Bone Cancer In Dogs

Bone Cancer In Dogs

Much like humans, dogs can become more likely to develop certain illnesses as they grow older.

One such illness is bone cancer, which can be an extremely difficult illness to deal with, especially if dogs aren't diagnosed early. Because of that, it's important to gain some information about the symptoms, risks and treatments for`q bone cancer in dogs.

Let's look into how this illness can effect our furry family members.

What Is Bone Cancer In Dogs?

The cause of bone cancer in dogs is still unknown, but it is believed to commonly be caused by hereditary factors. Over time, this can lead to high amounts of pain, and it can be fatal when not addressed quickly enough. There are no specific cures yet for cancer, but chemotherapy is commonly used to help manage and maintain it, amongst other treatment options.

What Dogs Are Prone To Bone Cancer?

For the most part, large and giant dog breeds tend to be more prone to this illness.

These breeds can include:

  • Great Danes
  • Irish Setters
  • Saint Bernards
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Newfoundlands
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Weimaraners
  • Boxers
  • German Shepherds
  • Rottweilers

While these breeds are more likely to develop the illness, any dog can have bone cancer. Often, bone cancer develops in dogs at or over seven years old. That said, any breed at any age can develop this illness.

Where Bone Tumors May Grow

While bone cancer, or osteosarcoma, can take place in any bone, it often shows up in the limbs. Some cases can also present themselves in the ribs or spine.

On top of that, you may notice the symptoms of the illness affecting a wide range of areas. Symptoms that show up in the kidneys, eyes, liver and other areas of your dog can be effected. Because of this, keeping an eye out for symptoms and getting them checked out quickly is wise whether it turns out to be due to bone cancer or something much less harmful.

Bone Cancer Causes

The exact causes of bone cancer in dogs aren't known, but there may be genetic aspects that make larger breeds more prone to developing it. In addition, small injuries to the bones that occur because of the weight of larger dogs may also be a factor that contributes to the overall risk.

Some also believe that dogs who have had bone transplants, implants, surgeries or bone fractures in the past may be more likely to develop the disease. While the exacts aren't known, scientists are gathering information on the illness and working towards finding the cause and any possible solutions.

Signs Of Bone Cancer In Dogs

Watching out for the symptoms of cancer in dogs is a great way to catch something like bone cancer as early as possible.

The following are symptoms to keep an eye our for:

  • A lump present nearly anywhere, but often in the legs, ribs or spine
  • Fractures that occur more easily in certain bones than others, as bone cancer tumors can cause bones to weaken
  • Weight loss, often due to a lack of appetite
  • Limping, due to the pain that occurs alongside bone cancer tumors
  • Problems with breathing
  • Fatigue

It's wise to make a habit of checking for cancer symptoms in dogs such as odd lumps, and getting them checked out quickly after you find them. This includes even small lumps. You may find that they are completely benign, but that outcome is worth the cost when various forms of cancer may also be present.

Be especially careful with dogs 7 years old or older.

Pain And Dogs With Bone Cancer

Don't let the absence of obvious pain keep you from getting your dog checked out by a vet. You may not always know how to tell if a dog is in pain from cancer, and our pets are notorious for hiding pain that is anything less than absolutely excruciating.

Some of the signs that may represent pain include the following:

  • Sleeping more often
  • Snarling, growling, yelping or whining
  • Changes in the amount of water they consume
  • Lack of appetite
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Shallow breathing or frequent panting
  • Grooming in excessive amounts
  • Becoming restless
  • Trembling
  • Posture changes
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Limping

Diagnosing Bone Cancer In Dogs

At this point, there is no exact test that checks dogs for bone cancer. However, veterinarians typically use a combination of lymph node fluid tests and X-rays to determine what might be going on in dogs who have symptoms. In addition, bone an blood tests and CAT scans are also done.

Treating Dog Bone Cancer

It's worth keeping in mind that while cancer may or may not be able to be sent into remission, those who are treated for cancer are often hoping to reduce the pain they experience and live longer. This is true in both humans and our pets. It's also worth keeping in mind that the potential to survive decreases as the cancer stages increase.


With many cancers, surgery is one of the first steps. For a dog with bone cancer, this might mean either replacing areas infected with cancer, or amputating limbs altogether. This option is often most effective at the earlier stages.


Chemotherapy is an option meant to kill off cancer cells, but it isn't the solution with the most finesse. While it can work very well on the cancer cells known for dividing quickly, it also kills off healthy cells that are dividing at a faster rate, resulting in unwanted side effects.


In combination with the other treatments listed here, radiation can be used to lower the amount of pain your osteosarcoma dog is experiencing and cause the cancer to slow down. As a result, it aims at providing better overall survival chances. By itself, it isn't an efficient method for killing off cancer cells.

