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.
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.
Check out Chapter 17 of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide for more helpful information on pain and pain management for your dog with cancer
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. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.