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I don't know what to do...
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19 September 2017 - 5:13 pm
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Hi everyone, here is my first post. I have been bawling for 4 days straight. Sorry. It's a long one. 

August 23rd we noticed our sweet, gentle giant, Rocco had been limping for a few days. We figured it was a sprain because this guy really has a fury for chasing the squirrels in our backyard. Doc poked around lifted and bended and prescribed metacam and told us to monitor the limp. So the 10 day cycle of meds ran out and Rocco was still limping. We took him back on a Saturday when our regular vet wasn't in because we couldn't stand seeing him in the pain.

She took an Xray, came back in the room and said this looks like bone cancer, and considering he has a spindle cell tumour on his back leg and now this in his front, I would euthanize this dog.  BAM. a shot to the heart. Just like that. So cold. So fast. My world came crumbling down. I immediately had to leave and get in the car and I've been crying ever since. 

Monday we went back to talk to our regular vet. He gave us a little more comforting news and a slight glimmer of hope. He said it does look like bone cancer but there's a possibility it could be Osteomyelitis as well.

We can't know for sure unless we do a biopsy. Here is where the problem is. Seems like a no brainer. Duh. Get the biopsy. But we asked him the illusive question... what would you Do!? 

He shed some interesting light on the situation. He said the location of the bone problem is not typical in where osteosarcoma would be. And just because he has that spindle cell tumour on his back leg does not mean it's connected. It might not be the most ethical because we don't have a proper diagnosis but I might start him on anti biotics for the infection. See if it helps, if after a few weeks it's not doing anything for him then let's go for a biopsy.

Now Rocco is way more of a couch potato than he used to be obviously because of the pain, but he is still in great spirits, still gets up to play, still wants to go in the backyard to chase squirrells, still eating, .. just all with his leg up. If he were to get an amp. I don't think he'd have trouble adjusting. Just saying. 

The right thing to do, going by the books, would be to biopsy right away for a straight diagnosis, but We really trust his opinion and are stuck wondering if we should try the antibiotics before going through with the pain and recovery route. 

I don't know. I just don't know. This is all so sudden and so hard to deal with. 

Rocco is the light on our gloomy days, our goofy goober, our best friend who always greets us with a smile at the door even when we just went to take the trash out. I don't even know how I dried my eyes enough to write this all. 

Some advice, anything is greatly appreciated. 😔

Livermore, CA
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19 September 2017 - 9:01 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry you and Rocco are dealing with so much!

Some more information might be helpful-

Tell us more about the spindle cell tumor on the back leg. When diagnosed and how? What is the status of that tumor- have you done any treatment? How big is Rocco and how old?

Have you seen an oncologist? If you haven't I would recommend that you see one ASAP. Often times OSA can be diagnosed just with xrays.  Many people will forgo the biopsy because it is very painful and sometimes inconclusive.  Another question- how damaged is the bone?  Even if it is a bone infection will the bone recover? 

Try and put that vet out of your mind.  Some tend to shoot pretty straight and don't have much of a 'bedside' manner.  I'm sorry you had to hear bad news that way, but you are past that now and back with your regular vet.

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

The Rainbow Bridge

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19 September 2017 - 9:01 pm
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Christina and Rocco, welcome. I'm on my phone but wanted to get your post approved. Will be back in the AM but for now my main question is, are either of these vets an oncologist? If not that is where I would go next before doing anything else, including a biopsy.

Till then be sure to visit Jerry's Required Reading List for some thoughts and tips about life on 3. More to come... 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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20 September 2017 - 7:18 am
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Hi guys and thanks for a speedy reply. Both vets we've seen are not oncologists. And the closest oncologist to us is 2 hours away. 

I'm a little scared to take Rocco that far, he gets so excited for car rides and never wants to sit down, and ends up wobbling everywhere. I'm worried he'd end up damaging his leg even more. 

But at this point, maybe that's a risk I have to take? 

I'm sorry my first post is a little scattered, and probably all of them will be. Can't seem to find my right mind these days. 

