Cancer is a scary concept, whether it’s affecting people or animals. There are several treatment options to consider if your dog is suspected to have, or has been diagnosed with, osteosarcoma. Understanding your dog’s specific needs and risks starts through a discussion with your primary veterinarian and your dog’s board-certified veterinary surgeon. This will ensure your dog receives the best treatment and the best prognosis.
What is Osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is a tumor of the bone. It presents most commonly in the limbs, though it can present in other areas of the body. This cancer is often aggressive, metastasizing quickly and spreading to other areas of the body. Diagnosis starts with an x-ray of the suspicious area and may move to biopsy for confirmation. The next steps consist of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgical intervention.
Amputation as a Solution
Osteosarcoma of a limb is most commonly and most effectively remedied through amputation of the affected limb coupled with chemotherapy. If caught early, this can halt the progression of cancer and offer an exceptional prognosis for the remainder of the dog’s life. Dogs tend to recover from amputation surgery quickly without noticeable damage to their mental health.
Amputation as a Risk
Amputation is not the right solution for every dog, so a certain level of risk assessment needs to happen to make sure a dog is suited for this treatment. Dogs with moderate to severe arthritis are often not considered for amputation therapy. Their limb joints cause daily pain even with management, so supporting their weight on only three arthritic limbs is not a good option for quality of life. Neurological disorders also often disqualify a dog for limb amputation.
Treatment for Amputation Risk Patients
A limb-sparing operation might be an option for dogs that are not suitable candidates for amputation. This is an involved surgery that is focused on removing the tumor, along with the surrounding tissue, and implanting a metal plate while fusing the wrist joint for stabilization of the limb. If this is still not an option, palliative therapy is usually recommended.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.