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Bone Cancer

Bone cancer (osteosarcoma or OSA) is a malignant tumour which usually affects the limb bones. Unfortunately, by the time a dog has symptoms the cancer has often already metastasised, most commonly to the lungs. It is listed as the cause of death of approximately 20-24% of Wolfhounds.

The causes of OSA are poorly understood, but are likely to be both polygenic (an inherited tendency) and environmental. Areas of previous injury or infection may be more prone to the disease.
The initial symptom is usually lameness, sometimes with swelling at the tumour site. The diagnosis is usually made by the primary care vet on physical examination and x-rays. Bone biopsy gives a definite diagnosis but there is a risk of complications.

Treatment options range from simple pain relief to chemotherapy and amputation, but regardless of  treatment few dogs survive for more than two years after diagnosis.

On a more positive note, the IWHG has two ongoing studies into OSA with the Animal Health Trust and the University of Nottingham. We are hopeful that these will lead to better understanding and management of the disease.
Canine Cancer website
Davies Referrals
Fitzpatrick Referrals
Purdue University
Palliative Treatment
Vaccine research
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