He had a tumour on his leg for a year or so, and each time we went to the vet they just told us to keep an eye on it and if it changes to bring him back in... well it never changed, and it still hasn't. But when this limp started we told them we wanted it checked anyways. And that's when we found out it's spindle cell. So they want to remove the tumour but are now worried about taking care of the front leg first. 

Rocco is a 6 year old Doberman. His back leg with the tumour is literally skin and bones. They are worried about having enough tissue to close the wound once it's removed. And that is a WHOLE other can of worms we have to consider when treating his front. What if we treat the front and end up amputating then they can't close the back. It will all have been for nothing a huge amounts of money spent to have to make that tough decision because what quality of life would that be? 

I feel so guilty. We should have had that back tumour checked right away. But we let it go because it has never changed and furthermore it has never bothered him in the slightest. Now I feel awful because I should have just checked it. I should have just checked it!!! 😢😔

The Rainbow Bridge

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20 September 2017 - 8:52 am
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Christina please don't blame yourself for any of this, it's not your fault. Vets who say "wait" on a tumor like that do a great disservice to both the human and the dog. See Dr. Sue's Don't Wait, Aspirate campaign. Yes, it should have been aspirated long ago but that is NOT your fault. How were you to know? This is one of those awful learning experience that only makes you smarter and tougher and will benefit your pup in the long run. We have all been there, trust me.

What country are you in? Just curious. If you have an oncologist, please do go for the opinion, it can change everything for the better hopefully. Is there anyone who can help keep Rocco calm while you drive? We use an Anxiety Cap with our Wyatt sometimes when we drive, it's a life saver and he is so much calmer with it.

Again, please don't blame yourself OK? The important thing is you are moving forward with making the best decisions for Rocco. He knows that you are trying to help. Be strong and know that no matter what, he will never blame or be angry at you OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Livermore, CA
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20 September 2017 - 1:46 pm
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We do the best with what we are told.  You can't change how you got to this point so put all that aside and use your energy to find the best way forward for you and Rocco.

A two hour drive is very worth it in my opinion to see an oncologist.  I like Jerry's idea of maybe having someone go with you to help keep Rocco calm.

My Pug Maggie lost her leg to a mast cell tumor.  She had a MCT removed from her side about 6 months earlier and I should have been carefully checking her for lumps since that first tumor.  I was kicking myself for not finding the tumor in her knee sooner but no one told me that if she had one tumor she was prone to more.  Knowing what I know now it seems like a no-brainer but when Maggie had her first tumor it was the first time I had even heard that a dog could get cancer.  I beat myself up for awhile but finally realized that I couldn't change the past and Maggie needed me in the present.

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

Virginia
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20 September 2017 - 3:09 pm
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Just catching up!  You've certainly gotten some great advice and support from Jerry and Karen

And just to add to the chorus, this place is full of...no, not poopicon_png...full of shudda...wudda...cudda!   Sooo many  Vets out there do the "just watch the lump apprach and, if there are any changes, bring em in" approach.  Most of my Vets too.  That's pretty much been  standrd protocol and still is much of the time.  It's only until you've been on this journey do you have a different view of the way you want lumps checked out.  And ya know what, if you'd had it checked way back then, it may have still been just a cyst anyway at the time.   So yeah, spend no more energy on that.....moving forward!

As far as a biopsy for the osteo, so very, very often we find them to be inconclusive anyway and often very painful.

 Most Oncos have a Radiologist who can review the xrays and make a fairly good determination.  Not always, but usually.   Y speakr with an Onco, you can get some really good insight I to so e approaches you can take if you have ro deal with BOTH legs.  Obviously, amputation is the "best" option of the front leg to remove the pain of it is Osteo.  Perhaps an Onco may be able to come up with some other treatment protocols to deal with the spi dle cell that may not involve the surgery. 

Are either of the Vets you spoke with Orthopedic Surgeons?  An Orthopedic Surgeon may see the required surgery (if that's the case) in a less severe way.   I know sometimes skin grafts are used.

You'll want chest xrays also.

