Understanding Osteosarcoma in Dogs: Causes and Treatment


Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that affects dogs. This cancer is aggressive and can spread rapidly to the lungs and other organs. The condition is more common in large and giant breed dogs aged between 6 to 9 years. This article explores the causes and treatment of osteosarcoma in dogs.

Understanding Osteosarcoma in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

Causes of Osteosarcoma

The exact cause of osteosarcoma in dogs is unknown; however, several factors have been linked to its development. These include genetics, radiation exposure, and previous bone injuries. Large breed dogs such as Great Danes, Rottweilers, and Greyhounds are more susceptible to osteosarcoma than smaller breeds. Also, male dogs are at a higher risk than females.

Symptoms of Osteosarcoma

The early symptoms of osteosarcoma in dogs are often subtle and can be easily overlooked. These include lameness, swelling, and pain in the affected limb. As the disease progresses, the dog may show signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, and weight loss. In some cases, the affected bone may fracture without any apparent cause.

Treatment options for Osteosarcoma

The treatment of osteosarcoma in dogs varies depending on the extent and stage of the disease. In some cases, amputation of the affected limb may be the best option to prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. After the operation, the dog will need to undergo chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. Although amputation can significantly improve the dog's survival chances, it may not be feasible in all cases.

Radiation therapy is another treatment option for osteosarcoma. This involves the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancerous cells. Radiation therapy is often used in combination with surgery to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.


Osteosarcoma is a severe condition that affects dogs. While the exact cause of this cancer type remains unknown, several factors have been linked to its development. Early detection of the disease is essential for successful treatment. Depending on the extent and stage of the disease, amputation, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be advised. Owners of large and giant breed dogs should be aware of the symptoms of osteosarcoma and consult their veterinarians if they suspect that their pets may be suffering from the condition.