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Newly Diagnosed Osteosarcoma
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21 January 2018 - 8:30 am
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Hello!

We are new to Tripawds and somewhat overwhelmed. We received the news that our vibrant, playful, fun, loving, energetic Yogi most likely has Osteosarcoma in his right front humerus this past week. We are holding on performing a bone biopsy at the moment as we are still considering radiation as treatment. Yogi is a Rottweiler and will be 7 in April.

The vet performed a 3 view chest x-ray, one of the views showed possible metastatic nodules but could also have been artifact since it was only seen in one view.

Yogi limps and bears less weight in his right paw but he is still happy and playful! 

We are considering amputation as an option (only after we confirm diagnosis via biopsy if we choose to forego radiation) and have turned to Tripawds for information, education and support.

A few questions/thoughts that we would appreciate advice/insight on!

1. We are having a hard time deciding that amputation is for Yogi- as he is limping but still happy and playful! We did take him on his typical walk yesterday and at the end we could tell that it was too much for him, as he did not bear weight on his right pawsadIt is hard for us to know how much pain he is in- He is a stoic dog and tends to ignore pain/discomfort. We don't want to prematurely make the decision to amputate if he is currently happy.

2. He is a happy, vibrant, playful, energetic boy! Our fear is that if we choose to amputate, he will wake up from surgery and not be the same. We understand that the first few weeks of recovery would be difficult. We are afraid that after the recovery he may not be the same. 

3. We have a lot of steps in our house. We understand that initially he will not be able to do steps. I have seen videos of Tripawds successfully/comfortably tackling stairs once they have recovered. I guess I still have a fear of how he will handle the steps.

4. If we choose to amputate, we would most likely follow with chemotherapy. How have your dogs handled chemotherapy?

Thank you! We are happy that we have found you!

<3 Yogi, Ilana and Josh

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21 January 2018 - 12:29 pm
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Hello Yogi & family, welcome. We're glad you found us and hope to help you through your journey, no matter which course you choose to take. Remember, there are no right or wrong choices. 

I'll try to address your concerns as you listed them:

did not bear weight on his right pawsadIt is hard for us to know how much pain he is in

If a dog limps, he is in pain. Animals will do whatever it takes to hide pain and osteosarcoma is one of the worst pains imaginable. Once they show pain, acting quickly is a must.

Our fear is that if we choose to amputate, he will wake up from surgery and not be the same.

People have a hard time, animals do not. They move on, they don't look back or mourn the loss. Once the leg is gone the vast majority of animals go on to have a great quality of life, keeping all of their personality intact . What can affect his post-op recovery is attitude. When a human is the one in mourning, the animal will pick up on their emotions and reflect them right back. They are mirrors of what we are feeling. So the stronger and more optimistic and hopeful the human is, the better the animal responds. Attitude is everything.

I guess I still have a fear of how he will handle the steps.

You can learn how to assist him up and down using a Webmaster harness . It's an invaluable tool that we recommend having when you have indoor stairs. In time he'll learn how to navigate but you'll want to play it safe indefinitely and make sure he's supervised on stairs. Baby gates are a must to block them off when you're not around to help. It's really not a big deal though, you'll be so surprised at how well he does, provided that the stairs have some kind of traction .

How have your dogs handled chemotherapy?

Every dog is different but the vast majority will only have a minor and temporary loss of appetite and lethargy. It doesn't last long and rarely requires any kind of hospitalization. We opted out of chemo so I'll let others share their experiences here.

I hope this helps. I know it seems impossible to picture Yogi in three legs but you've seen how well the dogs and cats do as Tripawds, they are far more remarkable than we ever imagine.

Keep us posted and let us know what you decide!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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21 January 2018 - 12:39 pm
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yogi said
Hello!

