Dog Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Veterinarian Reviewed on March 29, 2014 by Dr. Janice Huntingford

Dog Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Soft tissue sarcomas form in specific areas of a dog’s body. They form in connective tissue such as fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, smooth mussels and skeletal muscles. The areas that are most frequently affected are the skin and just below the surface. They can be benign or malignant. Each area of the dog’s body that is affected has a different type of tumor. Those in fatty tissue are Dog Liposarcoma, in the fibrous tissue they are fibrosarcoma and so on throughout the body. Soft tissue tumors are more prevalent in large dogs.


Diagnosis presents some problems due to the similarity to other tumors. A good history will help determine the type of tumor present. Fine needle aspirations are done to determine if the lump is a cyst, abscess or Dog Mast Cell Tumors. It is not the definitive method of diagnosis for this type of Dog Cancer. It is recommended that a biopsy be performed before treatment is initiated.

X-rays, blood tests and other studies are also recommended for final diagnosis. There have been instances of hypoglycemia in dogs with intestinal sarcomas. MRI and CT are often recommended as well before any surgical procedures are performed. It is important to determine if the cancer has spread to other organs before any surgical procedures are done.

Treatment Options

Controlling local tumors is the primary goal of the veterinarian. These tissues can be very aggressive. Surgery is the usual treatment. Dog Radiation Therapy is used if the entire tumor cannot be removed. The degree of advancement will also help in determining treatment.

Aggressive surgery is preferred due to the ability of the sarcoma to spread to surrounding tissue. Radiation will begin approximately one week after surgery in the hope of preventing an amputation of an affected limb.

Home care

Controlling pain and maintaining adequate nutrition are the responsibility of the dog owner. Your vet will prescribe Dog Pain medication and it should be given as ordered. By preventing your dog from having severe pain, you should observe them for changes in behavior and activity levels. If the pain is not adequately handled, it can interfere with your dog’s healing and recovery. Their quality of life becomes much lower and you will have a more difficult time easing the pain than you will by preventing it.

Diet and Nutrition

Dog Weight Loss is a common side effect of cancer. Your dog will not want to eat and so will consequently lose weight. This can be due to the physical involvement of the tumor or to the pain caused by the tumor. Cancer can also interfere with the dog’s metabolism. The treatment of the cancer can also have an effect on your dog’s appetite which could lead to Dog Loss of Appetite. Surgery, Dog Cancer Chemotherapy and other therapies can cause pain and other discomforts. By maintaining proper nutrition you can avoid many post operative complications and shorten the healing time of your pet.

During your dog’s course of treatment, it is important to confer with the veterinary oncologist. These conferences should include dietary needs and plans. Your dog will need a quality protein to enhance healing and carbohydrates to maintain energy – these are the basis of most Dog Cancer Diets. Poor nutrition also interferes with the immune system and with the metabolism. Your ability to comfort your dog is the most important points of their treatment.

Suggested Products

Cancer Support Kit for Dogs
Nu-Pet Vitamin and Anti-Oxidant Wafers for Dogs

Additional Dog Cancer Pages

Dog Cancer | Dog Skin Cancer | Dog Bladder Cancer | Dog Pancreatic Cancer | Dog Bone Cancer | Dog Cancer Prevention | Dog Cancer Diagnosis | Dog Lymphoma Cancer | Dog Myxosarcoma | Dog Mast Cell Tumors

Read also: Dog Arthritis
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Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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