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Has anyone had experience with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in Irish Setters?

I have recently been questioned about inheritance of osteosarcoma in Irish Setters. Fortunately this is not something I have personal experience of. I do know some medium to large breeds are more prone to this form of cancer. The view generally seems to be that cancer is on the increase, but I do not know if there is scientific evidence to support this.
I was surprised by the opininon that osteosarcoma was linked with being female. This does not make sense to me - but I'm no expert.

I'd be pleased to hear your views.

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Hi Sharon - I lost my first Setter, Chelsea, to bone cancer. She was a female rescue. I am unaware of her lineage and whether it could have been inherited.

I can see cancer being on the rise with dogs just like it is with humans. I would attribute it to diet (fast food - high fat/high carb diets in humans and similar cheap dog food for dogs) and possibly environmental factors (air quality, water quality) that would affect both humans and dogs.

I am certainly not an expert either just some thoughts.

Thanks Gene - and sorry to hear about Chelsea.

Not many responses so far, so hopefully bone cancer is not an issue in the breed - except for a few rare cases.
On the other hand possibly Crufts is the main focus at the moment, with other issues not attracting so much attention?

I wonder if we can link cancer in dogs to the same reasons as cancer in humans? Dogs don't have our eating habits, don't normally smoke, are hopefully not obese... Probably our pets lead a healthier life than we do...Speaking of myself, I am much more stict with my dogs than with me;-))

Bone cancer is one form of cancer that strikes dogs at young to middle age and seems to be very aggressive, with little hope for cure - which makes it so traumatic for the owner.

One of my books says that so far osteosarcoma (bone cancer) "does not appear to be heritable; although breed predilections do occur" and also "breed size and rate of maturity may be more important than breed or family line".
I have not had bone cancer, but I have had two dogs from my breeding die of cancer in the mouth. They are well appart as far as litters go, so I dont suspect that this is a huge problem with two amongst well over 100 puppies. This starts out like a growth on the gum and then seems to go inwards. Not so uncomon I was told by the vet. Unfortunatly these two dogs were with the same owner...so perhaps there was something with the enviroment.

And yes, pets do live a healthier life than us in many ways, but we still have the air etc. And feeding dogfood with tons of adatives and preservatives that in itself is produced with grain and vegteables that are sprayed with poison. Its all a circle that you (or at least I) feel happier not to think about too much.
Hi Susan, I haven't been on line recently and have only just caught up with this discussions line. By horrible coincidence one of the reasons I have been slightly preoccupied is because we had a scare that my 7 year old male had bone cancer. He has had a limp on and off since late summer and in December I took him back to the vet yet again, he had a series of Xrays and then a recall in January and a repeat of the xrays and the vet thought that he had a tumour in the front right knee. I was completely shell shocked and went straight on the internet for more info, which was very scary as they say that by the time bone cancer has been diagnosed in most dogs there are normally secondaries already in the lungs. The vet was not 100% as she said she had never seen a tumour that low, they are usually in the higher joints apparently, more likely in females or neutered males, he was referred very quickly for digital xrays which were not conclusive so he had a biopsy, luckily he has the all clear but it looks like a form of arthritis due to injury and the vet says he is now at a much higher risk of developing bone cancer in the future. For info the biopsy caused Killian huge discomfort and he was much worse after that than he was before, couldn't put any weight on his front leg. Which whilst we were waiting for the outcome made me think that I couldn't consider amputation which was/is the only real option. As a follow on from our discussions my vet said that she was sure that cancers in dogs and cats were on the increase and forwarded some interesting web sites, I will try and find them again and post them. Hope this is of interest and having lived for just three weeks with the threat of cancer hanging over Killian my thoughts go to anyone who is nursing a dog with this terrible condition now, Siân
Hi Siân, it was with a feeling of dread I read your message and was very pleased to find the outcome was a lot better than originally feared! I can well imagine the worry you must have felt. I hope Killian recovers fully!

One note on amputation - much as I would dread having this done to any of my dogs I must say I have sen a greyhound coping extremely well with three legs, having had his hind leg rmoved at the hip joint. It seems we humans are far more affected by this kind of mutilation than the dog itself. Still, sadly this greyhound died soon after of metastase from bone cancer...
As for amputation, I saw a dog in India (he lived i a shelter) that coped very well on just three legs. This is (I feel ) nothing I would ever do to one of my dogs, yet this dog was missing a hind leg and coped very well. He would jump up on benches and was as agile as any other...I was quite amazed to see him. And he was about the size of a german shephard. I think you are right there Susan, it is us humans feeling the "pain".
My first setter died of bone cancer. She started getting growths around her teeth, in her gums. Originally I was told it was not an aggressive cancer. Later, I was told the cancer was "hot" and eats through bone. My dog's had the cancer above her nose.

She was in pain and would hide from me. I decided to put her to sleep. We did give her chemo-therapy but I could not watch her in pain. She was about 12 years old when she showed the cancer growths. I do not know her pedigree but she was not considered pure AKC Irish Setter.

She was a great dog, I have many memories.
The dog I had before the 2 I have now ,died of bone cancer at age 12. I wasn't ready to let her go , but when the pain meds she was one weren't working any more we had to make the hard choice. I miss her to this day ,and I hope I never have to go through that again. As far as I know it wasn't inherited
Judi, Kate, I don't think we are ever really ready, but at least we can help them when the time has come...
Hi Leen,
This must have being a heartbreaking experience for all! In this case I suppose you would assume a family predisposition. I have heard similar in Bernes Mountain Dogs where different forms of cancer appear and is considered a genetic predispoition in certain lines.

It seems that although there is evidence of a genetic component for cancer, there is no evidence of the cancer type osteosarcoma being linked to the female line.
I agree, Leen - and this brings us back to a theme we discussed some time ago - about how good it would be to have a central database... and a central fundraising for health surveys...
(see also Ginger Kenney's thread 'What health issues do you think are of most concern' started in August 2007)
Some breeds like the Irish Red & White Setter have this form of central register: for example the Genetics Sub-Committee of the Irish Red and White Setter Club of Great Britain.
Interestingly I just received a questionnaire from the Dutch Kennel club regarding one of my dogs they apparently send out a survey at 2, 5 and 8 years for all dogs bred in Holland to monitor health and temperament issues. Could be worthwhile to collate facts from breeding lines.




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