Symptoms of Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma) in Dogs
The most common clinical signs of dogs with bone cancer are a progressive painful lameness and swelling of the affected limb. While the lameness may be intermittent initially, it often gradually progresses over 1-2 months. With advanced cases, secondary fracture of the underlying bone is possible as well. Other symptoms depend on other areas of involvement and may include nasal discharge, difficulty eating and drinking, and neurological signs.
Diagnosis of Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma) in Dogs
Physical exams and X-rays are most commonly used to make a tentative diagnosis of bone cancer, as most pets will present at an advanced stage with swelling and tenderness of the underlying bone, as well as having characteristic destructive bone changes apparent on X-rays. While history, physical exam, and X-rays often suggest a diagnosis of bone cancer, bone biopsy is the only way of truly confirming diagnosis, and differentiating primary bone tumors from other cancer types. Since bone cancer is often spread to the lungs, it is important to have a chest X-ray on any pet diagnosed with osteosarcoma. CT scans and/or MRIs also may be indicated depending on the primary location of the cancer.