Although amputation of the affected limb is the most common way to treat osteosarcoma in dogs, an alternative method of limb preservation can produce good results in the right candidates. This case study describes limb-sparing surgery that involves local tumor removal with wide margins; replacement of resected bone with a fresh-frozen cortical allograft; and adjuvant chemotherapy with doxorubicin and cisplatin, as osteosarcoma is one of the most chemotherapy-responsive tumors. Suitable candidates have primary tumors confined to one appendicular site with no greater than 50% of the length of affected bone and no demonstrable metastatic disease. Limb function has been reported as good to excellent after limb-sparing surgery of the radius and ulna, but outcome and function are considered poor for limb-salvage surgery of the proximal humerus, distal femur, and tibia. Limb-sparing surgery carries more risk for local tumor recurrence, however; and long-term success requires an experienced surgeon, a knowledgeable oncologist, and a dedicated owner.

COMMENTARY: This article describes a better alternative to amputation that may prolong ambulation of large patients affected with osteosarcoma.

Limb-sparing surgery for appendicular osteosarcoma in dogs. Gassal A, Bilbrey S. Vet Med 98:119-124, 2003.