About Bone Cancer in Dogs

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Bone cancer is fairly common in larger breeds of dogs, and this is usually due to the trauma that the bones go through. Learn about osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, with help from a staff veterinarian in this free video on dog health and pet care.

Part of the Video Series: Dog & Cat Diseases
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Video Transcript

Let's talk about bone cancer in dogs. Bone cancer is fairly common especially in larger breeds. It's more associated with giant breeds than any other and it's generally we think because their bones go through so much trauma and there's a genetic propensity for that too we think. Bone cancers are not limited to one type of cancer, there are several coming from the cartilage, coming the bone itself, the joints surroundings, the sort of thing. But the most common that is seen is the bone cancer osteosarcoma. This type of bone cancer is aggressive. It usually occurs in the long bones and it is typically seen in giant breeds like I said and also it can be seen at a site that has had an old injury or an old fracture. The thought is that chronic stimulation or inflammation at that area of injury creates a more propensity to have a mutated bone cell that becomes osteosarcoma. Treatment is difficult on these animals and so the best treatment for most of them is literally amputation of that limb affected along with chemotherapy. Other types of therapies that can be done on these animals is limb sparing which is where the actual tumor is removed from that leg and a new piece of bone is put in there and so that's not right for every single patient that is seen for this and so you have to check with your veterinarian first. If you think that there is a problem you obviously need to seek your veterinarian's counsel about that bone cancer usually when it occurs is very painful and usually there is swelling at that joint space or where that bone cancer is. About 8,000 animals are diagnosed or more with bone cancer every year and so it is a fairly common and unfortunately outcome isn't always rewarding because it is an aggressive cancer. What you need to look for long term is going to be metastasis or spreading to the lung tissue, that's a very common thing that goes along with bone cancer and that actually is one of the major reasons that those animals actually die from the cancer.

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