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Boxer just turned 8. Just diagnosed with bone cancer, now researching options
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22 November 2017 - 12:33 pm
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Our boy boxer, who turns 8 in a week or so, has been diagnosed with bone cancer; a tumor in his front arm. I’m devastated. He’s been limping for a couple of weeks, and we had a second set of X-rays done today. 

In a nutshell, we were told that we could pursue consultation with the vet oncologist and amputate the limb and undergo chemo or we could just keep him comfortable until his time comes in the coming weeks/months. She made it sound like he would go downhill rather quickly. 

He's still eating and drinking water. He’s not the young pup he once was, but he’s still very much alive. He wanted to play this morning.

For an otherwise healthy boxer what’s the difference in amputation only vs amputation and chemo. I don’t want him to suffer. I’m so heartbroken and torn.

I need guidance and advice. I’m calling the oncologist soon to set up an appt. 

The Rainbow Bridge

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22 November 2017 - 2:20 pm
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Hey folks welcome. I'm in the Tripawds Chat Room right now if you want to talk. Back in a sec...

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge

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22 November 2017 - 2:27 pm
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I'm so sorry about the diagnosis. What's your doggie's name?

Good move to get an expert to go over his case. You're right, eight is not old and it sounds like has a lot of living to do. Yes, bone cancer (I'm assuming you meant osteosarcoma?) has a depressing prognosis but we have seen many dogs outlive those odds, and quite a few Boxers too! Even those who didn't go the traditional chemo route. So yes, talk to the oncologist and get all the information you need to make a decision that you can feel comfortable with. 

Here's a list of questions that you may find useful:

Questions to Ask Your Veterinary Oncologist

 what’s the difference in amputation only vs amputation and chemo. 

Statistically speaking chemotherapy will give him a better chance at beating the odds. But it is by no means a guarantee that he will. We've seen lots of dogs beat the odds with AND without going the chemo route. Our Jerry lived two years without any IV chemo, others have gone longer. Some have not, sadly.

The important thing right now is to alleviate the pain he is in. Even though he's eating and even playful, keep in mind that dogs are exceptional at hiding pain (all animals are really). That tumor eating away at his leg will soon become extremely painful and be prone to a fracture at the slightest impact. You really want to make the amputation decision first, before you're in that stressful situation.

Also keep in mind there is also radiation therapy as an option. It's more costly than amputation and can prolong a great quality of life for dogs who aren't amputation candidates, but it's often a temporary fix for this cancer.

Be sure to check out Jerry's Required Reading List too. You'll find that there IS hope after a diagnosis! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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22 November 2017 - 3:04 pm
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jerry said
I'm so sorry about the diagnosis. What's your doggie's name?

Good move to get an expert to go over his case. You're right, eight is not old and it sounds like has a lot of living to do. Yes, bone cancer (I'm assuming you meant osteosarcoma?) has a depressing prognosis but we have seen many dogs outlive those odds, and quite a few Boxers too! Even those who didn't go the traditional chemo route. So yes, talk to the oncologist and get all the information you need to make a decision that you can feel comfortable with. 

Here's a list of questions that you may find useful:

Questions to Ask Your Veterinary Oncologist

 what’s the difference in amputation only vs amputation and chemo. 

Statistically speaking chemotherapy will give him a better chance at beating the odds. But it is by no means a guarantee that he will. We've seen lots of dogs beat the odds with AND without going the chemo route. Our Jerry lived two years without any IV chemo, others have gone longer. Some have not, sadly.

The important thing right now is to alleviate the pain he is in. Even though he's eating and even playful, keep in mind that dogs are exceptional at hiding pain (all animals are really). That tumor eating away at his leg will soon become extremely painful and be prone to a fracture at the slightest impact. You really want to make the amputation decision first, before you're in that stressful situation.

Also keep in mind there is also radiation therapy as an option. It's more costly than amputation and can prolong a great quality of life for dogs who aren't amputation candidates, but it's often a temporary fix for this cancer.

