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My Beautiful Newman
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Forum Posts: 12
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29 August 2017 - 12:03 pm
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Hello, my name is Pam and my 12 year old mixed breed canine bff was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the ulna in his right front leg.  At least that's what it sounds like.  The reason I say that is because the Vet won't say with 100% certainty that cancer is what it is. Could be fungus, but he's running a urine test for that and will find out Thursday.  Newman has two fractures after he fell chasing squirrels in the yard. He has a cast on for now.

Here's where I am right now...emotionally I am "zero".  I lost my wonderful husband 4 months ago to heart disease and Newman has been my best friend during these trying months.  Unfortunately Newman and I both have been drowning our sorrow with food, so neither of us is in the best condition.

About 10 years ago, the same diagnosis was handed to us regarding our dog Buddy.  My husband and I decided to do nothing and guess what?  An additional five years went by and Buddy never developed cancer. He has since gone to the bridge, but he was 15.

With all of this emotional baggage I just can't seem to make a decision, I feel damned if I do and damned if I don't.  The Vet said without treatment Newman has about 3 to 6 months.  With amputation and chemo he may get 1 year or maybe more.  That's not buying much time for him!!!!   

The diagnosis came from a Vet Specialty clinic yesterday and the Vet said they cannot determine whether the cancer has spread. Nothing showed on xray or ultrasound.  But in his experience, this cancer is aggressive and almost always has spread by the time of diagnosis. 

If it has indeed spread what's the point with treatment?  The Vet said for pain relief and the chemo will also help with that. He told me that they are very careful when administering chemo so as not to add any more sickness to Newman's life. Newman is not an active dog, we took a mile walk every day and that's about it. I have a great big backyard, but he's not super active and just usually patrols for unwanted guests.

I hope I'm not rambling but I don't know how to make this impossible decision and I know time is at the utmost with this type of cancer. Every option is indeed not a good one. I love him with all my heart, but I do not in anyway want to prolong the inevitable or cause him any additional unnecessary pain.  The Vet says amputees usually walk right after surgery and the horror usually rests with humans.  I'm not horrified by a three-legged dog at all, but I do not believe amputation is painless no matter how he tried to couch it.

With the cast on he seems better. He's eating again and even chewed on a rawhide. He's reluctant to walk, but I try to get him out with a harness as often as I can.  I have been home from work for two days trying to help my bff. I wonder if anyone can help me decide what to do?

Pam

Livermore, CA
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29 August 2017 - 12:27 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry to hear Newman has been diagnosed with OSA, and very sorry for the loss of your husband.  Very difficult times.

Based on the xrays and the break in Newman's leg it sounds like the vet is pretty sure it is OSA.  If it is not cancer could the leg even be repaired? That might be something to ask your vet, might help you with your decision.

No, amputation is not free of pain, but the pain is usually very well controlled with pain meds. And most important it is temporary, once healed from surgery Newman would be rid of the terrible pain that bone cancer causes.  That pain will only get worse until pain meds can not control it.

My friend Cemil is a 150 pound Anatolian Shepard who lost his front leg to OSA in January 2009.  His breed is also not very active, and he has done well for 7.5 years.  His is an extraordinary story, but it shows that sometimes it does happen. His mom Mary gave him a chance with amputation.

As far as getting 'only' a year with amp and chemo.  Remember that Newman doesn't tell time or read a calendar.  Our pups have an amazing ability to live in the moment and appreciate each day.  When my pug Maggie was given 6 to 9 months AFTER she had her amp surgery for mast cell cancer I thought I had made a mistake- putting her through surgery for only 6 months.  As it turns out, while I was busy counting days and waiting for her to disappear she was busy getting on with her life, loving her walks and stroller rides, her laps and especially her naps in the sun.  We were also very lucky in that Maggie beat her first cancer and lived almost 4 years.  I gave her a chance.

