Dog Bone Cancer

The most common form of dog bone cancer is osteosarcoma. It makes up roughly 90 percent of all cases of bone cancer in dogs.

In the grand scheme of things, however, osteosarcoma is a rather rare type of cancer in a dog. Of all the known cases of cancer in dog breeds, osteosarcoma only makes up about five percent.

This rarity can be seen, as a bit of a double-edged sword, though; when an illness doesn't really occur much, there often isn't much knowledge about how to properly prevent or combat it. Osteosarcoma is no different, with this type of dog bone cancer being incredibly dangerous due to its sheer obscurity.

Osteosarcoma starts off as a tumor that grows in the tissue of the infected dog's bone. It can potentially affect any bone in the body—however, it's generally more common for this type of dog cancer to target the animal's shoulders, wrists and knees.

There have been numerous cases of the disease affecting parts of the axial skeleton as well, which includes the dog's ribs, spinal column and cranium. When the illness affects the limbs, it is known as appendicular osteosarcoma, and this type of osteosarcoma accounts for 75 to 85 percent of all cases of dog bone cancer.

The tumor spreads throughout the bone, gradually eating away at it from the inside out. The tissue is destroyed and transformed into tumorous matter, until finally the dog is rendered lame. This process can last for a period of up to several weeks, and a significant amount of swelling will become apparent around the infected area.

The bone will become very fragile after the tumor has spread, and will fracture with even the most minor injury.

Tumorous bone will not heal once it has been broken, so a dog with osteosarcoma runs the risk of potentially being crippled for the rest of its life.

While it's important to have osteosarcoma treated as soon as possible, the unfortunate truth is that most of the time, this disease isn't even diagnosed until after the tumor has had time to reach the metastatic stage.

When this happens, the dog cancer can spread to other areas of the body, including the lungs and other bones. There have been cases of osteosarcoma tumors affecting the dog's lymph nodes as well.

As of yet, there isn't any known way of preventing osteosarcoma. Many people think that the disease is simply hereditary in nature. We do know that dogs of certain types are more likely to contract the illness than others; osteosarcoma mostly tends to affect really big dogs, such as Great Danes, St. Bernard's and Irish wolfhounds. Dogs that are below 75 or 80 pounds are usually safe from this kind of cancer, but there have been some rare cases of it occurring in smaller breeds too.

Dog Bone Cancer to Types of Dog Cancer