Bone cancer (Osteosarcoma) is the most common primary bone tumour in dogs. It usually affects the long bones in the limbs of large and giant breed dogs.
The most common sites are distal radius, proximal humerus, distal femur & proximal tibia. Rarely does it affect other bone areas.
This tumour mainly affects male dogs from mid-life to old age.
Clinical signs are usually related to pain at the cancer site. So lameness, swelling & lethargy are commonly seen. Rarely there is a history of fracture repair at the site.
Diagnosis is usually by taking x-rays of the affected limb with the typical areas of bone loss (lysis of bone due to tumour invasion) and bone proliferation (new bone produced by the tumour pressing on the bone periosteum). Soft tissue around the tumour is often very swollen.
The radiographic changes are so pronounced that often no further investigation is required. Many of these tumours spread rapidly to the lungs. Biopsy of affected bone can be done to confirm a diagnosis, especially at the time of surgery if amputation is performed.
The prognosis is very guarded to poor with many patients having survival times measured by the week or month after diagnosis.
Treatment options include:
- Limb amputation to help control pain
- Integrated pain management including Meloxicam and Tramadol
- Euthanasia at any time is a valid treatment option.