Primary bone cancer in Leonbergers may be associated with a higher bodyweight during adolescence

Prev Vet Med. 2015 Apr 1;119(1-2):48-53. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.02.003. Epub 2015 Feb 14.


Weight-bearing stress may be a risk factor for both human and canine primary bone cancer. A cohort of Leonbergers (LB) was followed from birth to death and the cause of death recorded. We hypothesised that dogs dying due to primary bone cancer would be larger; measured by bodyweight (BW) and the circumference of the distal radius and ulna (CDRU) than those of the same breed that died of other causes. Information obtained from breeders, owners and veterinary surgeons were questionnaire-based. The dogs were examined by a veterinary surgeon at pre-specified "observational ages" (3, 4, 6, 12, 18, and 24 m). Data were recorded, including BW and CDRU. The study population consisted of 196 LB, 9 of which died due to primary bone cancer (6 males, 3 females). Individual growth curves, showing BW and CDRU during the first 2 years of life, were made for these 9 dogs and compared to gender-specific mean values for LB that died from other causes. These curves showed that LB succumbing to primary bone cancer generally had a higher BW during the growth period than the remaining dogs, and that this difference appeared to be largest in the male LB. Male LB that developed primary bone cancer later in life also had a larger CDRU during most part of this period, as compared to those that did not develop this disease. Logistic regression showed a statistically significant effect of BW on the odds ratio of developing primary bone cancer at 12 m and 18 m and of CDRU at 18 m, and a Poisson regression verified consistency of these results. At these ages, an increase in BW of 1 kg yielded a nearly 20% higher risk of developing primary bone cancer, while a 1 cm larger CDRU was associated with a nearly 70% increased risk. These findings support that weight-bearing stress during the period of high proliferative activity in the long bones associated with growth may increase the risk of canine primary bone cancer.

Keywords: Bone cancer; Breed; Growth; Osteosarcoma; Risk.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dog Diseases / physiopathology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Osteosarcoma / epidemiology*
  • Osteosarcoma / etiology
  • Osteosarcoma / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Species Specificity