I know we're throwing out more questions than answers! You are doing an excellent job of gathering information and then you can make a more informed dece from a place of knowledge. And finances certainly have to be considered by almost allmof us and they weigh heavy in our decision sometimes, so we get that!

When you can, update us with where you are in your thought process.

And as far as that first Vet.....grrrr....., NEVER go back to that ine again!!

Lots of hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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22 September 2017 - 12:53 pm
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Thank you everyone for your replies. It's comforting to know you guys are here with great advice/experience and that I am not alone. 

We have made an appointment with the oncologist. The soonest we can get is October 5th, 2 weeks from now. Which feels like an eternity. 

Right now Rocco is on metacam and tramadol. Do you think this is good enough to manage the pain in the meantime? 

We are in Ontario, Canada. Referred to the University of Guelph. 

If anyone is from around here and dealt with this and the UofG, please let me know. 

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4 October 2017 - 10:27 pm
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Well, tomorrow is our appointment with the oncologist. It has been long awaited, the last 2 weeks have felt like 2 years!

Rocco has good days and bad days.

Today has been a bad day. He hasn't moved from his couch since 12pm. It is now 12:30am. He ate a little of what we gave him until he went to lay on his bed, he hasn't eaten or drank anything since. His eyes look so sad. I can't sleep. All I want to do do is stay near him and be there for him through all of this.

My heart feels like its breaking in a million pieces, more and more everyday. There was one night last week I really thought was his last. Same activity level as today, no food, no drink, and shaking in his sleep. I felt so helpless. But then the next day came and he was up and at 'em, chasing the squirrels, playing soccer with my son, eating and drinking - a total 360, that was a good day, and it saddens me to have to count good vs. bad days when he deserves nothing but good days at his young age.

All I can do is give him his meds, cuddle and spoil him while we wait for tomorrow.

I'm really living on a prayer here for tomorrow.

I will update here after our appointment tomorrow.

The Rainbow Bridge

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5 October 2017 - 7:55 am
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Hey Christina, look at that, it's HERE!

We hope all goes great today and the onco has good news and recommendations. The University is fantastic, you guys will have the best care. Let is know what they say. 

You are making all the best choices for Rocco because you are making them with love in your heart and his well-being as your #1 goal. Whatever happens, remember there are no right or wrong choices here as long as you follow your instincts. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia
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5 October 2017 - 10:37 am
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Just want to send you and Rocco some extra hugs and pawsitive thoughts!

Sending you kots of hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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5 October 2017 - 3:02 pm
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I see today was a big day for you.  I hope everything goes well.  I'm supposed to be a tough old carpenter but I feel the same as you.  Last night I thought I heard my Charlie wimper about 3 in the morning.  Maybe he didn't but something woke me up.  I laid down on the floor next to him and slept there the rest of the night.

We love our companions.

Best of luck

Livermore, CA
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5 October 2017 - 3:27 pm
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I hope you get some good information and options from the vet today.  I'll be looking for an update.

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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6 October 2017 - 2:28 pm
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Well there's no bones about it, it's osteosarcoma. Sorry for the bad pun. 

We have elected to amputate and Rocco will be having surgery Tuesday morning. 

In the meantime they have added a third pain killer to the list, he is now also on gabapentin, which has actually really increased his overall mood. Guess he needed the extra boost. 

I'd like to learn more about using this site for our journey. I'm not too computer savvy but I'm sure I'll find my way around. 

We may not have him for a long time, but it sure as heck will be a good time! 

I'm still on a downer, but for now I'm riding on a small high that my gentle giant will be pain free soon. 

Livermore, CA
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6 October 2017 - 7:42 pm
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It's great they added gaba, it really seems to help post op when the pup is on it pre-surgery.

I'm sorry you got the diagnosis confirmed, even when it is expected it is hard to hear.

You can try the START HERE page to learn more about navigating this site. 

We may not have him for a long time, but it sure as heck will be a good time!

Absolutely!  This attitude with go a long way in dealing with this tough journey.

Let us know what questions you come up with, and keep us posted on the surgery.

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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