Canine Osteosarcoma Care
by Reader Question
My 5 year old St. Bernard was recently diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. They don't give him long at all, but we want to make him as happy and comfortable as possible.
He weighs 160 lbs and the tumor is located in his leg. It isn't hurting him right now, but he does limp on it. What would be the best approach and things I can do to help him? Thank you!Vet Suggestion Caring for a Dog with a Canine Osteosarcoma in leg
I’m sorry to hear of your St. Bernard’s diagnosis. Canine Osteosarcoma is an awful disease.
First of all, if your dog is limping, he is in pain. Keep in mind that osteosarcoma is one of the most painful diseases we have to deal with in veterinary medicine. He may not look like he is hurting because dogs tend to stay cheerful through even the worst of times, but he is in pain.
Unless you are planning on treating his osteosarcoma aggressively (e.g., with an amputation and chemotherapy), you are left with pain relief as your primary goal.
There are no over the counter pain relievers that are adequate in and of themselves to deal with the pain of osteosarcoma. Talk to your veterinarian. He or she can prescribe some combination of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (e.g., Rimadyl), an opiod (tramadol is a good, non-sedating choice), and other medications like gabapentin or amantadine.
Once your dog’s pain can’t be controlled with these powerful drugs, you should consider euthanasia.
Jennifer Coates, DVM