Osteosarcoma is a painful and aggressive bone tumor in dogs that is known to be more common in certain breeds than others. New research has now confirmed that larger breeds like Rottweilers, Great Dane, and Rhodesian Ridgeback are at higher risk of osteosarcoma than smaller breeds, and that breeds with shorter skulls and legs have a lower risk of osteosarcoma. The results could influence future racial health reforms as well as studies of the development of tumors from normal bone.
Osteosarcoma is a painful and aggressive bone tumor in dogs that is known to be more common in certain breeds than others. New research has now confirmed that larger breeds such as Rottweilers, Great Dane, and Rhodesian Ridgeback are at higher risk of osteosarcoma than smaller breeds, and that breeds with shorter skulls and legs have a lower risk of osteosarcoma. The results could influence future racial health reforms as well as studies of the development of tumors from normal bone.
The study, carried out by the University of Bristol Veterinary School in collaboration with Cardiff University and the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in London, using data from the histology of VetCompass ™ and the Veterinary Pathology Group (VPG), examined the epidemiology, get osteosarcoma among the dog breeds. and what this means for dog welfare. This study also shows the tremendous benefits of studying dogs as a model for studying this cancer. The results are published today in Canine Medicine and Genetics [10 March].
The study included 1,756 laboratory confirmed osteosarcoma cases in dogs compared to 905,211 veterinary treated dogs in the VetCompass ™ database in 2016.
The research team found that 27 breeds, mostly larger breeds, were at increased risk of osteosarcoma compared to crossbreeds. Thirty breeds, mostly smaller breeds including the Jack Russell, Border Terrier, Bichon Frize, French Bulldog, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, were at lower risk of osteosarcoma compared to crossbreeds.
The study also compared various measurements of body mass and leg length, and confirmed previous results that heavier dogs with longer legs and longer skull shapes are at greatest risk for bone tumors. The results could influence breed health reform, especially in predisposed breeds such as Rottweiler, Great Dane and Rhodesian Ridgeback, Mastiff and German Pointer. While previous studies have identified high-risk breeds for bone tumors, this paper is new in that it can identify breeds with the lowest risk due to the large size of the study population. The races identified here could be researched and compared to discover new genetic differences that cause bone tumors.
Findings that bone tumors are more common in certain breeds and conformations show that a dog’s genetics play a role in the development of bone tumors. This link between conformational biology and the biology of canine bone tumors offers valuable opportunities for further study of how bone tumors develop and how they might be treated in the future.
Osteosarcoma can affect any breed of dog. However, owners of high-risk breeds should pay special attention for signs of the disease. This includes lameness and pain, bony swelling, and dog owners should consult their veterinarian if they have any concerns.
Dr. Grace Edmunds, Clinical Veterinary Research Fellow and lead author at Bristol Veterinary School, said, “As a veterinarian, my focus is always on improving animal welfare by looking outside to find new therapies for their diseases. With osteosarcoma affecting adolescents as well, it is extremely exciting that by understanding the biology of bone tumors and working with my staff in human cancer research, we can make a difference for canine and cancer patients. “
Dr. Dan O’Neill, lecturer in companion animal epidemiology at the RVC, added: “There are growing concerns about the wisdom of breeding dogs with extreme body shapes, such as: B. Flat-faced breeds such as French Bulldogs or long-backed breeds such as Dachshunds.
“This study sheds light on the health risks of another extreme body shape – tall height. The breeds with the highest risk of osteosarcoma were large breeds such as the Rottweiler, Great Dane, and Mastiff. To reduce the risk of picking a dog that may develop bone cancer, owners may need to consider choosing puppies from smaller parents of these giant breeds, or opting for several smaller breeds instead. “
Professor Rachel Errington of Cardiff University said, “As a cancer researcher at the School of Medicine, this study shows that we can propose similar questions in human and canine diseases to identify new therapies and diagnoses for both, and this is an exciting opportunity to join together in a diverse group of professionals. “
The research team is currently developing a project that will sequence specific genes in vulnerable and protected breeds for osteosarcomas to identify the genetic pathways that cause bone tumors to develop from normal bone. By identifying such pathways, new or older, reused drugs can be used to see if results in the treatment of canine bone tumors can be improved.
Dr. Grace Edmunds and Helen Winter, members of the study team, will meet with cancer dog owners and younger patients with cancer as part of a One Health approach. You would appreciate contact from patients or dog owners who wish to participate in this research.
“Dog Breeds and Body Conformations Predisposed to Osteosarcoma in the UK: A Case-Control Study” by G. Edmunds et al. (2021) in Canine Medicine and Genetics [open access]