We are new to Tripawds and somewhat overwhelmed. We received the news that our vibrant, playful, fun, loving, energetic Yogi most likely has Osteosarcoma in his right front humerus this past week. We are holding on performing a bone biopsy at the moment as we are still considering radiation as treatment. Yogi is a Rottweiler and will be 7 in April.

The vet performed a 3 view chest x-ray, one of the views showed possible metastatic nodules but could also have been artifact since it was only seen in one view.

Yogi limps and bears less weight in his right paw but he is still happy and playful! 

We are considering amputation as an option (only after we confirm diagnosis via biopsy if we choose to forego radiation) and have turned to Tripawds for information, education and support.

A few questions/thoughts that we would appreciate advice/insight on!

1. We are having a hard time deciding that amputation is for Yogi- as he is limping but still happy and playful! We did take him on his typical walk yesterday and at the end we could tell that it was too much for him, as he did not bear weight on his right pawsadIt is hard for us to know how much pain he is in- He is a stoic dog and tends to ignore pain/discomfort. We don't want to prematurely make the decision to amputate if he is currently happy.

Hi, we all know the feeling. It is the worst to think your sweet happy pet has been and will continue to suffer. Otis was diagnosed (by x Ray alone) on December 7. At that time, he had such a mild limp the previous two times he had been to vet for examination, everyone was shocked to see a tumor on the x-ray. He had limped off and on very mildly for some months but it was never severe. In December it became constant. We didn't know what to do, but finally I decided that I would regret it if we didn't give Otis a chance to hop on 3. His leg was amputated on January 8. His personality and happiness were normal in the month between diagnosis and amputation, but his limp did get worse, even with an arsenal of painkillers. I am happy we didn't wait a day longer. We chose to forego biopsy because we had already made the decision to amputate and I didn't need to know what exactly the tumor was (our surgeon sent the leg to the lab after amputation and we haven't received the pathology report but I'm not anxiously awaiting the results because it doesn't change our situation); it was painful and growing, and I felt terrible thinking that Otis suffered through what was probably terrible pain for much longer than we knew.

2. He is a happy, vibrant, playful, energetic boy! Our fear is that if we choose to amputate, he will wake up from surgery and not be the same. We understand that the first few weeks of recovery would be difficult. We are afraid that after the recovery he may not be the same. 

Yogi sounds like a lot of fun! Something you'll read on here a lot is "every dog is different", however the vast majority of these dogs seem to bounce back and have the same personality. You're removing a leg, not his brain! Otis had some rough days. I locked myself in the bathroom to cry one day.  Otis is incredibly athletic. We used to hike every weekend and I've seen him tackle terrain and obstacles that I never imagined he would do with such ease. On our worst day, when he wouldn't get out of bed, I felt sick. Even now, I'm sad we won't get to do our favorite hikes together, BUT I am also so happy with his progress. We are 13 days since his amputation and he has 1) learned he can still get on couch and bed (despite these being off limits), 2) shown us that it is still possible to dig a hole pretty quickly even if you only have one front leg and 3) that he will run again! If you check out our thread (Otis becomes a tripawd today) you can see our Flickr album and our newest video of him hopping through the yard.

I'll let others with more experience chime in on your other points...give Yogi some extra love from us.

Camille & Otis

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21 January 2018 - 3:47 pm
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Thank you for your thoughts and insight. It is incredibly helpful to hear from people that have experienced this firsthand and it is helpful to know that we are not alone!

We have an appointment with a Radiation Oncologist on Tuesday to gather more information and will make our decision after that. 

Some of our fears/thoughts of radiation therapy are

1. It will help with his pain temporarily but it will most likely come back, and may likely lead to an amputation

2. He may be at a higher risk to fracture and will most likely have to be on a low impact activity watch

3. Would he be happier having an amputation knowing that once he recovers he can play and hopefully run around, which we would be more nervous about him doing if we went with radiation therapy.

We would appreciate any thoughts/experiences on this as well!

It looks like Otis is doing great hopping around! Thanks for sharing the pics and video!

