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Bone cancer in dogs is recognized as "Osteosarcoma". Any dog can become the victim of this deadly disease. Although many theories have been presented in order to explain the cause of cancer, yet the real cause has not been determined so far. This type of cancer usually occurs in a dog's ankle, hip, shoulder bones, skull, ribs or spine.
The tumor weakens the bone to the point that it can break easily while jumping or even running. It goes without saying that this type of cancer is very aggressive in nature. The best strategy against this vicious disease is awareness amongst the dog owners about it. Secondly, early diagnosis is very crucial. Only timely treatment can save the poor dog.
The original cause of Osteosarcoma is still unknown yet there are a few factors which may contribute to trigger this disease. Diet always plays a crucial role in determining the health of any animal. Exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, past bone injuries and sex hormones are thought to contribute in triggering the disease.
The most important and common sign of osteosarcoma is frailty and weakness. The weakness spells will continue to occur despite rest and good care. You might spot swelling in the affected leg too. If the cancer has affected the lower jaw, then your dog will show signs of uneasiness in swallowing. These symptoms shouldn't be considered cancer signs, but one can get clue form these and get an appointment from the veterinarian to ensure the health of the dog.
The basic and most important tests are histopathology and radiography to diagnose osteosarcoma. Bone biopsy poses risks as it can cause damage to the already fragile cancerous bone. It is a painful process as dogs show signs of increased weakness and exhaustion after the procedure.
The diagnosis process also involves blood tests in order to determine the scale and intensity of the disease.
Osteosarcoma is being treated with an aggressive treatment because the cancer itself is very aggressive in nature.
The purpose of radiation therapy is to provide relief to pain rather than curing the cancer. It helps in minimizing the symptoms when used in conjunction with pain medications. The procedure involves anesthesia, which may pose some risks to the dog.
Radiation may also cause hair loss, skin redness and dryness, where the radiation has been applied. The veterinarian may suggest to apply a tube to the affected area, and symptoms will vanish.
Three different types of treatments are also applied to eradicate bone cancer in dogs from its roots. It includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Although the tumor may be removed completely yet the affected leg remains vulnerable and can break while doing normal activities. So, amputation is also considered a better option as it is less painful procedure where recovery is quite quick.
Amputation saves the dog from a lot of pain and increases the chances of survival manifold. Most dog owners consider it brutal. They forget that it is in the best interest of their dog who will not only recover faster, but also will be able to play around without any difficulty. Amputations in humans hold different meanings than dogs. The dog won't feel the same way as humans feel after losing a limb.