As a dog owner, it's important to be aware of bone cancer, also known as osteosarcoma. Our Gaithersburg vets are here to guide you on recognizing the signs of bone cancer in your furry friend and when it's time to seek professional assistance from your vet.
Bone Cancer in Dogs
Dogs are prone to developing osteosarcoma, which is the most prevalent form of primary bone cancer and comprises over 95% of all bone tumors. The malignant and aberrant proliferation of immature bone cells characterizes this illness.
Osteosarcoma has the potential to spread throughout the body, causing various health problems and potentially leading to death. However, if identified early, surgery could be a viable option for removing the cancerous limb, providing a chance for survival.
If your dog is showing signs of bone cancer, book an appointment with 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
Osteosarcoma is a grave condition and the indications of bone cancer can be difficult to detect, especially during the initial phases. It is common for bone cancer to manifest in a dog's front legs, but it can also affect their jaw, facial bones, vertebrae, ribs, and rear legs.
Symptoms of bone cancer can include:
- Indications of severe pain
- Swelling in the ribs, spine, legs, or jaw
- Loss of appetite
- Growth of a mass on the dog's body
- Respiratory distress
- Lethargy or weakness
- Limping or lameness
- Discharge from the nostrils
When to See Your Vet if You Suspect Your Dog Has Bone Cancer
It's crucial to be vigilant regarding bone cancer symptoms in your dog, as this condition can rapidly spread to other organs and lead to fatal outcomes like respiratory distress and loss of appetite. Thus, closely monitoring your dog's overall health is essential, and if you detect any of the listed symptoms, it's best to schedule an appointment with your vet right away, even if they seem mild.
Treatment & Prognosis of Bone Cancer in Dogs
Every dog is different and there are numerous factors such as age, weight, and where the tumor is located, which will influence your dog's prognosis. If your dog is diagnosed with osteosarcom your vet 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 may live for another 1 - 6 years. Unfortunately a bone cancer diagnosis is never an easy journey and often proves fatal even when treated with surgery and therapy.
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