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Anatolian Shepherd x Lab osteosarcoma diagnosis
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15 December 2017 - 8:29 am
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Hi everyone-- we received a "very likely" osteosarcoma diagnosis a week ago on Thursday. Otis is an otherwise active, fit, and healthy dog. He is 6 years and 8 months old. He weighs 118 pounds and is very tall. His limp has been intermittent for a few months. He had two physical evaluations where the vet said he could not determine any sensitivity on Otis' part and that all of his joints were in great shape with full range of motion. During this time of intermittent limping, Otis seemed generally like himself, of course he had days where he didn't feel like doing much, but in late September, he went on an 8 mile off leash hike and was hurdling over logs and swimming in waterfalls and didn't appear to be in any pain that day or the next. We took him back to the vet when his limp became constant and more severe. His right front leg was x-rayed and revealed a lytic looking tumor on his distal radius. He is not sensitive to touch and is still limping around. We are choosing to forego biopsy because it is extremely expensive and we're not sure we can afford amputation (3k including all drugs/as many nights in hospital as he needs). The rest of his legs are sound, although in the x-ray of his shoulder the beginning of osteo arthritis was also noted on same leg as tumor. His blood work came back healthy and normal, and his chest xray was clear (although from reading through this website and others, I know that this cancer can be imperceptible on xrays). 

I love this dog with all my heart and he is so bored inside the house. He whines all morning to go for his long walk, but then we get outside and his limp/pain prevent him from doing the activities he wants. I want the quality of his life to be improved and also (like we all want) for him to live as long as possible pain free. 

I guess we're looking for support and ideas on the path forward. We have already spent $700 for the xrays/bloodwork/consult at board certified surgeon etc. There is an open clinical trial for chemo/immunotherapy at UGA vet teaching hospital, but that requires diagnosis by biopsy for a histologically confirmed, HER2, positive osteosarcoma. I was very staunchly opposed to chemo, thinking that if we could remove the pain, I'd rather us spend the time hiking, walking, and playing at home. We also know that if we can scrape together 3k, there is no way we can also pay for chemo. Now, I remain concerned and unsure.

Thoughts? 

Here and Now

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15 December 2017 - 10:15 am
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Welcome and best wishes for Otis! Please consider registering to take full advantage of the many helpful Tripawds resources here. For starters, your forum posts will not require moderation.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you're sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

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16 December 2017 - 3:23 pm
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Hi Otis and family 🌺

I am really sorry you find yourself here but at least you can count with the support of others, who understand exactly what you are going through.

I won't be checking the site for a little bit but wanted to tell you amputation should be a priority if your Otis has osteosarcoma.

Osteo pain is excrutiating and it won't get better, ever.

On the contrary, it will get worse quickly and there is no medicine which can completely take away this kind of pain.

The best thing to do is getting rid of his painful leg and getting Otis back to enjoying life to the full, and that will include going hiking again and doing everything he loves. 

The hardest part for most dogs are the first weeks after surgery, generally after stitches come out everything improves enormously. 

Size is not a problem, my girl Eurydice was a huge 77kg Great Dane and she did beautifully on 3 legs. 

As for chemo, whether you do it or not it is not a big point as there are no guarantees either way.

I went the chemo route all the way but others didn't, some lived longer with chemo some didn't, there is simply no way of knowing for sure, in the end it remains a personal choice and it is worth what it is worth.

But where we all agree here is amputation is the only way to finish the pain hence granting our babies huge quality of life. 

And that is really what counts at the end of the day. 

Please do keep the tripawdian family updated and be sure everybody will help and guide you the best we can. 

Sending you a big hug, sweetie and lots of cuddles to Otis 😘😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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16 December 2017 - 3:29 pm
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Oh, I would add osteosarcoma can generally be easily identified in X-rays so if your vets are convinced it is they are most probably right. 

My girl did an X-ray and the damage was showing so I went for surgery without a 100% confirmation.

That came after surgery was done.

Sending good thoughts and pawsitive energy your way, sweetie, you and Otis can do this and your boy will have a wonderful active life again.

😘😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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17 December 2017 - 7:28 am
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Ok-- thanks-- that makes me feel better about pursuing amputation without biopsy. For these larger dogs like your angel Eurydice and Otis, I wonder, does it take them longer to learn how to walk on three? Otis is fairly young with a lot of energy. Just yesterday, despite having this limp, he took off around the yard and wanted us to chase him. Normally that game would take at least 1/2 an hour, but yesterday it ended quickly because he remembered he was in pain, and I hate that. I will keep you all posted with what we chose to do and how Otis is doing. 

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17 December 2017 - 10:32 am
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Sorry to hear about the diagnosis. I didn't get a biopsy for my cat because the tumour was growing rapidly so the vet advised to not delay in the leg was amputation. The pathology report came back showing the vet's suspicion was correct.

I suspect Otis will do well with the recovery since he forgets he has pain. It's obvious he loves to play! It's really important to keep Otis quiet and keep the recovery slow and steady. You'll find in your reading on this site that you need to keep Otis on a leash when outside, probably until the stitches are out. Your vet can give you guidance on this. 

