Causes of Bone Cancer: Osteosarcoma In Dogs

No owner of a pet wants to hear that their pet has osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma in dogs, often called OS or OSA, is a cancerous bone tumour that can spread swiftly and aggressively to other body areas and is made up of naturally occurring cancer cells.

Most of the time, a vast, hard bump on a dog’s front legs indicates the presence of osteosarcoma. Although the dog’s hind legs, mouth, vertebrae, ribs, and hips may also be impacted.

Your dog may find it difficult to walk because of osteosarcoma and may often limp in order to avoid putting pressure on the affected limb. Osteosarcoma can be quite painful for your dog. If the tumour is not swiftly found and treated, it could spread and cause a number of secondary health problems, such as breathing problems once there is damage to the lungs.

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causes of osteosarcoma in dogs

Though the exact origins of osteosarcoma in canines are unknown, several ideas contend that previous fractures, underlying bone conditions, and repetitive bone injuries may all contribute to the development of the illness.

However, there are other factors that affect the development of cancer in dogs, some of which are genetic and others which are environmental. All dogs are susceptible to osteosarcoma, so it’s vital to keep an eye on your dog’s health with yearly veterinary checks and to be aware of any possible signs of bone cancer.

Symptoms of osteosarcoma in dogs

Early osteosarcoma in dogs is difficult to identify since it is tricky to recognize the tumour’s symptoms because they are typically mild. Your dog’s dog experiences little to no symptoms at first since cancer initially forms inside the bone. Your pet may start to feel uncomfortable as the tumour spreads, though, including:

  • Lameness in one or more limbs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the joints
  • Swelling or mass, particularly in the ribs, jaw or skull 
  • Seizures or wobbly gait if the cancer is in the spine or skull.
  • Difficulty in the opening mouth or chewing if the cancer is in the jaw.
  • Difficulty in breathing if the cancer is in the rib.
  • As the tumour metastasizes, it weakens the bones and could lead to breaks and fractures.
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Contact your vet as soon as you become aware of any of these symptoms in your pet. Since the tumour is highly aggressive, the sooner you treat it, the better your dog’s prospects for survival will be.

Is osteosarcoma a common condition in dogs?

Osteosarcoma accounts for up to 95% of all occurrences of canine bone cancer and is one of the most frequent subtypes of bone tumours in both humans and dogs. Fibrosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, and Hemangiosarcoma are further forms of bone cancer. In dogs, the prevalence of osteosarcoma is 27% higher than in humans.

Is osteosarcoma hereditary?

Since genetic risk factors may raise dogs’ chances of having the terrifying condition, osteosarcoma, it is possible that the disease is inherited in dogs.

Dogs that are neutered or sprayed before turning a year old, as well as male dogs, are more likely than female dogs to acquire osteosarcoma. Young dogs between 18 and 24 months old and elderly dogs between 6 and 9 years old are more likely to contract the condition.

What dog breeds are more prone to osteosarcoma?

In enormous and giant-sized canines, there seems to be a genetic risk factor. The following breeds have been found to be at higher risk for developing bone cancer than other breeds. They comprise:

Doberman Pinschers, Irish Wolfhounds, Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, and Weimaraners are some examples of breeds.

Treatment of osteosarcoma in dogs

Depending on where the osteosarcoma is located and where it has spread in your dog’s body, it will be treated accordingly.

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Due to the aggressiveness of the malignancy, a veterinarian will probably advise amputation if the tumour is in a limb. Dogs can manage just fine on three legs, despite the fact that it may seem like a pretty severe step. Chemotherapy is then administered right after amputation to assist the animal live longer.

Stereotactic radiotherapy may be helpful if a surgical approach is not an option due to the tumour’s position. If cancer has not yet spread to a considerable amount of the bone, this might be a viable alternative to amputation in cases with early-stage osteosarcoma.

Palliative care is also utilized to make a dog’s final days or weeks more comfortable, specifically through the appropriate use of painkillers, nutritional modifications, and socialization. For pain treatment, it may also incorporate conventional radiation therapy.

Recovery from osteosarcoma treatment

Your dog may have a greater chance of surviving osteosarcoma if it is discovered early. The likelihood of survival is reduced if the tumour has spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, or other organs.

If they get chemotherapy and stereotactic radiotherapy, dogs with osteosarcoma typically have a life expectancy of around a year. For pets treated with amputation followed by chemotherapy, the osteosarcoma survival time is comparable.

In comparison, dogs can typically live with cancer for three months with just amputation. 15% to 30% of canines can expect to live for two years on average. In lieu of seeking treatment, parents determine that euthanasia is the most compassionate course of action.

In conclusion, treating osteosarcoma in your dog might cost up to $10000. Although there are a number of factors that could affect the cost, including the location of the tumour, the extent of its spread, your dog’s size, and the amount of chemotherapy your dog may require.

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It is essential to take up a pet insurance plan while your dog is still healthy if your dog breed is prone to cancer to be on the safe side in the event that any medical difficulties should arise.

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