The Rainbow Bridge

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21 January 2018 - 4:18 pm
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Glad to be of help! Here's more feedback for you:

yogi said

1. It will help with his pain temporarily but it will most likely come back, and may likely lead to an amputation

Possibly. We know of many members who did well for longer than expected, and an equal amount who required an amputation sooner than everyone had hoped for. Hazel the Great Dane is a good example of the possibilities with radiation therapy. A vet recently told us that they are seeing dogs who had the amputation done live just as long on average as those who went through RT. 

2. He may be at a higher risk to fracture and will most likely have to be on a low impact activity watch

Yes, that's part of the trade off.

3. Would he be happier having an amputation knowing that once he recovers he can play and hopefully run around, which we would be more nervous about him doing if we went with radiation therapy.

You know this, but Yogi isn't aware of the options. All he wants is to feel better asap. He's a young dog with a lot of oomph left in him, so that's something to consider. We typically see RT done with older dogs with other issues, like Hazel.

Something else to consider, is the cost of radiation therapy. I understand that when given along with chemo, it can hover in the $10-$13K range, whereas amputation alone is in the under $4k range, generally. If the cost of RT will greatly impact your finances, assuming you don't have insurance, that's really something to consider. The less stress on Yogi, the better.

Hope this helps!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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22 January 2018 - 5:10 am
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Just to also give you a quick perspective on chemo: My dog had 5 chemo treatments, alternating between carboplatin and doxorubicin. I would do that again in a heartbeat. We didn’t have any side-effects whatsoever and chemo for dogs is a completely different dose than it is for humans, percentage-wise, as it is administered to prolong life and not to heal. -my vet said back then that he gets one dog with side-effects in about five years. 

Nonetheless I was scared but it turned out fine. SRT was out of the question for us because my dog was already in so much pain from the osteo that radiation wouldn’t have helped. After the initial recovery he went back to running and playing, more so than he did before the amp. You do worry in that situation too, though, because you always worry about the remaining leg... still, to see him pain-free, at least for a while, was more than worth it. 

Oh, and one thing that MAY be worth looking into are bisphosphonates . Maybe ask your vet about them, too. 

All the best

tina 

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

Green Bay, WI
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23 January 2018 - 9:41 am
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Jumping in with our experience....my Dobe, Nitro, was diagnosed with OSA at age 8 1/2. He was athletic, full of life, and we weren't ready to say goodbye; but were terrified that the leg would pathologically fracture (possibly when we weren't home). So we had his right front leg amputated in June 2014. Once we got past the initial recovery - which was a little ruff,I won't lie - he rocked life on 3 legs for over 3 years. We did 6 rounds of chemo (carboplatin) which he also sailed thru, with just one bout of nausea, for which he was given Cerenia). He could still run like the wind, go up and down our 12 steps with ease (and unassisted, eventually). Old age finally took him from us at age 11 1/2, not cancer. It was a rollercoaster journey at times, but we have no regrets. It really is harder on the humans like Jerry said, and hard to stay positive at times, but is imparitive to be so for you dog. I, too, would go outside, away from him when I needed to cry. 

Bottom line: dogs don't get depressed (like many people think they do) after surgery - that is usually due to pain meds; all they know is, their painful leg is not painful anymore.  They live each day in the now, hence our motto here at Tripawds...."Be More Dog ". Good luck as you move forward, get all the info you can, ask questions.  

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro 

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tr.....27_2_1.jpg

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

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23 January 2018 - 10:44 am
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First off, sorry you and Yogi had to get the dreaded diagnosis. It sucks. 

Yogi's plight sounds a lot like Rocky's. Right front leg. It was hard for me wrap my head around the cancer diagnosis (which was actually one year ago today) because Rocky was still full of energy and wanted to play. He just had a limp. How serious could that be? 