Prevention Of Osteosarcoma In Dogs

While it may not be possible to prevent bone cancer completely, there are things you can do to avoid making the risks higher. For example, stay away from foods that are designed to help your dog put on weight quickly, instead offering a healthy diet, unless your vet directs otherwise.

Alternative Treatments

With cancer, it's absolutely necessary to go through the standard treatment routes with the help of your vet to give your dog the best chances. There are no natural cures for bone cancer, and dogs with this illness will suffer more and risk not receiving the treatment they need if you try to use natural supplements in place of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

A good natural alternative that many are now considering is CBD for dogs, because of CBD's ability to stop the progression of cancerous cells.

However, things like supplements, lifestyle and diet changes can be helpful in the process. Talk to your vet about these options to make sure everything is covered for your dog. They can help to guide you in the right direction, allowing your dog to get the greatest benefits possible from their treatment.

How Long Can A Dog Live With Bone Cancer?

There are some types of cancer out there that can come with very promising outcomes with proper treatment. Unfortunately, dog bone cancer is a type of cancer that can be much more difficult.

Typically, treatment of osteosarcoma in dogs is an effort to allow the dog to enjoy their lives a bit longer. On average, the lives of dogs who receive treatment for this illness can be extended by about a year. For some dogs, it may only be a few months while others may continue to live for a couple of years.

Several factors can play into the outcome for bone cancer. These variables might include the age of the dog, their general health, and the stage of the cancer. Naturally, the earlier the illness is found, the higher the chances are that your dog will be able to live a longer life.

Another aspect that may effect the outcome can depend on where the tumor is located. Naturally, tumors that show up in the legs may be a little easier to treat than those appearing in the rib cage or spine. However, the results can really differ between individual dogs.

CBD For Dogs

One of the supplements out there that can be incredibly helpful is CBD. This supplement is something that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. In healthy dogs, this supplement is a great one for assisting with maintaining their health into old age.

Meanwhile, in dogs suffering from anxiety, nausea, epilepsy, cancer and much more, it can also provide some great relief. By attacking inflammation in the body, dogs who are suffering from pain in different forms can get some relief, and those with poor appetites can get a boost.

CBD For Bone Cancer

CBD is not a cure for any kind of cancer, but there are ways in which it can be helpful for dogs suffering from the illness. At a base level, it's helpful in dealing with pain that occurs alongside the disease and the treatments for it.

Things like chemotherapy, surgery and radiation can be rough on the body. It can leave dogs feeling ill, in pain and lacking an appetite. CBD is a great way to help with giving your dog a bit of a pick-me-up, and it can help to keep them eating, which in turn keeps their body stronger.

Top CBD Products

When using CBD, using quality products is key. Many of us want to avoid putting chemicals into our bodies or the bodies of our pets when we don't know what kinds of effects they might cause, especially if they aren't chemicals that are directly beneficial.

As a plant, hemp can easily absorb things like pesticides and herbicides, so aiming for something that is organic can ensure that you aren't putting those things into your dog. On top of that, CBD products held to high standards will include negligible amounts of THC at most, and the best products include none at all.


CBD oil for dogs is a fantastic option for those who are in need of something versatile. As a product, CBD oil can be provided to dogs, cats and even horses to help them with just about any ailments they may have, or just give their overall health a boost.

What makes CBD so easy is that it can be mixed into meals or treats, or simply placed into their mouth. Many of us know how difficult it can be to give nearly any animal a pill, and with CBD oil you can do away with that struggle, or at least avoid adding another pill on top of other medications your pet may take.

CBD Treats

Another option that dogs love are CBD dog treats. This is a simple way to get your dog the benefits they need without much trouble at all. As far as they know, they're just getting an extra delicious maple bacon, salmon or steak-flavored treat.

These are great options for dogs who aren't struggling with their appetite. In those cases, dogs may not always be interested in eating a treat, so that's worth keeping in mind. If you have a dog who have problems with chewing up crunchy treats, then there are also soft hemp treats that can be broken down much more easily.

Bone Cancer In Dogs: The Bottom Line

We all want our dogs to feel their best, whether that means enjoying their good health or making their golden years as comfortable and painless as possible. Luckily, we have more options than ever before when it comes to allowing that to happen.

Making sure you have plenty of information about the kinds of illnesses our dogs can experience and understanding the symptoms is a great first step. If you begin to notice those symptoms in your dog, then getting them to the vet as quickly as possible can help to ensure the issue can be taken care of as easily as possible. In addition to your vet's care, things like CBD can also help along the way!




Approved by:

Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade

Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.












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The Innovet Team



    Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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