Understanding and Successfully Treating Fibrosarcoma in Dogs.
Fibrosarcomas are generally slow growing but malignant spindle cell tumors, most often found in the connective tissue of the skin or just beneath the skin.
These tumors can be diverse in appearance and can look like many other different types of growths. They are also difficult to classify and are commonly grouped together due to their clinical presentation. There are several different names in addition to fibrosarcoma that you may hear when this category of tumors is discussed.
Neurofibromas, peripheral nerve sheath tumors, spindle cell tumors, schwannomas, and hemangiopericytomas are all names for fibrosarcoma-type tumors.
Fibrosarcomas are commonly found on or under the skin on the limbs of middle-aged to older male dogs of larger breeds.
While these tumors may be removed successfully, they frequently recur after surgery. It is rare that fibrosarcomas metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.
There are cases of an aggressive form of fibrosarcoma developing in dogs under 1 year of age. In these cases, the prognosis is usually poor.
Main Causes for Fibrosarcoma in Dogs
The cause of these tumors is not conclusive, and there’s actually little known about this type of cancer. There are some contributing factors such as cellular injury, carcinogens, infections and vaccinations that are commonly considered to play a role in the development.
In general, cancer tumors are the result of a genetic malfunction of the cells. Cancer is often the culmination of a series of circumstances that come together causing an immune dysfunction allowing disease to develop.
Fibrosarcoma is not extremely common in dogs, however there has been on the rise in recent years. This has been the case with many types of dog cancer and may is considered to be tied to the consumption of commercially processed foods and increased exposure to carcinogens and chemicals, which challenge the immune system.
Surgical removal is the treatment of choice, but because of the high likelihood of local recurrence, adjunctive radiation treatment is often needed.
A fine needle aspiration using a syringe if often used to withdraw cells in order to distinguish fibrosarcomas from other growths. A biopsy is then performed in order to discern the type of fibrosarcoma cells and what treatments will be most most effective.
The prognosis for fibrosarcoma in dogs will depend on many factors such as the location of the tumor, size, type of mutated cells, and if vaccinations are suspected as cause.
Fibrosarcomas have a high rate of recurrence and it’s common for tumors to return in the affected area. In cases where complete surgical removal is not possible, the prognosis will depend on how well the response is to radiation therapy.
Oral and vaccine associated sarcomas generally don’t tend to spread to distant areas, however both are very aggressive with local invasion. Usually a combination of surgery and radiation therapy offer the best prognosis in these cases.
Canine Fibrosarcoma Symptoms
Fibrosarcoma tumors are typically firm growths that adhere to the underlying tissue. They can appear as multiple nodules in the skin or mass beneath the skin. The skin growth may not be painful, and in aggressive cancers may ulcerate.
Dogs with oral fibrosarcomas in the mouth may have increased drooling, bloody oral discharge, difficulty swallowing and eating.
- Swelling of the bones
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty swallowing
- Signs of pain
- Signs of lamnesss
- Bad mouth odor
- Bleeding from the mouth
Fibrosarcoma in Bones
Fibrosarcoma is most commonly found in the connective tissue of the skin, and normally this type of tumor originates in the soft tissue. There are rare cases however, where fibrosarcoma tumor originates in the bone, weakening the structure of the bone, and possibly leading to fractures, and even amputation of the limb. In most cases fibrosarcoma of the bone is benign and non-metastasizing, but there are cases where the tumor is malignant and metastasizes throughout the body, into the organs, lymph nodes and skin.
Fibrosarcoma of the bone is similar to osteosarcoma, which is a more common form of cancer found in the bones. The main differences are in the make-up of the tumors. Where an osteosarcoma is made up of bone material, a fibrosarcoma is made up of fibrous collagen material. A biopsy of the tumor will confirm whether is shows production of bone material or not.
Fibrosarcoma Diet Treatment
Because recurrence is extremely high with fibrosarcoma in dogs, continuing diet treatment is crucial to assure the best chance at restoring health for the long term.
Conventional Treatments for Fibrosarcoma in Dogs
Surgical removal of the tumor is the most common treatment, and in many cases it can be very successful in eliminating the current threat. However, because recurrence is so common, additional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation are often administered.
Unfortunately many types of tumors grouped as fibrosarcomas, don’t tend to respond well to chemotherapy. For some types of skin fibrosarcomas in dogs, chemotherapy drugs such as Dacarbazine, Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide, and Carboplatin may offer some benefits.
When the complete removal of the affected area is not achieved, recurrence can be as high as 80%. For this reason, a surgical specialist is often recommended in cases where the location of the tumor offers challenges. With vaccine associated fibrosarcoma tumors, the rate of recurrence is over 90%.
Adjunctive radiation therapy is sometimes utilized to enhance the efficacy of the treatment. Radiation therapy can also be used as the primary treatment in dogs with oral fibrosarcoma where surgery is difficult or not possible.
Holistic Treatments for Fibrosarcoma in Dogs
Holistic Veterinarians and health practitioners seem to have a little better understanding of the philosophy of “treating the patient” not just the disease. They tend take into account the unique circumstances of that particular dog, as well as what’s leading to the illness or disease.
A tumor or any disease is the result of an underlying issue (the cause). That issue needs to be addressed in order achieve and maintain remission. This along with promoting the body’s ability to heal itself, are the main aspects of holistic approaches.
It’s important to understand that many conventional treatments do have some undeniable benefits, but they also have their limitations. To fully realize their potential, they must combined with a holistic approach that promotes health as well. This is especially true with fibrosarcoma in dogs, as recurrence is so high.
The body has a remarkable ability to heal itself. In fact, it’s only the body and the immune system that can heal itself. This fundamental aspect of nature must be recognized and honored by promoting its ability to heal. Only then do we have the highest chance at attaining and maintaining remission.
The proper diet with powerful immune boosting herbs and cancer fighting supplements offer the best to address and alleviate the underlying causes, while promoting cell recovery and deterring future fibrosarcoma tumors from developing.
Just as the improper diet can cause complications that lead to disease, a holistic cancer diet treatment can work to help reverse those issues. There has been some cases where fibrosarcoma has been slowed down and even gone into remission with holistic treatments alone. As with many types of cancer, it’s hard to find a case of a dog beating the odds, where diet wasn’t a main component.
Is it a Case of Faulty Genes?
In the vast majority of cases, absolutely not. Some types of cancer are more common it certain breeds as and larger breeds tend to be more predisposed to fibrosarcoma. However, it’s important to understand that predisposed does not mean predetermined! Genetics are a factor, but there are many other factors as well.
For cancer, or any disease to develop, a dysfunction in the immune system must be present. So by addressing this area, we can greatly reduce illness regardless of what genetic challenges a certain breed has.
All that being said, when a breed is more predisposed, this simply means that when something is challenging the immune system, this is the weakest link that we often find the effects first.
Many dogs have these same “weak links” and go on to live a healthy full lives, while some unfortunately do not. Genes are merely blueprints, and it’s how well these these blueprints are properly built upon and maintained that makes the difference.
External factors such as dietary complications and toxins are a main factor in affecting the digestive tract and immune system, which are directly linked. This intern allows for the cells to be altered and cancer to develop.