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osteosarcoma diagnosis memorial weekend
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6 September 2017 - 9:26 am
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First sorry for the avatar, I cant seem to get it in the right position.  

Memorial day morning my sons canine companion, Charlie, my friend also, came out of the bedroom limping with what looked like swelling on his left front leg just above the "wrist."  We took him to the emergency vet and xrays showed the bone had swollen and the diagnosis was osteosarcoma.   Couldn't afford chemo so found a holistic vet to work with a nutritional program.  

The tumor kept growing and he could no longer put any weight on the leg even with pain meds so his leg was amputated on August 29th.  I think that was a Tuesday, we took him home on Thursday.

Charlie is a mix, rottwieller, shepard and golden retriever.  About 95# pre surgery.  Now all these breeds, his age and weight and the fact that he was neutered before about 1 to 1 1/2 yrs old predispose him to bone cancer.  I did not know that then but I know that now.  He had been limping for about a year prior to the diagnosis and we took him several times to the vet.  Of course they could find nothing wrong.  You would think that with their knowledge and experience they would have at least mentioned that bone cancer was a possibility giving me time and the chance to get information and maybe put him on a protocol way ahead of time.

I'm overwhelmed now, trying to take care of him, figure out a diet, little sleep and I have to go back to work soon.  I'm taking Xanax just to cope.  So anyone who is contemplating this type of surgery allow yourself 3 to 4 weeks minimum with your pet, if for nothing else than it eases some of your burden.

The Rainbow Bridge

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6 September 2017 - 10:01 am
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Hi Charlie and family, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval so post away. I'm in the Tripawds Chat room for a few more minutes if you want to talk OK?

Thank you for the wise advice about taking time to help your pet through the diagnosis and recovery. Anyone who's been through it will agree that it can be an exhausting ordeal. You are staying strong though, I can hear it in your voice! Charlie and your son are so lucky to have you.

Many of us have also been through the diagnosis ordeal, where our dogs or cats weren't diagnosed right away. It blew our minds too that vets could miss something like this. I think the problem is that many vets don't see osteosarcoma too often, so when it comes through their doors it takes them a while for the lightbulb to go on. I'm glad that your finally figured it out. That's all that matters now, and Charlie is home and on the road to recovery.

Whatever specific questions you have, just ask OK? You have a great community here to lean on. I saw in your profile that you're in Michigan. We have quite a few members in the state as well. See, you're surrounded by people who get it 🙂

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 September 2017 - 10:22 am
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Did they amputate it just above the wrist or up at the shoulder?

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7 September 2017 - 4:43 am
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I initially wanted to try and amputate just below the "elbow" and above the tumor to leave enough for a prosthesis.  No one wanted to do that procedure as the cancer is still in the bone.  Other things that eventually came into play is the cost with the artificial leg costing around $1500 plus all the other expenses.  Anyway, the surgeon took it all the way up to the shoulder including the scapula.  Thata a long incision.  I didn't know he was doing that, didn't think to ask at the time as I assumed that leg amputations for this situation were all the same.  Staples are coming out this Monday, I will ask him then.

I'll post what he tells me.

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7 September 2017 - 4:48 am
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Just as an adder, I understood that it is generally advisable to remove the entire leg as any remaining portion of the leg will just get in the way and pose possibly more issues with being abraded.  

If amputation is due to something other than bone cancer, and you want to consider a prosthesis then there needs to be 2 to 3" of good bone below the elbow for the prosthesis to function properly and the dog be able to adapt.  I spoke with a company that makes these in Pennsylvania and if amputation is above the elbow dogs cant get the hang of using it properly.

Virginia
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7 September 2017 - 9:28 am
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Hey Charlie's family!   Welcome ro the club nomone wanty to join!  As you can see though, you jave come to the right place for support, information and a whole lotnof understanding everything you are going through!!  This is such an exhausting time emotionally and physically!   Lack of sleep by itself is enough to throw you over the edge...then add all this stress with Charlie on top of it...ROUGH TIMES!!!   But hang in there!   Recovery doesn't last forever!

It is important to portray a strong and confident energy in fro t kf Charlie.  He eill pick up on thst energy and it will help in his recovery.

And please, do NOT beat yourself up   y looking in the rear view mirror with wudda's and shudda's!  That is a complete waste of energy and it interferes with your ability to focus on the NOW, on the PRESENT, with Charlie!  Probably half of the members here went through a delayed diagnosis, or misdiagnosis with "arthritis""sprains", etc. And for whatever it's worth, a dog who owned me named Benny (benny55) was NOT neutered before one yr and did NOT have any additional vaccines other than original puppy stuff.  At ten yrs he developed osteo and prostate.   So, even though there are "factors"that MAY indicate a predisposition, it is not always the czse....not even close.  There is still sooooo much unknown about this piece of crap disease.   "Casues" seem to change daily with very few concrete answers.

STAY CONNECTED!!   We are here ro help in anyway we can!

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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7 September 2017 - 9:41 am
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First of all, yes it's always better to make sure the cancer is gone. I personally wouldn't even mess around with that risk with my dog. The last thing you probably want to deal with is having to go back for another surgery. That's not good for anyone. So you did the right thing. The great thing about dogs is that they can get around just fine with three legs!

"I understood that it is generally advisable to remove the entire leg as any remaining portion of the leg will just get in the way and pose possibly more issues with being abraded."

Yes, that is a perfectly legitimate textbook answer, (https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/limb-amputation) BUT hopefully, things will change in the future as surgeons and pet owners become more aware of their options. Just as a side note I make artificial limbs and braces for pets. I somewhat disagree with the statement that a residual limb will get in the way and just cause issues, but that is just my opinion. I think that is just old school thinking and a bit lazy. EVERYTHING in healthcare, whether for humans or pets takes a long long time to change. Maybe the next generation of vets will be more open to prosthetics. Also, as you mentioned price is an issue too and having a prosthesis is a bit of work so it's not for everyone and every dog.

Anyhow, sounds like you are heading in the right direction. Sorry for all the stress it is causing you, but hang in there, everything will be OK.

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8 September 2017 - 10:33 am
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Sorry to hear about Charlie's diagnosis. It's always so hard to hear the word "cancer".  My cat Mona lost her leg due to cancer caused by a vaccine injection. I was very lucky that, although my vet did not know for sure that Mona's lump was cancer, he recommended an immediate amputation because the lump was growing so quickly. As with osteosarcoma, many times cats with vaccine associated sarcomas do not get diagnosed for many months - they say that VAS is rare so most vets don't recognize it.

At vet school my vet was taught to only take the leg but when he consulted with the big city vets for Mona's surgery they said they now also take the scapula. It'll be interesting to hear what your surgeon has to say.

By the way, Mona balances herself when resting on her tummy by crossing her remaining front leg across her chest so her paw rests where her missing scapula was. It's very cute and so smart! It amazes me how well our pets adapt.

Charlie looks like a happy guy. I hope to see me photos of him!

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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9 September 2017 - 8:59 am
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Never heard of VAS before. Interesting. I am curious what vets think about how residual limbs may help dogs/cats pay with toys/bones etc. Our puppy would probably go nuts if he didn't have both front paws to hold onto his bones. 

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