There are so many example of athletic dogs that recover and move very well after their amputation. Otis will have to learn to use different muscles and you'll have to reduce walking distance until he builds up his strength.

I hope the surgery goes well.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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23 December 2017 - 9:39 am
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Thanks. We have decided to amputate. We found a less expensive animal hospital but the earliest date they can do it is January 8th. In the meantime we are taking care of Otis and keeping him comfortable. I know it is an aggressive disease but I am staying hopeful because his blood work was good, lungs were clear of visible spots, and because Otis keeps forgetting he's in pain. He is still bearing weight on the leg, but he's also taking painkillers. This site has helped so much. I am learning to accept that his life might be shorter than expected but am hopeful that life as a tripawd will be pain free for him. I have also been so happy to see these giant breeds doing so well as tripawds. I cannot express enough what comfort I have taken from you all!

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23 December 2017 - 3:39 pm
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Hi sweetie 💗

So glad to hear you decided to go for surgery, Otis will be such a happy dog on three! 

Shame about the wait but with the painkillers he'll be feeling ok and Jan will come in a flash and then Otis's new happy life will start. 

For sure life as a Tripawd will be full of joy, there are tons of wonderful moments waiting to be lived for you both. 

Recovery may be challenging but it won't last forever and we will be here to hold you and guide you all along.

In the meantime if you and Otis want to take a look at Eurydice's travels please write Eurydice Great Dane in search blogs, you'll find her in Tripawd Tuesday and at the end there are links to her travels in Europe (5, 71/2 and 9 months after amputation) 

Sending you a huge hug and tons of cuddles to your cutie pie 😘😘😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Virginia
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24 December 2017 - 7:52 pm
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OKay, you have a plan in place and you are doing the best you can for Otis.  Always remeber that!

After you read through all the preparations, etc you need to put in place for Otis during recovery, let us know if you have ANY questions

We are all right by your side the whole way!  STAY CONNECTED!!!

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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26 December 2017 - 7:16 am
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I think once one makes the decision to amputate that brings a sense of relief in itself.  We too amputated without biopsy as many of us have.  Our Max was a 117# very long legged German Shepherd.  It did take him 3 to 4 days to find his "sea legs" and start hopping on his own but once he did there was no stopping him.  Otis is beautiful and I know he will amaze you with his adaptability!  Let us know if we can help you or if you have any questions during recovery.  We're here for you and Otis!  Hugs!

Hudson, WI
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26 December 2017 - 11:49 am
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Otis and family we are praying for a positive outcome.   We too made the decision to amputate without a biopsy. Our boy is a 106lb German Sheppard.  He underwent amputation of his left front leg, scapula and lymph nodes. He is eight days post surgery now and is doing exceptionally well.  Like Max, once he figured out his new normal we struggle to hold him back from taking off.  Otis is a beauty and you both have an entire community on your side.  Since our diagnosis and surgery, I find myself leaning on this amazing community.  Let us know what we can do... xoxoxox Bubba and family.

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31 December 2017 - 7:05 pm
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Otis and family

im sorry that you find yourself having to make such life altering decisions, but Otis is going to feel soooo much better when his painful leg is gone!

Stewie is a 100lb Bernese/RottyX and had his left front leg removedin July, due to an X-ray that showed that his (wrist) bone was shattered by a tumour. We didn’t do a biopsy, as it was pretty clear to all of us what the prognosis was. At first we were horrified by the idea of amputation, but our vet gave us the Tripawds lifeline and our world changed forever! We did 6 rounds of Carboplatin, but as everyone will tell you... there are no guarantees!

We are so grateful to have been given the time that we have with our boy and will continue to squeeze every bit of love into his being. The next milestone for Stewie is his 8th birthday in February. We’re going to have a great Pawty for him!

Please keep us posted as to how Otis (and you,!) are doing. We will keep you in our prayers for the 8th! 

All the very best from 

Petra, Stewie and his gang.

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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5 January 2018 - 7:22 am
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Thank you so much for all of your support and advice. This community has been amazing. Never would have made this decision without reading through everyone else's stories. 

I thought I would share some photos of Otis during his last few days on 4 legs. They are on a Flickr Album if anyone wants to see. I will figure out how to include them in future posts. We are anxiously awaiting the amputation appointment on Monday and have traction runners set up throughout the house. Luckily there is only one step to get from house to backyard and we live on one level. I will start a new thread in Treatment and Recovery on Monday or Tuesday to update everyone on our progress on 3!

Virginia
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5 January 2018 - 9:02 am
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STOP IT OTIS!!!   STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!   I'm on CUTENESS OVERLOAD looking at your adorable self!!! You gave us too much cuteness all at once!! 🙂 🙂

You are a very handsome boy!  And those beautiful golden eyes of yours can melt hearts on the coldest days!!

STAY CONNECTED!   Srock up on CHOCOLATE and, before you know it, recovery will be done and Otis will be back on top of the world very shortly! 🙂

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!

Canada
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5 January 2018 - 12:57 pm
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Otis, you are flipping adorable! Best of luck on Monday, you’re gonna rock this! 

Could you copy the forum headline here, so that we get notified with your update? 

All the very, very best wishes to you all. We shall be here still during your recovery!

Petra and Stewie.

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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