Canine osteosarcoma pain management becomes a prime consideration when your dog is diagnosed with OSA. While some dogs may not experience the pain that others will, most dogs with bone cancer will be euthanized because of the excruciating pain in the affected bone.

Your mainstream options to manage pain include: amputation, limb-sparing surgery, radiation and drugs. Alternative pain management includes: acupuncture, zero point (scalar) energy, releasing trapped emotions, and light therapy. While pain management options do not try to cure cancer, successful pain relief affords your dog a comfortable life.


Mainstream Pain Management Options

Amputation for Appendicular Canine Bone Cancer Pain Control

If your dog is a candidate for amputation, removal of the affected limb relieves pain 100% of the time. It may be difficult for you to think of your dog as having only three legs, and you may have to make a few adjustments in order to accept your best friend’s new looks, but dogs have no self-image problems or ego issues. After recovering from surgery, they are up and about, running and playing, like they had four on the floor.

Check out the pace of this dog running without a back leg.



Even minus a front leg, this active guy plays a pretty mean game of frisby.



Here is a Rottweiller two days after surgery



Some dogs might not be good candidates for amputation because of age, physical condition: obesity, other orthopedic issues, or advanced state of their cancer. Your vet will discuss your best options. You should also be aware that amputation is major surgery and not without risk. Complications can arise during surgery and post-op.


Limb Sparing Surgery (Limb Salvage) for OSA Pain Control

If you prefer not to have your dog’s leg amputated, the procedure can sometimes be avoided with limb-sparing surgery. Limb sparing, or limb salvage, surgery employs techniques that were originally developed for humans. The tumorous bone is removed and either replaced by a bone graft from a bone bank or it is re-grown via a process called bone transport osteogenesis.

Limb sparing works best for a front leg, specifically the forearm bone (distal radius). Since the joint nearest the tumor is fused and unable to be flexed or extended. It is not a good selection for a hind leg or the arm bone (humerus) since it limits range of motion.

Limb sparing might be considered for smaller tumors. It is not an option if over 50% of the bone is involved or if the tumor has affected neighboring muscle. Another downside is that complications rates are high. They can include: infection of the bone, tumor recurrence, fracture, and failure of the implant. Because of these issues, limb salvage, for some, may be a just a stop on the way to amputation.


Radiation (Radiotherapy) to Control Bone Cancer Pain

If limb-sparing or amputation are not options, radiation (radiotherapy) can relieve the intense pain of the slowly exploding bone. You have a two out of three shot that it may work. Multiple doses are directed at the tumor at intervals: the first two doses are given one week apart, the second two are given two weeks apart.

Improved limb function is typically seen within the first three weeks. Effects usually last about four months but have been known to last up to 19 months. Radiation can be re-administered when the pain returns if all systems are still a go. This would depend on the stage of the cancer and condition of your dog.

Downsides include:

  • Your dog’s increased activity, due to his or her pain relief, could lead to a pathologic bone fracture in the tumorous leg.
  • Radiation doesn’t work for one-third of the recipients.
  • Because anesthesia is required for the procedure, there are associated risks.
  • Radiation burns (radiation dermatitis) can occur with related hair loss, and irritated, red, dry skin.


Bisphosphonates to Control Canine Bone Tumor Pain

The standard of care for humans with bone tumors, bisphosphonates are becoming more readily used in veterinary practice. The drugs inhibit bone destruction caused by the tumor which not only helps to control the pain, but may be an alternative to amputation and limb sparing. Pamidronate is the most common bisphosphonate used for dogs. Given as an in-hospital IV drip, the treatment takes about two hours and is repeated in three to four weeks, as long as the dogs quality of life is good and he or she is using the leg.

The potential side effects seen in humans: fever, muscle pain, nausea all lasting 1-2 days in up to 25% of patients, renal disease in certain situations, low blood calcium levels, and jaw bone cell death, don’t seem to be an issue for dogs and cats. The drugs appear to be well tolerated. Additionally, they are relatively inexpensive.


