This week’s episode of Dog Cancer Answers features Dr. Demian Dressler, author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. It’s prompted by a common question we get here at Dog Cancer Vet:
My veterinarian says that my dog has osteosarcoma, even though he didn’t do a biopsy. And he wants to amputate! How could he suggest an amputation without a confirmed bone cancer diagnosis?? Shouldn’t we get a biopsy before even considering something as extreme as amputation??
That excellent questions prompts a higher-level discussion about dog bone cancer symptoms, amputation, and other osteosarcoma treatments for dogs.
Dr. Dressler points out that X-rays show very specific patterns when a bone tumor is present. When a veterinarian sees that shape in a bone, there really aren’t many things it could be. The vast majority of the time, it’s cancer, and no, no bone biopsy is needed.
The risk of pathological fracture is high with dogs with bone cancer. Bone tumors weaken bones to the point where they could break just because your dog stepped off a curb, or went up some steps.
Those breaks can be very dangerous, extremely painful, and life threatening.
So veterinarians like to immediately remove the limb in order to:
- Reduce the intense pain bone tumors cause. (Yes, always. If your dog is limping, your dog is in pain.)
- Reduce the number of cancer cells in the body.
- Prevent the life-threatening possibility of a pathological fracture.
Dr. Dressler also explains why there are SO MANY other treatments for osteosarcoma. It’s not what you might think!
You can read the transcript on the episode page on the Dog Cancer Answers website.
Here’s the video version of this podcast:
Other Articles and Podcasts About Bone Cancer
There are many articles on this site about osteosarcoma and bone cancer. Here’s a link to those articles:
Tripawds is a fantastic resource for anyone facing osteosarcoma, bone cancer, and amputation. Here’s a link to their super-helpful site: Help for Three Legged Dogs and Cats (tripawds.org)
And you really need to hear the Dog Cancer Answers episode with Rene Agredano and Jim Nelson of Tripawds:
PS: Feel free to share this article or the podcast itself with your veterinarian and their staff.
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Molly Jacobson is a writer and also the editor of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, published by Maui Media. A lifelong dog lover and self-professed dog health nerd, she is all too familiar with dog cancer. She has been supporting readers of this blog since the beginning. Molly earned a BA from Tufts University, and after a career in bookselling and book publishing attended The Swedish Institute to become a licensed massage therapist in New York State, licensed by the medical board. Her fascination with health is both personal and global, and she is most proud of how this site and the associated publications have revolutionized not only our approach to dog health, but our own health.