Canine Leg Tumors
Osteosarcoma is a condition which is characterized by canine leg tumors. These tumors begin to form on the bone. Usually, these tumors form on the bones of middle aged or older dogs. However, this can occur with any dog of any age or sex. There is a greater tendency in large breeds to suffer from canine leg tumors. Larger breeds may also develop these problems at a much younger age.
Though osteosarcoma may develop in any bone of the body, but in 80% of cases the tumors occurs in the bones of the limbs. The tumors may begin to form deep inside the bones and as they grow outwards, it causes a lot of pain to the dog. The dog may eventually not be able to move around much as the tumor destroys the leg. The dog experiences intermittent lameness which might become permanent. In about one to three months, the dog may become completely lame. As the tumors grow in the dog’s legs, the outward swelling may become apparent. The bone which is sustaining the tumor may not be as strong as the other bones. In fact, the bone becomes corroded and brittle. The slightest of injuries can cause fractures in the bones. This fracture is known as a pathologic fracture. Even if the fracture heals, the bone is not strong and there are chances of there being other dog leg problems and broken bones.
The earliest symptom of the condition is the apparent swelling on the legs. The dog may not be able to walk around much or may prefer to remain inactive due to the pain in the joints. A radiograph of the joint can show if the bone has been eaten away or has been corroded. The legs may also become slightly deformed. There may be intermittent lameness too. The dog may not be able to climb stairs anymore and may also begin to avoid play activities. You may find the dog squirming in pain while trying to sit or get up from a seated position. The dog’s bones become brittle and canine leg tremors may also be observed. Read on dog leg injuries.
Fortunately, the damage done by the tumors usually does not spread to the joints and therefore the deterioration of the bones is slow. To confirm the diagnosis of osteosarcoma, the doctor may call for a biopsy. A small surgery is performed to get a sample of the bone and the doctor examines it to look for signs of cancerous tumors.