Sunday, November 1, 2009

Canine Osteosarcoma

Canine osteosarcoma

Canine osteosarcoma usually appears in large dogs, often in the legs. Sometimes the tumor originates in a place where an earlier injury occurred. Warning signs include limping, especially progressive lameness, and swelling. The cancer weakens and destroys the bone as it progresses, which can sometimes result in fractures.

This is a primary tumor, which means that the cancer originates in the bone and then moves elsewhere in the body. It is extremely aggressive. The cancerous cells tend to metastasize first to blood-rich cells, such as those present in the lungs. Frequently, by the time the dog manifests visible symptoms, such as limping or swelling, the cancer has already spread. Repeated coughing is a sign that it may have invaded the dog's lungs. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The traditional surgical option is amputation, but recently a few universities have been performing limb-sparing procedures. This usually involves removing the tumor and strengthening the limb with a bone graft. Whatever surgical option is chosen, it must be combined with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy in order to be effective. This is because surgery removes the main tumor, but if the cancer has metastasized to the lungs or spread elsewhere in the bones, it will only continue to advance.


Canine osteosarcoma

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