Dealing with a dog’s bone cancer

Ask the Vet

Dear Dr. Myers:

Q: My sweet Millie was just diagnosed with bone cancer. I’m heartbroken, scared and confused all at the same time. She is only 7 years old — I thought I would have her so much longer. I just don’t know what to do.

Rita, Farragut

A: Rita, I am so sorry. It is hard to hear that your pet has cancer, Please know that all your emotions are normal. You have my sympathy. It can be hard to know what to do in a situation like this.

The most common bone cancer in dogs is osteosarcoma. It is, unfortunately, a fairly aggressive cancer. Dogs often begin with intermittent lameness that progressively worsens, often in only a few weeks.

Speak with your veterinarian regarding any other health issues Millie may/may not have that would affect her ability to handle cancer treatments. He/she may also recommend chest X-rays to check for a possible spread of cancer, known as metastasis.

Knoxville is blessed to have wonderful veterinary specialists, including veterinary oncologists. A consultation will involve discussing surgical and cancer therapy options such as chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Regardless of what treatments you choose for Millie, we know that we want to control her pain to the best of our ability. Bone cancer is known to be painful, and it is important to keep her as comfortable as possible. There are local support groups available, too. Please let me know if you would like more information.

If you have questions about your pet, you may e-mail Dr. Myers at