A devastating illness that hits 8,000 to 10,000 pets per year, the early symptoms can be subtle and hard to recognize. Pay close attention as your pet grows older, especially if he falls into one of these high risk breeds. Plus, what to do if you can’t or won’t do surgery.
Osteosarcoma is a very aggressive cancer of the bone that unfortunately tends to spread rapidly (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Osteosarcoma is rare in cats, but is diagnosed in 8,000 to 10,000 dogs each year in the US, and accounts for about 85 percent of all canine bone tumors.
Dogs At Highest Risk for Osteosarcoma
Breeds at highest risk for osteosarcoma include the:
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
- Irish Setter
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
Environmental factors that can increase risk include:
- Rapid growth in large and giant breed puppies
- Gender (males are at 20 to 50 percent increased risk)
- Placement of metallic implants to repair fractures
- Spaying or neutering at an early age
- Possibly trauma to the bones, especially blunt bone injuries
- intermittent lameness
- joint or bone pain
- loss of appetite
Because a bone with a cancerous tumor isn’t as strong as a normal bone, even a minor injury can cause a pathologic fracture of the weakened bone.
In cats, the nasal bones are occasionally affected by this type of tumor, which can cause nasal discharge and breathing problems.
On an X-ray, osteosarcoma has a characteristic lytic or “moth-eaten” appearance. A fine-needle aspirate or bone biopsy of suspicious areas must be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Since up to 90 percent of osteosarcoma tumors have spread to the lungs by the time the disease is diagnosed, computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are also often used to better assess lung involvement and to evaluate a pet’s overall condition in more detail.
Radiation therapy, which is used strictly as a palliative treatment to relieve bone pain and discomfort, may also be prescribed along with pain medications.
Survival times of about 1 year are achieved in 50 percent of dogs with osteosarcoma that undergo amputation of the affected limb, followed by chemotherapy. However, some dogs have actually survived 5 to 6 years after diagnosis.
Unfortunately, osteosarcoma has a poor prognosis. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and extend quantity and quality of life for as long as possible
I follow veterinarian and naturopathic physician Dr. Steve Marsden’s protocol for my patients whose guardians choose not to pursue surgery.
His protocol involves using the injectable form of vitamins A and D, bromelain, omega-3 fatty acids, and a blend of herbs called the Hoxsey Formula with boneset.
I have also found using Chinese herbs in conjunction with Dr. Marsden’s protocol to be beneficial.
|Herbs for Pets, by herbalists and holistic experts Gregory L. Tilford and Mary L. Wulff, is the bible for all pet owners looking to enhance their companion animals’ lives through natural therapies.|
I really feel that this protocol in combination with eliminating all processed foods and reducing carbohydrate intake is important for cancer patients and can give them good quality of life for the time they have left.
Written by Dr. Karen Becker
Images submitted by PNM
Pet owners are increasingly giving this to their pet and they DO feel better and often their lives are saved…Read more here.