieve the best possible outcome.

Typically, dogs diagnosed and treated for bone cancer live for another 1 - 6 years. Unfortunately bone cancer is very aggressive and often proves fatal even when treated with surgery and therapy.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think that your dog may have bone cancer? Contact Whitesburg Animal Hospital right away to book an urgent examination for your four-legged family member. 

New Patients Welcome

Whitesburg Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Huntsville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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