Osteosarcoma or bone cancer is one of the most common types of cancer a dog can develop, and must diagnosed and treated early in order to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes. Here our Huntersville vets share the signs of bone cancer in dogs, and when to seek help from your veterinarian.
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, their jaw, facial bones, vertebrae, ribs, and rear legs could all be affected by this disease.
The signs and symptoms of bone cancer 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.
Treatment & Prognosis of Bone Cancer in Dogs
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 osteosarcom 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 veterinary oncologist will be sure to discuss recent bone cancer treatment developments with you so that you are well informed about dog's treatment and the various options available.
Veterinary Oncology in Huntersville
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 veterinary oncologist at CVS Huntersville is dedicated to providing the best care and treatment to pets with cancer, and offering support for the families that love them. As part of this comprehensive care, our oncologist works closely with other veterinary specialists including your primary care veterinarian.
When you and your pet are referred to our oncology specialist, Dr. Christine Fahey will review your pet's medical history and lab results then discuss the disease, staging (additional diagnostics), treatment options, side effects, and the prognosis with you. If your dog has been diagnosed with bone cancer, ask your vet for a referral to our oncology team at CVS Huntersville.