The ultimate decision is of course up to you, and your new family here will support you and Newman no matter what path you choose.

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

Livermore, CA
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29 August 2017 - 12:35 pm
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Also-

You might want to look through The Reading List or download one or more of the ebooks we have here.  Both have lots of information on what to expect with amputation, recovery and treatment.

Look at some pictures and videos of Tripawds loving life.

Most important, read some of the stories here in this forum you posted in: Size and Age Matters.

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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29 August 2017 - 12:44 pm
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Thank you so much for replying Karen.  I hope you won't mind another question, but did Cemil's cancer spread? The Vet said he's 99% sure it's osteosarcoma, but with the mistaken diagnosis I received on my Buddy I don't trust the opinion as I would had I never gone through this before.  The Vet wanted me to schedule an amputation for Buddy immediately.  Buddy never developed cancer and it's hard to overcome that experience.

Newman's leg is in a cast and the Vet said the fracture would heal - even if it was cancer - it would just take longer. At least that's what I remember being said to me in a day that just wouldn't end. I tried to write down what I could but was rather shocked by the diagnosis.  Of course, I want my Newmie to have every chance, but the virulence of this cancer and the Vet's assurance that it has most likely metastasized has me concerned. However, I'm trying to educate myself on what his chances are and how I can make his life as happy as possible.  

Newman has been with me every step of the way when my husband became ill.  He deserves every chance I can give him. Just don't want to be stupid. You know what I mean?

Virginia
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29 August 2017 - 4:29 pm
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Oh dear sweet Pam....you've had  your share of heartache, thatr for sure.  I'm so sorry aboht your husband, and now Newman's challenges.   Your emotions are so raw right now.  To have the stress of trying to make a decision for Newman has to be overwhelming.

Karen has given great feedback and links. As you can see, from this point forward YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!

You and Newman have a team!!  TEAM NEWMAN!!   And you both have two great Guardian Angels watching over you....your husband and Buddy.

I just want to address a couple of things.   There is a theory that, once osteo shows up in the bone, there is a "possibility" it is present "microscopicly" and just can't be seen kn tests.   AND, there is a possibility that there are NO microscopic cells anywhere!.  That is why we call this whole journey a crap shoot!!

It's always good news for a dog to have  clear xrays of the lungs prior to surgery.  Still no guarantee, but just good news.

Generally, not always, a Radiologist can give you an opinion to a high degree of certainty if a bone has osteo or not.  The fact that the leg  fractured would certainly add to the probability.  I woukd really question if he said the vone woukd heal, even if it was osteo.   If it's an osteo fracture, it fractions because the bone was eaten away by the wretched disease. Of course, I'm no Vet, so check with a Vet.

Buddy's situation was many years ago.  The tools used for determining osteo are probably far more advanced than they were then.  I'm really glad yoj got so much extra time with Buddy!!   I can certainly understand your uncertainty with Newman as a result.

Give yourself time to process everything.  Write ALL your questions down for your next consult.  Heck, even video the visit so you can digest everything clearly when you get home.   I've done that and it's amazing how it helps!

As far as "pain" from the amputation.  Yes, it is major surgery and that hurts, just like any major surgery for humzns. Meds will help get past the rough spots.  But once the rough lart of the recovery is over...anywhere from a rough week to maybe two rough weeks.....when you see  ewman's sparkle come back you will be in awe!!   After recovery, the surgery pain is GO E and thst painful bum leg is GONE!

Newman doesn't care about days in a calendar,a d he certainly doesn't care about any ole' prognosis---schmognosis!   He has NO timeframe stamped anywhere in his butt!   Yes, we humans care a out "time".  So it's important for us to remeber that a year in a dog's life is equal to SEVEN in ours! 🙂

STAY CONNECTED AND MEEP THE QUESTIONS COMING!   We're here ro help in anyway we can!!   AND we are here ro support ANY decision you need to make for you and  Newman, okay?   It's clear you love Newman greatly.  What do you think Newman would want?