Drugs to Control K9 Osteosarcoma Pain

If amputation, limb-sparing, or radiation are not opted for whatever the reason, a combination of the many analgesic medications available for dogs can be used.

The non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDSs) include: carprofen, etodolac, deracoxib, meloxicam, firocoxib, and tepoxalin. The tablets are usually given at home, once or twice a day. NSAIDs are notoriously hard on the internal organs and your dog should have good liver and kidney function in order to take them.

Narcotic drugs, such as Tramadol, are are well-known analgesics. Non anti-inflammatory drugs, they are particularly useful for chronic pain because they don’t interact negatively with other pain relievers. Drowsiness is a potential side effect.

Phantom pain can result from amputation complications. It is a situation in which the dog still senses his or her leg and experiences the pain associated with it. Amantadine and gabapentin both work on neurologic pain to ease and/or eliminate that pain.


Alternative Pain Management Options for Canine Osteosarcoma

Acupuncture to Manage Canine Cancer Pain

I personally use a hand-held acupuncture, trigger point stimulator when Nikki pulls a muscle, becomes sore or I see he is in discomfort. It is essentially acupuncture therapy without needles, an electrical unit that employs a 9-volt battery to both find the point(s) that need to be stimulated and then stimulate them. The points can be either tonified or the energy can be dispersed.

It’s very easy to use. As you near a point that needs stimulation, the instrument makes a sound that becomes higher and higher. When you are directly on point, an LED indicator lights up and you press the button. Nothing is felt on some points, a slight tingling is noticed on others, while yet other points can be uncomfortable. But results are immediately obvious.


Zero Point (Scalar) Energy to Increase Vitality, Reduce Pain

Zero point energy wands and medallions are controversial. It’s not because they don’t work, but rather because there are many inferior products in the marketplace. Even highly touted multi-level market wands are not as effective as others. I personally use the iyashi wand and Nikki wears his own iyashi medallion which I find counters pain and boosts his energy tremendously.

More specific information can be found under the Energy Healing category.


Light Therapy for Tumor Reduction, Lympatic Drainage and Pain

The Dinshah Light method has been a godsend for treating my animals over the years. The late Darius Dinshah published the book Let There Be Light. It lists several hundred protocols for various diseases, among them are protocols for pain, reducing a tumor, recouping after surgery or after a long illness, and lymphatic drainage, which is important in cancer treatment.

Basking under the Dinshah light filters has been a huge comfort for Nikki. In working with animals, I have found that if a particular pet doesn’t need a specific filter, he or she will get up and walk away from it.

Exact protocols and additional information are listed under the Category: Energy Healing.


Releasing Trapped Emotions to Diminish Bone Cancer Pain and More

Releasing Trapped Emotions can create phenomenal changes in the physical and emotional bodies. The concept of trapped emotions is explained in Dr. Bradley Nelson’s The Emotion Code and based on the realization that everything in our universe, even the chair you are sitting on, is nothing but pure energy vibrating at its own frequency. We are pure energy, our emotions are pure energy, and each emotion has its own particular vibration.

Emotions are meant to come and go. They are meant to felt and processed, but there are times when emotions become trapped in our energy field. When this happens, the trapped emotion(s) can create an array of issues, including physical and emotion pain, even serious diseases like heart problems, diabetes, and cancer.

These trapped emotions can actually be felt by sensitives as they come to the surface to be released. They are balls of energy about the size of a grapefruit.

Using a simple technique which anyone can learn, the trapped emotions can be cleared one at a time. Many times the pain and disease will resolve totally when the underlying trapped emotions are cleared.

Nikki’s tumor went from the size of a small beach ball to under a tennis ball in less than two weeks after I was finally able to reach and release the trapped anger he had been carrying around for 43 lives.

See the Categoies: Energy Healing for more on The Emotion Code.
Additionally see: Categories  Nikki’s Story and Kinesiology.