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Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, is a serious pet health concern and makes up about five percent of all tumors in dogs. This form of cancer is most common in senior and large-breed dogs. While it can occur in small breed canines and cats, it is about 60 times more likely to develop in canines weighing 80 pounds or more.

How Osteosarcoma Affects Your Pet

Osteosarcoma can become quite painful for your pet as its bone is destroyed by the growing tumor. If the condition affects your pet's limbs, it will exhibit varying degrees of lameness that will become constant over time. On the other hand, if the cancer affects your pet's jaw, it will have difficulty opening and closing its mouth. While surgery can help in some situations, amputation may be the only option. Not only does the condition, itself, cause pain for your pet, but cancer treatments can be very painful as well. If this pain is not treated properly, your pet's immune system could have a difficult time healing injuries and fighting off any illnesses unrelated to the cancer.

Common Symptoms of Osteosarcoma

The symptoms of osteosarcoma on pets depend upon where the tumors develop and they are typically localized to those areas. While most of these tumors occur on a dog's legs, they do occasionally develop along the jaw. As such, your pet may only exhibit one or two of the following signs. Common Symptoms of Osteosarcoma in Pets: Swelling of the Bone/Jaw, Joint Discomfort/Pain, Lameness, Bones That Fracture Easily, Difficulty Opening and Closing the Mouth, Difficulty Chewing, Nasal Discharge and Neurological Problems.

Treatments for Osteosarcoma

Treatment for osteosarcoma will vary as well depending on your pet's unique condition. However, there are several common treatment options including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. If surgery is necessary, prognosis is generally quite good, and the procedure may involve complete amputation or removal of the tumor if possible. The sole purpose of radiation therapy on pets is to relieve the discomfort and pain associated with osteosarcoma. Chemotherapy, on the other hand, is used to kill cancer cells, especially following surgery or amputation. Common agents that your veterinarian may use during chemotherapy include cisplatin, lobaplatin, carboplatin, OPLA-PT and doxorubicin.

Breeds Affected

Osteosarcoma mainly affects senior and large-breed canines. The condition seldom occurs in smaller breeds or cats. Additionally, it seems to occur more often in males than in females. While all large-dogs may develop osteosarcoma, the following breeds are the most vulnerable: Great Danes, Weimaraners, Saint Bernards, Dobermans, Great Pyrenees, Shepherd Breeds, Newfoundlands, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Irish Wolfhounds and Rottweilers.

Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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