My answer, to go along with the others', to your questions: 

1. Rocky's limp got worse within a few weeks, to the point where I was worried the bone might fracture. Dogs are VERY stoic. Rocky never cried or whimpered or showed any sign of pain (other than limping), even when the vet stress tested his leg. If you're going to amputate, it's better to be proactive than to have it done in an emergency after the leg has fractured. 

2. That's a normal fear. Rocky did really well the first few days then took a bit of a dip about a week after the surgery (also normal). That didn't last long and within two weeks he was back to being himself, just with one less leg. My mom initially thought I made a bad decision, but two months after the amputation she told me there was no doubt Rocky was much happier with that bad leg gone. 

3. I have one flight of steps. It took maybe a month for Rocky to really get comfortable with them. He flew up them like always. I usually carried him down, although he did come down on his own a few times. With a front-legger, going down is going to be more difficult. You'll need to keep him completely off the stairs the first few weeks though. 

4. Rocky was scheduled to have six rounds of Carboplatin, with each round coming three weeks apart. He had some low blood cell counts after the fourth and fifth rounds, which forced us to push his treatment out an extra week. But otherwise he handled the treatments with no problems. We stopped after five rounds because, unfortunately, we noticed his cancer had spread. 

Good luck. Let us know what you decide and how it goes. 

David and Rocky

Rocky had his right front leg amputated on Valentine's Day 2017 after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

He joined the September Saints on September 3, 2017.

He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest and best friend I'll ever know. 

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25 January 2018 - 6:06 pm
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Hi Yogi and furmily,

Stewie is our (almost) 8 hr old Bernese/Rotty/Ret. He has recently celebrated his 6 Month Ampuversary and we couldn’t ask for a better outcome to everything that has happened! We are grateful for everyday that Stewie is healthily hopping along and getting all the love and treats in the world that he deserves! We pray everyday that he has a success story like Nitro and many other Tripawds Warriors!

Yogi said
Some of our fears/thoughts of radiation therapy are

I’m sorry I can’t offer any thoughts on the radiation therapy, as we decided right away to go with amputation and Chemo. Stewie had limped on and off for some time, but when his limp became apparent 100% of the time and it was getting worse every day. we took him in for an X-ray. Stewie’s bone was shattered due to the tumour. We then performed an X-ray on his lungs to be sure that there were no obvious tumours there and 5 days later went with the amputation of Stewie’s front right leg.

Two weeks later when we had Stewie’s stitches out, we started the 1st Of 6 Carboplatin Chemotherapy. Stewie rocked the chemo with no obvious issues, except for being a bit tired afterwards, but that could also be from the stress of going through the very serious job of chemo treatment. He also had to be on anxiety pills to help deal with that stress.

I found that my dr’s were super tense when giving the treatment, as the potential for a dangerous and hazardous accident could happen at any time right? It’s not like we can rationally ask our pets to stay still for the 20 minutes or so, that it took Stewie to get his treatments. My dr’s had no problem with me being with Stewie, as it really did help him and them. But not all vets allow it apparently, maybe you could check on that with your vet.

2. He may be at a higher risk to fracture and will most likely have to be on a low impact activity watch

Yes, he would absolutely need to be on low impact activity watch! It’s tough to do that... Stewie jumped off our UTV before we could stop him and the scream of pain was unforgettable!!

3. Would he be happier having an amputation knowing that once he recovers he can play and hopefully run around, which we would be more nervous about him doing if we went with radiation therapy.

We didn’t realize how much pain Stewie was in until after his recovery period, which was about a month or so after surgery. He was sleeping far more soundly than he had in months and the worrisome expression had gone from his face. Stewie has the same Rotty eyebrows that Yogi has and he didn’t look stressed anymore. Do you know what I mean?!

tinsch said
percentage-wise, as it is administered to prolong life and not to heal.

Very interesting Tina, I had never heard it phrased like this before. Thank you!

Wishing you all the very best with whichever choice you make. Yogi just wants to live a happy life with lots of lovin’ from his awesome pawrents!

