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What You Need to Know About Bone Cancer in Dogs

Osteosarcoma or bone cancer is one of the most common types of cancer a dog can develop and must be diagnosed and treated early to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes. Learn more about the signs of bone cancer in dogs, and when to seek help from your vet.

Bone Cancer in Dogs

Accounting for over 95% of all bone tumors. osteosarcoma is the most common type of primary bone cancer seen in dogs. Osteosarcoma is an aggressive condition that leads to the malignant, abnormal growth of immature bone cells. This form of bone cancer will commonly spread throughout the dog's body, causing a number of serious health issues and can quickly become fatal.

That said, there is good news. If the disease is diagnosed early, life-saving surgery may be possible to remove the cancerous limb and save your dog's life.

Veterinary Oncology For Dogs

If your dog is showing signs of bone cancer, ask your primary care vet for a referral to a veterinary oncologist immediately. Vets specializing in oncology will have the appropriate technology to correctly diagnose bone cancer and offer an effective treatment plan.

Spotting Signs of Bone Cancer in Dogs

While osteosarcoma is a very serious condition, the signs and symptoms of bone cancer are often so subtle that you may not recognize them in the early stages of the disease. Often, bone cancer will appear in the dog's front legs however, the jaw, facial bones, vertebrae, ribs, and rear legs could all be affected by this disease. You may be wondering what bone cancer in dogs looks like. Externally you may notice swelling where the tumor has grown and the area may be warm to the touch. On X-ray, your vet may notice that the bone looks 'moth-eaten' with bits missing due to the loss of bone tissue.

Symptoms of bone cancer in dogs may include:

  • Swelling in the ribs, spine, legs, or jaw
  • Indications of 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

What To Do if You Suspect Your Dog Has Bone Cancer

Noticing symptoms of bone cancer in your dog should always be taken very seriously because of the condition's likelihood of spreading quickly to other organs where it can lead to fatal conditions such as loss of appetite and respiratory distress.

In order to give your dog the best chance possible, it is essential to keep a close eye on your dog’s overall health and immediately book an appointment with your vet if you notice any of the symptoms listed above, even if they are very mild.

Bone Cancer in Dogs Treatment & Prognosis

Every dog is different and there are a number of factors such as age, weight, and where the tumor is located, which will influence your dog's prognosis. If your pet is diagnosed with osteosarcoma your vet or veterinary oncologist will develop a specialized treatment plan to coordinate treatments and help your dog achieve the best possible outcome.

Dogs diagnosed and treated for bone cancer typically live for another 1 - 6 years. Sadly a bone cancer diagnosis is never an easy journey and will often prove fatal even when treated with surgery and therapy. New therapies and procedures are always being studied and your veterinarian will be sure to discuss recent bone cancer treatment developments with you so that you are well-informed about your dog's treatment and the various options available. 

Bone Marrow Cancer in Dogs

Myeloma is a serious but rare bone marrow cancer in dogs. Symptoms of this heart-wrenching disease can be very severe, ranging from bleeding, osteoporosis, and kidney dysfunction to loss of eyesight and neurological complications. Dogs diagnosed with this form of bone cancer often die from complications of secondary infections.

Veterinary Oncology at Spring House Animal Hospital

Cancer is a disease that can affect even the most healthy-looking animals. The good news is that with advanced methods of therapy, many cancers can be treated.

Our team will perform an in-depth review of your pet's medical history and lab results then discuss the disease, staging (additional diagnostics), treatment options, side effects, and prognosis with you. 

We will do all we can to get your dog or cat's treatment started right away

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.

If your dog is showing symptoms of cancer, urgent veterinary care is essential. Contact our Ambler vets to book an examination for your pup.

Caring for Pets in Ambler

Spring House Animal Hospital welcomes new and existing clients to our veterinary clinic.

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