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Triumphant Tripawd Tales: Fortis

In January, 2010, doctors didn’t think Fortis would make a good Tripawd.

Trying to envision 10 year-old, 150 pound Cane Corso living life as a canine amputee while battling bone cancer, was difficult for Fortis’ vet to imagine.  He only gave Fortis a “4” out of “10” in rating him as a candidate for amputation.

But Fortis’ Dad, Brett, knew better. He knew that Fortis had the drive and enthusiasm to face any obstacle, head on and with dignity. “Fortis,” says Brett, “Is my hero, my best friend, and I love him more than words permit. He is a fighter for sure. . .”

Nearly one year later, Fortis has beaten the odds, despite a leg injury and even after lung mets were discovered.

Fortis celebrated his 11 month ampuversary yesterday.

On behalf of this entire community, we send our love and biggest hoppy dances out to Fortis in Austin, Texas!

How Fortis Fights Cancer

We asked Brett if he could share some of the facts surrounding Fortis’ diagnosis, treatments, and his overall philosophy for coping with bone cancer. Here’s what he had to say:

Type of cancer: Osteosarcoma

Diagnosed: 01/23/2010, right rear leg amputated on February 3, 2010.

Age: 10 yrs

Chemo Treatments? Chemo was not given mainly for two reasons. First, I wasn’t totally convinced of its effectiveness. Secondly, Fortis injured his remaining knee shortly after his surgery.

I was not going to put him through another surgery. I felt there was a high likelihood that his body would fail him before the cancer reappeared.

Of course, I was wrong and this hasn’t been the case. So now, I am left with wonder as to whether I made the right choice. I have really struggled with this subject. I go back and forth on how I feel about chemo. I’m not positive I even know for sure what I would decide today if the journey was just beginning.

Lung Mets Discovered: 08/13/2010

Medications: NSAID’s Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Piroxicam, Fentanyl Patch and Tramadol (for post surgery pain relief), Zeniquin and Cephalexin (Antibiotics), Beano and Pepcid AC (for gas and upset stomach), Prednisolone (started on 09/03/2010 “lung met burst”). Accupunture and chiropractic treatments (monthly).

No side effects.

Fortis’ Diet and Supplements? Wellness Core Grain Free Kibbles (main diet), Wellness wellbites and biscuits, NB Beef log, raw meat (as snacks and treats), Glucosamine (Joints), K-9 Immunity, K9 Transfer Factor, K9 Omega (Initially were given).

What Do You Contribute Fortis’ Longevity To?

I suppose I would most contribute Fortis’ longevity to love, prayer and the stress free environment we have tried so hard to give him.

Secondly, early detection and the amputation. The amputation removed the main tumor and Fortis’ end would have surely come much earlier otherwise.

I also feel the chiropractic and acupuncture treatments have helped to keep him as mobile as possible.

Lastly, I feel an active lifestyle has greatly contributed to his longevity.

The consistent swimming, car rides, trips to the park, and outdoor time around the house has aided in weight control, muscle tone, and most importantly an energetic, alert and high spirited Fortis in my opinion!

Brett and Fortis’ Advice for Coping with Bone Cancer

My advice would be to educate yourself and your family as much as possible.

Tripawds is not only a great source of information but the compassion and support of this wonderful community will give you strength and comfort during the tough times.

Seek second opinions when possible and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Knowledge is your greatest defense against fear, guilt, and worry. Don’t let these emotions rob you of your joy and happiness. Remember, there are no right or wrong choices.

12 Responses to “Triumphant Tripawd Tales: Fortis”

  1. My 6 year old Cane Corso passed away last month from osteosarcoma. By the time he was diagnosed, it was too late. 🙁 Now a month later my other 8 year old Cane Corso has been diagnosed with the same thing!!! We caught it early. The tumor is in the back right leg and it hasn’t spread anywhere else. She’s 130 lbs. I can’t imagine how she can get around on 3 limbs…however, Fortis did it. Not sure which route to take…amputation, chemo, or radiation. Any ideas or comments would be helpful

  2. What a nice surprise to see Fortis as a feature even if he is dressed as “Farmer Fortis”!

  3. Congratulations to Fortis and Brett!
    Brett, don’t second guess the chemo decision. I just happened to be talking to a co-worker earlier this afternoon and told him that if I found myself in the same situation again, I would refuse the chemo and focus on the diet and supplements. It’s not scientific, but it seems like the dogs that get the holistic treatment fare better, i.e. live longer.