Petra, Stewie🐾 and his Pride >^ ..^<

On July 10/17 I became a Super Tripawd! You can find out more about my Pawrents Allensong but first Check out my journey Super Stu Remember...“live in the moment!“  

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28 January 2018 - 11:38 am
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Thank you all for your support and sharing your experiences! It has been extremely helpful for us!

With that said, we are left in a bit of a confusing, gray area of choosing the best treatment plan for Yogi; we were told he potential already has mets in his lungs. Yogi is scheduled for a CT scan tomorrow to help us gather more information and help make the best decision for him. 

From many of the forums we've read, the majority of dogs who have undergone amputation have not at the time had mets to their lungs. Would be interested to hear if anyone's had a similar diagnosis, how you decided best path forward from there...

We want Yogi to be pain free and live a happy life! He has so much oomph and life left to live! Our fear is that if he has mets to his lungs and just a few months that an amputation and recovery may not be his best option. 

We'll follow up tomorrow with results from the scan, but again, would be interested in your thoughts on this situation...

Thanks as always!!

Team Yogi

Virginia
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28 January 2018 - 5:22 pm
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ApoLogies for a short response.  Just want to quickly clarify what your Vrt MAY have meant.   I am not a Vet and not giving Vet advice.

There is a theory that, once osteo has been found, there may already be. MICROSCOPIC met cells that aren't visible sith xrays.   "Genrally", and not always, if osteo "spreads" it goes to the lu gs as mets.   We've certainly seen cases where that's not the case and we've seen LONG TERM SURVIVORS who never developed mets!

Now, if your Vet is saying he has mets because he's seen them in other xrays already, then that's different from what I'm putting forth.

So get clarity from the Bet.

Also, just to show how crazy and u certain this jlurney is, some Vets now go ahead and propose amputation even IF lung mets are visible!  The thought is that the pain is fone and there is quality for however long their earth journey is.  So many different thoughts from so many different professionals.

Regardless of what you decide, you are making a decision out of LOVE for Yodi, and that's always the "right" decision!  We are here ro support you know matter what!

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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28 January 2018 - 6:01 pm
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Thanks Benny55!

To give clarification, Yogi had a 3-view X-ray performed. Our oncological-surgeon does not see mets on the X-ray but the radiologist reads that there is likely mets in 1 of the 3 views. We are hoping to get more clarification from the CT Scan tomorrow! 

It sure is a crazy and uncertain journey. Thanks for your support!

<3 Team Yogi <3

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29 January 2018 - 7:21 am
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Best of luck with the CT Scan! Fingers crossed for no Mets!!

All the very best from Petra, Stewie and his Pack

On July 10/17 I became a Super Tripawd! You can find out more about my Pawrents Allensong but first Check out my journey Super Stu Remember...“live in the moment!“  

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30 January 2018 - 8:51 am
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Thanks for your support!

Unfortunately the CT scan did show Mets to Yogi's lungs sad

We will not move forward with amputation and will do Palliative Radiation in the hopes that we can alleviate some of his pain/discomfort. 

We will enjoy each day that we have with our boy and "Be More Dog !"

<3 Team Yogi

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30 January 2018 - 11:34 am
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While no one wants to hear that news, you now DO have a plan of treatment, you are taking action and you ARE moving forward! 

Radiation can definitely ease the pain and add quality back,along with a good balance of pain meds.

  No matter what "clinical plan of treatment" we pursure, the BEST treatment ALWWAYS is  about BEING MORE DOG.....LIVING IN THE MOMENT....MAKING EVERY DAY COUNT!!    You've already besten thst piece of crap disease because you know how to BE MORE YOGI!!

We are all of TEAM YOGI and shall continue to cheer for Mighty Yogi!!   We   look forward to seeing more pictures of this handsome boy!  We hereby declare EVERY day YOGI DAY! 🙂

Love and 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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