Young Mixed Breed Limping- Shoulder Bone Cancer?

by Kathryn
(Tucson AZ USA)

Shoulder bones the same but left side is white on X ray

Shoulder bones the same but left side is white on X ray

I adopted a mixed breed male neutered pup from the local animal shelter when he was 4 months old-he was a parvo survivor and was dropped off at the shelter with slashes across belly with intestines hanging out at about 10 wks old.

Upon adoption he was fully recovered- he has a bit of Pitbull, American bulldog and Blue Heeler in him, I think- he started to have a very faint slight limp in left front leg at about 6 months old- We live in Tucson AZ -have been to vet numerous times and was blood tested twice along the way for valley fever, came back negative both times- x rays of elbow showed nothing- has been on Cosaquin with MSM and Rimadyl as needed and the lameness has come and gone.

Now he is a little over 2 years old and we went to a different vet because lameness returned and left shoulder was XRayed- please see attached XRay- new vet noticed there is a slight fullness/enlargement to his left shoulder blade area (which I didn't notice) dog is eating, drinking normally, never any fever or vomiting...never any listlessness or sickness of any kind- the dog has always been active and playful- the one thing I have noticed is an intermittent spell of a dry cough....happens once or twice a week....a quick period of coughing, then it passes.

The vet also did a chest Xray to see if anything was evident for valley fever since blood tests came back negative, nothing showed up- the only thing he has is a chronic limp on the same left front leg- never alternates- he weighs 60 pounds so I give him 75mg of Rimadyl twice a day to help with pain and he's on Cosaquin with MSM daily- the vet who took the latest xray referred us to a Orthopedic vet for a probable bone biopsy- this dog
just turned 2 in June 2020- could you determine anything visually by this xray? I am so afraid of some sort of incurable bone cancer- is there any chance that this could be valley fever although he had negative blood tests twice? The shoulder bone area does not seem painful when you press on it, the dog just limps and the limp is worse if you do not give him Rimadyl- our orthopedic appt is on October 26th and I am on pins and needles- would love your opinion.

Editor Opinion

Hi Kathryn,

I'm sorry to hear about your pup's health concerns. Based on the information you provided and the X-ray you shared, it's difficult to make a definitive diagnosis without a complete physical examination and additional diagnostic tests, such as a bone biopsy.

Changes in the X-ray could have multiple causes including including infection, inflammation, trauma, or cancer. There could also be some periosteal reaction, which can indicate inflammation or bone growth.

It's good that your vet has ruled out Valley Fever, which is a common concern in Arizona, but there are other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Your vet's recommendation to see an orthopedic specialist and consider a bone biopsy is a reasonable next step to help determine the cause of the limping and bone changes.

While it's natural to worry about the possibility of cancer, there are many other potential causes of bone changes in dogs, and it's important not to jump to conclusions without a proper diagnosis. It's also important to continue managing your dog's pain with medication as prescribed by your veterinarian.

In the meantime, keep an eye on your dog's overall health and report any changes or new symptoms to your veterinarian. It's always best to address health concerns as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome for your pup.


Editor and Publisher
Dog Health Guide

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