Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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Bone Cancer Pain: New Ideas

Many who love a dog with bone cancer need information to make sure pain is managed.  Bone cancers are often very painful.  Since life quality is so essential for us when making medical choices, we need to always control pain.

Bone cancer is often first noticed as a limp.  Many times I have had a dog lover tell me they were worried about arthritis or a sprain, and the diagnosis turned out to be osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, or other bone cancer.  This is one reason why it is so critical to get an X-ray done, especially if you have a large breed dog, being more prone to bone cancers.

A new cutting edge treatment for bone cancer pain in dogs is a drug approved for use in humans called Quadramet.  It is given as an injection during a hospital stay.  Quadramet, also called Samarium- 153-EDTMP, slows the breakdown of bone.  In doing so, it helps alleviate pain.

A number of studies have been done.  Most show that this treatment helps roughly 60 or 70% of dogs with bone cancer pain. Here is one of the studies for your review.

Quadramet does have some risks, but they appear to be manageable at this time.  The drug does tend to suppress the bone marrow, although temporarily. This means that cells like platelets (which help control bleeding) and white blood cells (which fight infection), decrease in numbers.

The good news is that at the doses of Quadramet being used currently, these side effects tend to resolve all by themselves.

The use of this therapy to help with pain is very new, and availability may be limited.  Research has been done at the University of Missouri and at the University of Washington.

Not many veterinarians in private practice will have heard of Quadramet or Samarium- 153-EDTMP.  However, oncologists will have likely heard of it or may use it.  Most using Quadramet will be at advanced veterinary facilities.

As usual, I encourage you to be your dog’s primary health care advocate, and get the info you need!

For more information, click on The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

All my best,

Dr. D

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM

Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity.



  • doggiehowser

    chronic pain narcotic opioids are effective but very dangerous, should be taken with moderation and prescribed by a doctor, medicines like hydrocodone, lortab, vicodin, norco, percocet, oxycontin, are even more commercial and very helpful to people with diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s, arthritis, should be restricted and controlled as in findrxonline said that the FDA does not permit free marketing for them.

  • Pingback: How Cancer Medication For Dogs - GoHealthy()

  • Bob Richards

    Quadramet is not a narcotic. It is a radioisotope with a 46 day half-life.
    I am now trying to locate a veterinary or university to get this for my 13 year old boxer. The effects last 3-4months and currently used on folks at end stage cancer and only as a palliative. But… studies are underway to investigate use in therapy ad indications are I early stage, the quadramets can affect surface proteins of cancer cells in manner which allows immune system to recognize cancer cells as foreign bodies. And… the body’s white blood cells then begin to attack and destroy the cancer cells.
    Promising but too late for my boxer. I am just looking for the palliative effect.
    How about it Doc, where do I go in Virginia for Quadramets for my Boxer?
    Thank you.

  • http://www.ChristinaChambreau.com Dr. Chambreau

    Many of the holistic options can help ease the pain of cancer, and sometimes can even slow the progress and buy weeks to years of quality time.

    Acupuncture and homeopathy should be done by a person really well trained to look at all symptoms, not just the pain. When you are selecting one, ask what information they need. If only the “disease”, they probably do not have this more curative and effective approach.

    You can learn reiki (from local healers/teachers, or even on-line) and it is excellent for pain relief.
    Other modalities such as flower essences (Rescue Remedy and more), lasers and HTA can be useful.

    Keep enjoying every moment. Check out http://www.BrightHaven.org for some incredible stories of animals with and without cancer – living into their 30s.

  • Robert Smith

    dog food preservatives can be inorganic phosphates,, salts, that are stored in the bone marrow. I’ve seen a couple of research papers showing that :

    1. breast cancer stem cells were originating in the bone marrow,, thought this was interesting.
    2. that inorganic phosphates activate the AKT cancer pathway.

    so the phosphate is stored in the marrow and the phophate activates perhaps these stem cells that result in the cancer.

    It appears that even dogfood needs to be made and consumed locally. The preservatives that allow long shelf life and distant deliveries, kill us and our dogs.