And you mentioned you and Newman were....well....enjoyi g your food!!   Just want to offer the suggestion for you (not Newman),to add CHOCOLATE as an addition to every meal....it helps!!!! 🙂

Lots of hugs

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

PS....I don't think Cemil jad a recurrence of that liece of crap disease show up anywhere...but old age definitely was creeping in.   And we love old age issues arp4und here!   That's a victory for us! 🙂

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!

Livermore, CA
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29 August 2017 - 9:04 pm
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Hi again,

No, Cemil's cancer did not spread.  According to stats somewhere around 90% of dogs diagnosed with OSA already have micro-mets (which usually don't show up in x-rays).  Cemil must be one of the lucky 10%.

I can certainly understand your hesitancy with you experience with Buddy.  One thing to consider is that Newman has broken his leg, that shows a bigger, more advanced tumor than Buddy had. I would also suggest that you ask the vet again about the odds that Newman's leg will heal, seems to me that if it broke because of an OSA tumor the bone would be pretty damaged.

Keep asking questions!

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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30 August 2017 - 12:07 pm
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Thank you Karen and Sally so much for your support.  In the interest of Newman and his pain, I've scheduled an amputation for Friday.  I'm scared, nervous, but hopeful...My Newman has been at my side since his Daddy left so I need to do what I can for him...I need to give him a CHANCE. Say a prayer for us that we are doing the right thing. He's the best dog in the world (although I'm sure some will disagree).

I thought I would share part of what the surgeon said in an email to me this morning:

I think Newman does have cancer. If anything there could be fungal infection on top of that. Every test we have done so far does not show spread of the cancer, but with osteosarcoma 90% have spread by the time of diagnosis, we just can not always see it. Only other test we could do is a chest CT scan that may pick up smaller metastatic lesions than X-rays. His leg still has a chance to heal, but it will not heal normally, still can be weak.  If Newman were mine or my family members dog I would not hesitate to amputate. There are cancer cells in the sample, there is also inflammation so the pathologist has to cover all basis. If you polled all the surgeons I. The clinic they would not hesitate to amputate either. I hope this helps. 
Virginia
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30 August 2017 - 1:02 pm
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Okay, you can now move forward with a plan of action to help Newman  to be pain free!!  Pretty sure Newman likes the plan!!

Karen always suggest writing down the reasons you are proceeding with this plan.  That way, when you are in the middle of some rough recovery moments and questioning EVERYTHING, you can remind yourself why you needed to do this!!    And you, like all of us, ws ted to TRY and give them a CHANCE!!!    Even if things didn't turn out as well as we hoped (whatever that may mean), we TRIED!   We would never have to regret that at least we tried!

And by "trying", we have given our dogs and cats a chance for extended QUALITY time for more spoiling and loving and tummy rubs and treats and spoiling and spoiling and spoiling and making more glorious memories every si gle day!!! 🙂

YOU ARE MAKING A DECISION OHT OF LOVE AND THAT IS ALWAYS THE RIGHT DECISION!!!

Scared you say?   Oh yeah, we all understand thst word!!!   I was so scared I even cancelled Happy Hannah's scheduled surgery!!!  It took me another week before I rescheduled and proceeded!   SCARED OUT OF MY MIND!!!   I had NOT found this outstanding community at the time.   I would have still been scared, vut not experiencing the sheer terror and uncertainty and  zero knowledge of what to expect during recover.

So STAY CONNECTED!!!   We've pretty much seen it all when it comes to the ups and downs of recovery.  We'll help you navigate through it, okay?

And kudos to your Vet for being so open in the way he helped guide you through Newman's situation.  He shared his expertise and his heart with you.  Quite amazing.

