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Vet Talks: Bone Cancer in Dogs – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Vet Talks 2 min read
bone cancer in dogs

What is Bone Cancer in Dogs

My own dog, Sugar; the love of my life through many years and vet school, succumbed to bone cancer. Unfortunately, it involved her hip, and was completely inoperable. She had had many surgeries – both elbows, both knees, for other reasons, and I couldn’t fix this one. She lived only 4 months past diagnosis, but her life was comfortable, full of love and her favorite things.

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor found in dogs. It usually occurs in middle aged or elderly large and giant breeds but can occur in any breed, with larger breeds tending to develop this tumor at younger ages. It is a malignant tumor that can develop in any bone, but most commonly occurs in bones around the shoulder, wrist and knee. This tumor can also affect the skull, spinal column and ribs less commonly.

This tumor is highly aggressive and metastatic in nature, over 90% of clinically clinically significant osteosarcomas have already micrometastasized by the time of diagnosis.


Lameness, swelling, and limping. Tumorous bone is not as strong as healthy bone and can break by the tiniest injury. This type of fracture is called a pathological fracture. Many dogs will exhibit lethargy and anorexia in the later stages, with lameness and pain.


Diagnosis of bone cancer includes a thorough physical exam by your veterinarian, radiographs (x rays), bone biopsies, blood test and other imaging.


Surgery is the most commonly recommended therapy, and there are chemotherapy options as well. In my hands, because the prognosis is so poor, I recommend amputation if possible, Chinese and western herbs, and vitamin A and D injections, anti oxidants, fish oil and turmeric, with a non carbohydrate diet. NHV herbs are very effective as well ES clear, turmeric and milk thistle support the body and help extend the life of a cancer patient.

Vet Approved Pet Cancer Super Support Kit

Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for fifteen years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!

Published: June 15, 2018

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