    When Opie’s biopsy of the lymph nodes came back, his vet was visibly excited and happy and said that 90% of dogs that show no evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes live beyond a year and that is without chemo treatment. I wanted a chance at that other 10% and went with the chemo. Opie lived 6 months.

    Although I know there are no wrong answers, if anyone where to ask me what I would do different, it would have been to skip the chemo and use the $3000 to take Opie someplace where he could schwimm (Opie was a tripawd during the hard water months), and buy food that was carb-free and use the K9 Immunity and Transfer Factor.

    My two cents! Long live King Fortis!
    Nancy (Spirit Opie and Earthly Mattie’s mom)

  4. Kim Johnsen and Lily January 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Congratulations Fortis and Otto. Our Lily will be celebrating her 2 year ampuversary on Feb. 10th & we look forward to celebrating 3 years like Otto.

  5. Your Fortis and our Gotti…both being handsome Tripawd Cane Corso’s have both endured the same disease, at the same time and with the same dignity! I was so taken by this story because it couldn’t have been any more mirrored to what we’ve gone through this past year with Gotti after he was diagnosed with and Osteosarcoma tumor in his right front distal radius in Jan 2010 and became an amputee in Feb 2010 and has been trucking on ever since! Thanks for sharing Brett & Fortis’ story as we thought we were the only ones during this past Christmas and New Year hugging our miracle dog and counting the blessings we’d been granted in bonus days with our Gotti Boy. Thanks for sharing and we pray that Fortis and Gotti continue the good fight so we can share many more days together loving them up!

    • Gotti has passed on 3/4/2011, We Loved him very much and now we miss him everyday. God bless you Gotti, We LOVE you and will never forget you!

      Mo

  6. Fortis!!! Our Texas Tripawd Hero!!! Congrats dude on the 11 month ampuversary! You keep on truckin’ and kickin’ that cancer right where it hurts!!! 🙂

    We love you!

    Tracy & Maggie

  7. Wow Brett!!! That’s just awesome!!! Your Fortis has journeyed the same path as we have with our almost 7 year old 125lb Cane Corso…Gotti Boy!! As with that strong boy Fortis, our Gotti was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on January 13, 2010 in his right front distal radius and had the leg amputated on February 15, 2010 to remove the tumorous leg and source of his pain. He took several weeks to completely mend and was a cautious boy for quite a while but with constant care and meds Gotti too has lead almost a full year of happy life while living with cancer. We also opted not to take the chemo route as we didn’t feel the odds were in our favor from all we’d read about it so its worked out as best as we can. We did find lung mets via Xray in Sept 2010 but he has shown no signs of their progression. We have unfortunately found another suspicious lump on his remaining front leg and fear it is that horrible cancer settling into another limb but like you Brett, we feel blessed to have had our Gotti this extra year, our vet gave us the worst case scenario and we didn’t think we’d all be together thus far but the bonus time has been a blessing to say the least. We hope your Fortis continues to fight the good fight and is able to enjoy many more days to come with you. So nice to hear positives when it comes to this horrible disease…Gotti says Go Fortis! Keep kicking butt!! Blessings to you both!:)

  8. Nancy Stephenson January 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Fortis is my hero! He is such a handsome boy. And a great swimmer. Congratulations, Fortis, on your 11-month ampuversary.

    Spirit James’ Mom, Nancy

  9. Brenda Mikolajczyk January 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    great story – love Fortis !!
    My Otto – 110 lb german shepherd just celebrated his 3 year ampiversary – we never did chemo and he just has x-rays last week and is still cancer free !!

    We have wonderdogs !

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