Let us know what questions you may have.  And, as alwqys, store up on CHOCOLATE!! 🙂

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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4 September 2017 - 9:30 am
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Hello  I wanted to let you know that Newman had his leg amputated and is home now. I am having a hard time getting him up and out to urinate.  I bought a tripawd harness here, but it's still difficult for me to get him out alone.  He's hard to lift and doesn't want to walk at all.

I got him out a few hours ago, but it was so difficult for him. He hit his chin and it started bleeding and then I started crying because I hurt him. Accidentally of course, but I wonder if it's too early to use the harness?  Perhaps I should just use a beach towel?  The hospital gave me a soft, wide strap to use, but he screamed when i tried to get it under him.

Otherwise, he's eating and drinking well. 

Anyone know what I might be doing wrong getting him outside?

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4 September 2017 - 9:39 am
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Hi Pam, I think most people hold off using a harness for the front amputee until the incision has healed. You can try the beach towel or some have made a sling from a cloth shopping bag with the side seam removed so it is a rectangle with handles at either end. I've find the directions for you and post them.

I know this is tough going through this alone. Please reach out to friends, family, dog-loving neighbours to help out.

Hugs,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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4 September 2017 - 9:49 am
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Here is the cloth grocery bag sling:

http://tripawds.....dog-sling/

Finally, a use for pinking shears! Obviously I don't sew.

Kerren

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4 September 2017 - 10:17 am
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Oh thanks so much Kerren!  I will give that a try!

Livermore, CA
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4 September 2017 - 11:13 am
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Hi Pam,

When did Newman have his surgery?  What meds is he on?

The hospital meds and some of the home pain meds can make a pup pretty lethargic.  We also see here that the older pups often take a little longer to get moving after surgery.  Did he get up at the vet?

The first few days home are the toughest so don't get discouraged.  Stay positive in front of Newman- he needs you to be a strong pack leader.  I know it's hard when you are tired and stressed.  Hang on to the good things- eating and drinking well are great signs!

Hang in there!

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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4 September 2017 - 12:51 pm
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Hi Karen:

Newman had his surgery on Friday and I brought him home on Sunday.  He's on hydromorphone 2mg every 8 hours, gabapentin 300 mg every 12 hours and metronidazole 250 mg every 12 hours.

At the Vet they brought Newman to the room and he was walking.  We tried to get him to the car that way, but he couldn't go any further so the Vet Tech carried him to my car.

I just can't find something to use that provides stability and doesn't interfere with the incision. The wrap they gave me at the Vet is too narrow.  The vest is wide enough, but interferes with his incision. Another additional problem is that I have trigger finger on my left hand, so I can't grip really well with that hand. So I'm afraid to use a towel.  I thought I had a canvas bag but no luck with that.  

I called the Vet Hospital and they said to let him get up on his own or with a little help from me and then see how he does on his own with just the sling underneath in case he falls so I can catch him. In other words no support unless I have to.

Thanks Karen for taking time out of your day to offer help!  It's very appreciated by Newman and his nervous mama!

The Rainbow Bridge

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4 September 2017 - 1:38 pm
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Pam, I can hear you are stressed, I'm so sorry! This does get better, you will see progress soon. In the meantime...

So I see you bought the Get a Grip Harness. You can put a t-shirt on underneath it and then put the harness over that. The harness should be OK in this situation, it's why it was designed, for post-op recovery. The other harnesses we carry have straps that may interfere, but not the one you purchased. Beach towels are impossibly difficult to use, the grocery bag sling is the next best.

Do you have anyone to help you get him up? And what are your floors like? Are they slippery?

Many dogs are so dopey they don't want to get up to pee. Try allowing him to rest and get up when he wants to. What's his usual schedule? When he has to go, he will. But if he doesn't get up more than once a day, then OK, time for new tactics. Just try not to rush him too much right now. He's high as a kite and wiped out from surgery don't forget.

I'm glad you're keeping your vet in the loop! You can always call our Tripawds Helpline too if you have worries OK? 877-TRIPAWD

Keep us posted.

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