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Osteosarcoma In Dogs


allergies in dogs

Osteosarcoma in Dogs–The Background



The first thing that we’re going to tell you is that you are not alone.  Here at NaturalPet.Health, we can help you — so let’s get started.

Osteosarcomas are the most common type of bone cancer in dogs.  They are most common in large and giant breeds of dogs, especially Great Danes and some Retriever breeds.





    Osteosarcoma in dogs

    What are the Symptoms of Osteosarcoma in Dogs?


    • Progressive pain and lameness
    • A growing and hard swelling of the leg bone
    • Common sites: the shoulder and just above the wrist on the forelimbs, and around the knee in the hindlimbs.
    • Can also occur wherever the bone has been chronically irritated — dental disease, areas of old fractures or surgery.


    How Do We Diagnose Osteosarcoma in Dogs?

    • Palpation of the suspected mass is pretty suggestive– A growing, painful, hard mass affecting the limb.
    • Confirmation requires radiographs of the affected bone
    • Fungal diseases like Valley Fever can mimic bone cancer, so if you live in an endemic area you should consider fungal blood titers for your pet.
    • For absolute diagnosis, a bone biopsy of the affected area
    • As the cancer progresses, it frequently travels to the lungs and so chest films are also a good idea.



    natural ways to slow osteosarcoma and prolong your pet’s comfort

    Osteosarcoma in Dogs–Holistic Therapy


    Listen, there are no good studies supporting the use of integrative therapy to help dogs fight osteosarcoma.  Never have been, never well be… because the funding just isn’t there.  However, that does not mean that such therapy has no benefit for our dogs in their journey through cancer.

    • Our bias toward integrative therapy for canine osteosarcoma includes these facts:
    • Barring the occasional miracle, there is no medical cure for osteosarcoma
    • There is VERY solid evidence supporting the use of integrative therapy in humans (see below)
    • If we can benefit our dogs in their fight against cancer… in any way… without side effects, then we should.

    HERE ARE FIVE NATURAL WAYS TO FIGHT OSTEOSARCOMA IN DOGS– Each proven in multiple osteosarcoma studies, as listed on  These are listed in order of proven benefit, and we can help you source every one of them.

    Do your own research.  Here are two good resources on natural therapies for osteosarcoma. and




    The Standard Recommendations

    Osteosarcoma in Dogs– Traditional Therapy


    You must understand that osteosarcoma is generally NOT curable, and our goal with therapy is to maintain quality of life for as long as possible.

        •  NSAIDs like Rimadyl, Deramaxx, or Metacam
        • Opiates like hydromorphone. 
        • Adjunct pain relievers: Gabapentin, Tramadol
        • Acupuncture 
      • AMPUTATION of the affected limb may help to reduce pain over the intermediate term.  Note that this will generally NOT CURE osteosarcoma — our goal is simply to reduce tumor pain for weeks to short months.  However, it will NOT prevent spread to the lungs and can create significant problems for dogs with spinal issues or pain in other legs.  LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS!!
      • CHEMOTHERAPY with injectable CARBOPLATIN or DOXORUBICIN.  Using either carboplatin or doxorubicin injections along with limb amputation has yielded median survival times ranging from 262



    Osteosarcoma in dogs

    promising new thoughts

    Osteosarcoma in Dogs– New Treatments.


    • BISPHOSPHANATE TREATMENT — Similar to Boniva in humans, these injections reduce bone destruction by the tumor and thus prolong quality of life.  These can be given intravenously by your regular veterinarian.  The most common of these is a drug called Zoledronate, which your vet can order in from Diamondback Pharmacy.
    • RAPAMYCIN given orally at home both kills tumor cells and minimizes tumor spread.
    • A NEW OSTEOSARCOMA VACCINE is being developed.
    • LIMB-SPARING SURGERY removes just the affected area of bone and typically replaces that diseased bone with metal implants to allow weight bearing.  This is a very specialized procedure performed by referral surgical centers.
    • STEREOTACTIC RADIATION treats the tumor itself with high dose radiation and can prolong your pet’s quality of life.  It requires sedation and can only be performed at specialty clinics or universities.  HERE IS A LIST OF CANCER SPECIALISTS NEAR YOU.





    Want Some Help With Osteosarcoma?   Let’s Get Started. 

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    Kevin Toman, DVM