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Osteosarcoma in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Osteosarcoma in dogs is the most common form of Bone Cancers,

And like any cancer it is a terrible disease that will leave your poor pup in pain. It is considered to be one of the most aggressive types of Sarcoma that exist, and tumors caused by this horrible disease spread even to parts of the body that are boneless.


It spreads quickly, kills any bone it grows on and moves on to a new site, leaving dogs lame or worse if it goes undiagnosed.

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss what to look for when deal with osteosarcoma in dogs because, early detection and immediate treatment are typically the way that this cancer can be beaten, otherwise it is highly likely that you will lose your beloved pet.


Let’s take a closer look at this condition and find out what it is, what it does and most importantly, how you can go about helping your pup to beat the odds.

What is Osteosarcoma and what does it do?

Osteosarcoma occurs when the body starts to produce too many Osteocytes. These are basically the cells that are used to grow bone. When the immune system starts to produce too many of these in the one area cancer cells are produced, causing Osteosarcoma.

This cancer is…

Attached to the bone initially, but can spread to other parts of the body. When the osteocyte tumor is growing it will use up all of the nutritional resources of that section of bone, leaving it to die as the primary tumor moves on to a new location. This bone will…

Then likely suffer from what is called a pathological fracture. From there, if left untreated, the cancer cells will likely spread to other areas of your pet’s body, thereby decreasing his or her likelihood of surviving significantly.  This again is why early detection and treatment is so important.

Now it is believed…

That many giant breeds are inclined to Osteosarcoma and that the disease is spread genetically. However, the precise genetic sequence in which it is written is unknown, making it difficult to prevent and thus extinguish.

As a result…

The median survival rates for this disease are not good even with treatment, however like many other diseases advancements are continually being made so one never knows what the future holds.

Clinical Signs of Osteosarcoma

Clinical signs of this disease include:

  • Lameness in one or more limbs,
  • Distal radius fractures or proximal humerus fractures,
  • Pain and swelling in the joints,
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite.

Your pet may be in pain in all legs or simply in one. The inflammation and irritation may be present in only one leg or in all four, in the elbow or the hip socket and possibly in the soft tissue as well. This is why the survival rates for this condition are not good.

Affected Breeds

As we mentioned before there are certain giant breed dogs that are predisposed genetically towards this condition. There are other known breeds and this type of cancer can be detected in mixed breed dogs too, although the occurrence is rarer.

Breeds known to be affected are:

Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs are also known to be at risk, but any breed of dog can develop bone cancer.

It is important to…

Look out for the signs and have your pet regularly checked by the vet, especially as they grow older and become more at risk of disease.

Treatment Options

This is an aggressive set of tumors that will need limb-sparing surgery straight away. Veterinary medicine has come a long way in the last few years and it is possible to save your pet.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are…

Also prescribed in some cases, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs. Your veterinarian may want to do a bone biopsy to look for tumor cells or even do a chest X-ray to look for evidence of cancer in the lungs. If they find it this usually means that the cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes and amputation will no longer solve the problem alone.


It is possible that limb amputation is the only answer, in which case Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may well be prescribed in the aftermath. In almost all cases immediate surgery is the treatment, and it may well save your dog. Your vet should be able to talk you through everything you need to know about your surgical options and make you fully aware of any and all risks.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have Osteosarcoma (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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