Canine bone cancer is one of the most common malignant diseases in dogs. Bone cancers that are commonly diagnosed in dogs are osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma,fibrosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma, just to name a few. Sadly many dog owners are not as aware as they should be about this disease. Most of them ignore the early signs of bone cancer in their dogs and often settle with giving their dogs pain medications. The first line of defense against bone cancer in dogs is awareness, early detection, diagnosis, and immediate treatment. Discovering the disease early can mean more treatment options for the dog allowing it to maximize the advantages of surgical procedures and chemotherapy, one of the most effective treatment combinations for bone cancer in dogs. Bone marrow cancer in dogs can manifest the same symptoms with bone cancer and can likewise benefit from early diagnosis and treatment.
Check this video about bone cancer diagnosis in dogs
Canine Bone Cancer Symptoms
Bone cancer in dogs symptoms are easy to identify. Number one on the list is lameness or the inability of the dog to move about or put weight to one of its limbs. Lameness can manifest as a peculiar gait in dogs that is not normal for an uninjured canine. Many dog owners dismiss this as caused by arthritis thus the administration of the usual pain drugs. This is often the reason why proper diagnosis is bypassed which allows the cancer to progress until it is too late. Other signs of bone cancer in dogs are the following:
- Loss of appetite – the decreased level of activity is often accompanied with decreased interest in food. This can result to the further weakening of the dog as time passes by, contributing to the dog’s increased vulnerability to the cancer.
- Lumps in the ribs – lumps in the ribs can be malignant tumors caused by the bone cancer. Sometimes depression in the ribs can also mean the same thing – a spreading bone cancer. At this stage further delays in the treatment of bone cancer can prove to be fatal.
- Chewing problems – dogs can also show some signs of difficulty chewing food and swallowing it.
- Nasal discharge – nasal discharge can also be a telltale sign that the dog has bone cancer especially when it is accompanied by the other symptoms listed here. This is often accompanied by facial swelling.
The symptoms of bone cancer in dogs listed here can simplify the detection of this fast-progressing canine disease. If you own a dog, knowing these things can mean a longer life for your beloved friend.
The Common Location of Bone Cancer in Dogs
Bone cancer in dogs often occurs in longer bones such as the distal wrist, shoulder bones, and the proximal hip. Bone cancer can also originate in the spine, pelvis, and the skull. Bone cancer in dog’s leg is very common because of the long bones along its length. This is the reason why lameness is the most obvious early sign of bone cancer with dogs choosing to stay put than walk around.
Treatment & Prognosis
The good news is there are many treatment options for bone cancer in dogs. Here are some of the most common:
- Surgery – dogs that are a candidate for amputation can be operated on as soon as possible. This allows vets to remove the affected bone entirely and effectively stop the progression of the disease. To ensure that remaining cancer cells are neutralized chemotherapy is also done right after the surgery. Amputation is also desired by vets and dog owners alike because it spares the dog from the pain of the bone cancer.
- Radiation therapy – for dogs that are not a candidate for amputation a more conservative approach can be pursued. These interventions however are aggressive and can be tougher for the dog throughout the duration of the treatment.
- Other treatment options – the dog can also be given biophosphonates and a combination of chemo drugs. Often times this is further complimented with radiation to better the odds of the dog’s survival.
With bone cancer in dogs life expectancy can improve a lot by acting on these interventions as soon as possible. Some larger dog breeds can recuperate from an amputation as soon as two weeks and show eagerness to move about right after the recovery period, a testimony of the importance of early detection and treatment for dog bone cancer..