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Bone Cancer (Hemangiosarcoma) in Dogs



Aggressive surgery remains the method of choice in the treatment of this tumor. The tumor, and possibly the surrounding area, will need to be removed entirely. If the tumor is occurring on a limb, the affected limb will most probably be amputated, a surgery which most dogs recover from well. An axial tumor -- one that is affecting the area of the head or trunk -- may be more difficult to treat. Chemotherapy along with surgery is the recommended treatment plan.


Living and Management


Your veterinarian will set up a schedule for progress evaluation visits, starting from the first month after initial treatment and every three months following. Chemotherapy medications have the possibility of toxic side effects, so your veterinarian will need to closely monitor your dog's stability, changing dosage as necessary. Routine X-rays will be taken of the chest, heart and abdomen to check for recurrence and progress.


After surgery, you should expect your dog to feel sore. Your veterinarian will give you pain medication for your dog to help minimize discomfort. Use pain medications with caution; one of the most preventable accidents with pets is overdose of medication. Follow all directions carefully.


You will need to limit your dog's activity while it heals, setting aside a quiet place for it to rest, away from household activity, children, and other pets. You might consider cage rest for your dog, to limit its physical activity. Trips outdoors for bladder and bowel relief should be kept short and easy for your dog to handle during the recovery period. Your veterinarian will tell you when it is safe for your dog to move about again. Most dogs recover well from amputation, and learn to compensate for the lost limb.


It is important to monitor your dog's food and water intake while it is recovering. If your dog does not feel up to eating, you may need to use a feeding tube so that it is getting all of the nutrition it needs to completely recover. Your veterinarian will show you how to use the feeding tube correctly, and will assist you in setting up a feeding schedule.


Each dog is different, and some will survive longer than others, but the average time of survival after surgery is six months. Less than ten percent will survive for one year after surgery.



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