1 06 2011


Large and giant breeds of dogs are particularly susceptible to osteosarcoma, especially the Irish wolfhound, Scottish deerhound, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Great Dane and the Greyhound. The most commonly affected animals are middle-aged and older.  Neutered animals are more likely to develop osteosarcoma than are sexually intact animals perhaps because they are more likely to be overweight.

Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor in the dog.  The term primary relates that the tumor originates in the bone itself and is not a result of metastasis from a tumor in another area.

Rottweilers and Great Danes are more likely to have osteosarcoma involving the forelimbs rather than the hindlimbs.    The most frequent sites of osteocarcoma development are the proximal end of the humerus and the distal end of the radius.  The proximal end of the femur is also a common site for osteosarcoma development in Greyhounds.

Osteosarcoma are the most common cause of death in retired racing greyhounds (25%).  In comparison, osteosarcoma appears rarely in AKC greyhounds.   Research needs to be conducted as to whether repetitive trauma and stress on the bones in greyhounds during their racing careers contributes to the risk of osteosarcoma development.  In greyhounds 75% of osteosarcomas occur in the front legs and males are most commonly affected at 59%.

Most lesions are lytic and approximately 26% of affected animals will have pathologic fractures of the affected area upon diagnosis.  In greyhounds osteoscarcoma is particularly aggressive even more than that seen in other breeds.

Metastatic rates in dogs are reported to be 80 to 90%.

The treatment of choice for osteosarcoma is limb amputation followed by adjuvant chemotherapy thereby increasing survival and remission times.  Chemotherapy may incorporate carboplatin, doxorubicin or suramin/doxorubicin.


Dimopoulou, M. J Kirpensteijn and H. Moens et al. “Histologic Prognosticators in Feline Osteosarcoma:  a Comparison with Phenotypically similar Canine Osteosarcoma.” Veterinary Surgery 2008; 37 (5):  466-471.

Rosenberger, Julie and Norma Pablo, et al.  “Prevalence of and intrinsic Risk Factors for Appendicular Osteosarcoma in Dogs:  179 cases (1996-2005).  JAVMA, Vol. 231, No. 7, October 1, 2007. Pp. 1076-1080.

Couto, C. Guillermo.  “Greyhounds and Bone Cancer.”  NAVC Clinician’s Brief.  July 2008. P. 37.




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