Be sure to check out Jerry's Required Reading List too. You'll find that there IS hope after a diagnosis!   

His name is Bear, and, goodness, he’s the best boy. He has a sister from the same litter that we also have, named Bella. 

Michigan
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22 November 2017 - 3:50 pm
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Murphy was 7 when he was diagnosed.  He was a retriever mix and had a different type of bone cancer, histiocytic sarcoma, which can be quite aggressive.  He had already been limping for about 5 months by the time he had surgery due to a misdiagnosis, then we had to wait for an appointment for a 2nd opinion, then a biopsy, etc.  When they finally made the diagnosis, we were told that he might have 12-18 months "if we were lucky."  Well, Murphy blew those statistics right out of the water!!  He lived to be 11 1/2 years old and spent over 4 years as a tripawd.  When we lost him this past June, there was not one bit of metastasis!  We actually lost him because of hemangiosarcoma.  

Murphy was one of the happiest dogs we've ever had!  He spread awareness and raised money in 3 different cancer walks.  We actually have a dog in the neighborhood who went ahead with amputation because of Murphy - they saw how well he got around, running the fence and acting normal.  So don't let statistics get to you!

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

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Livermore, CA
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22 November 2017 - 7:30 pm
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Hello and welcome, I'm sorry you had to find us due to cancer though.

Bear is very handsome! Is he black? I don't remember seeing a black boxer before.  I've had pugs for over 18 years, all black.

I think the vet really didn't give you all the options- I'm glad you are seeing and oncologist.  Chemo is not a requirement- statistically it does improve longevity, but around here we have seen many cases where pups who did not do chemo did well for extended periods. Some can't afford it, and some choose for various reasons not to do it. As Jerry said- the immediate concern is taking care of that painful leg.

I have a friend here who's Anatolian Shepard lost his front leg to OSA almost 9 YEARS AGO!  Cemil is his name and he did not do chemo.  This type of longevity is not common, but it does happen.  My first Tripawd lost a rear leg to mast cell cancer.  Maggie's prognosis was 6 to 9 months with chemo.  We did do the chemo, Maggie lived almost 4 years and did not pass from mast cell cancer.  BTW, I've gone through 3 cancers with 2 dogs and in all three cases chemo was recommended by and oncologist.  I did chemo in one case and declined in the other two. 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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23 November 2017 - 8:25 am
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Welcome and sorry you have to be here.  Vets tend to go by statistics.  We all go by our hearts and hope.  Our decision came down to knowing we had to try.  If we amputated we knew we would at the very least be able to get him out of the pain of walking around on that diseased leg and risking possible fracture.  We weren't one of the lucky ones to get that extended time with our Max, but everyday we did have with him was a blessing.  And when Max did go on to the bridge we had peace knowing we did all we could for our boy.  So many here blow those statistics out of the water.  I hope and pray your beautiful boy is one that does!

Linda & Spirit Mighty Max

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23 November 2017 - 10:53 am
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I'm so sorry you're going thru this.  Bear is gorgeous.  I'm a boxer lover - have had three and not too long ago lost my best buddy, Hooch, to a rare form of lymphoma.  He was 12 but he beat the odds - they gave him six weeks and he made it almost nine months.  He was not a candidate for chemo due to also suffering from boxer cardiomyopathy.   My beautiful Great Dane, Maddie, had her front leg amputated just over a month ago due to osteosarcoma.  We are still in the treatment phase and she's had some struggles but we do NOT regret amputating her leg.  Overall she did great with the surgery and recovery and we call her hopalong lol, because she's still learning to get on with three.  The pain relief was almost immediate and we saw her joy return even during the first days of her recovery.  Wish you and Bear the very best.  The people on this forum will hold your hand and help you along the way.  They got us thru some really rough days!

Bobbi & Maddie a/k/a ManiacMads

Front leg amputation 10/17/17 due to Osteosarcoma

She's Madeline, She's Madeline

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