Image Credit - Wikimedia.org/
Bone cancer in your dog can be quite a challenge to overcome. Large breeds are more prone to bone cancer. The uncontrolled cell growth that is associated with the condition can turn metastatic and start attacking other organ systems in the dog’s body. Usually when a cell becomes cancerous due to a change in its physiology, function or structure, the neighboring cells end up consuming the rogue cells. In rare cases, a mutated cell can survive the process of modification and end up reproducing more cells like it.If your dog has metastatic bone cancer, there is a good chance that the cells will break away, hitchhike through the dog’s bloodstream and lymphatic system and create havoc. Cancerous cells tend to grow faster and multiply at abnormal rates. A single neoplastic cell can end up creating more like itself and crowd out all the surrounding tissues. In the case of bone cancer, there are four distinct cell lines which can evolve into a neoplastic condition:
- Osteosarcoma – This causes over 80 percent of all the bone cancers and arises from cells which deposit bony minerals. They invade the surrounding cells aggressively and grow rapidly, making them a deadly threat.
- Chondrosarcoma – This tumor arises from the cartilage surfaces at the end of bones. Although not as aggressive as osteosarcoma, they can cause a lot of pain.
- Fibrosarcoma – They originate from the fibrous connective tissue found next to the bone. They are locally invasive and have a very low tendency to spread to other tissue systems.
- Synovial cell sarcoma – They originate from the tissues of the joint and tend to invade the bone associated with it. They are much less aggressive than osteosarcomas.
If your dog has bone cancer, you can make a definitive diagnosis of the condition with the help of a bone biopsy. A veterinary pathologist will evaluate the sample under a microscope to classify the extent of malignancy and the possibility of metastasis. Like we said, neoplastic cells can be easily carried by the lymph and blood from the original site to distant tissues. When neoplasia occurs, the ill effects multiply at a remarkable rate as it is not just one organ tissue that is affected.The first sign of bone cancer in your dog will be lameness. Unfortunately, not many pet owners think that it is worthy of serious attention. And you can’t really blame them. That is why it is important to schedule regular vet visits for your dog so that you can catch potentially life-threatening conditions early on. The earlier they are caught, the better they can be treated. Chemotherapy is the most common form of treatment although the protocols vary depending on a number of factors like the dog’s health, kidney function, heart function and more. In certain cases, the affected bone has to be amputated. Although the measure sounds drastic, most of the canine amputees respond and adapt very quickly.