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Dog with primary spinal tumor
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Winnipeg
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11 December 2009 - 7:06 pm
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Brother - it appears as though cancer is contagious these days!

The friend who housed Tazzie and me this summer following our surgery has a 4 or 5 yr old Portuguese water dog named Jake. Sadly, young Jake was diagnosed with bone cancer in his spine two days ago. (She has been taking him to vets to figure out the problem for a couple of months now.) He is having trouble getting around, dragging his limbs a bit. But he can still get outside and 'do his stuff'. My friend, Sarah, is trying to find out whether palliative radiation will ease the inflamation and therefore help his mobility and comfort. For now, Jake is on a drug called "percocet". Unfortunately, the radiation oncologist will not be back in Calgary until Thursday and Sarah is afraid that Jake might not make it that long.

Questions for you:

1) Does anyone know if there is a place with radiation not too far from Calgary: is radiation available at University of Montana?

2) I have not heard of anyone on this site having a dog with a primary tumor in the spine. Do you know any place on the web where she might find someone with a similar experience?

3) Other advice about treatment, e.g., whether radiation will help, bisphosphonates or other pain drugs?

4) Is there anything she can do to help Jake make it until Thursday?

Sarah and Jake (via messenger Tazzie)

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11 December 2009 - 8:53 pm
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I'm sorry to hear about Jake.  I don't have any advice but wish I did.  All I can offer is my prayers.

Debra & Angel Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Oregon
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11 December 2009 - 8:56 pm
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I wish I had some kind of get source of information to offer you. Please give our best to your friend, and support.

BTW love the tag Messenger Tazzie..

Alisa & Angel Shilo

Shilo diagnosed with osteosarcoma 9/4/2009, amputation 9/9/2009. ShiloAnne lost her battle 11/23/2009 where she regained her fourth leg and is patiently waiting for her parents to join her. We will always love you baby girl.

Wesley Chapel, FL
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11 December 2009 - 9:16 pm
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Hi Tazzie's mom,

I'm so sorry to hear about Jake's spine tumor... Poor baby! Crying

Have they done a biopsy to confirm what it is... or is it just a lesion diagnosed by x-rays? In human cancer medicine (that's where I work)... they would definitely do a biopsy to see what kind of tumor and if it is radiosensitive or chemosensitive... If the tumor is invading the bone, they would do radiation... to at least to control the pain and/or shrink the tumor... and maybe give bisphosphonates which would help strengthen any bone that is affected by the cancer. A big problem with spine tumors is pathological fractures which would cause extreme pain and immobility. Depending upon the extent of the lesion (if it has already affected the bone) they might also do kyphoplasty...

So many questions, but definitely Jake has to be seen by an oncologist and/or an orthopedic surgeon. Of course, in human medicine you usually have insurance to pay for all the treatments, so I have no idea if any of this is even feasable in vet medicine.

Please keep us posted on Jake!!

Angel Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… http://jakesjou.....ipawds.com ….. CANCER SUCKS!

Winnipeg
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11 December 2009 - 9:34 pm
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Thanks Angel Jake - useful tips you have. I was hoping you'd respond. This Jake did have a biopsy, but I'm not sure what came of that. Sarah thinks Jake is in more pain since the biopsy.

The main hitch right now is having to wait until Thursday until the radiation oncologist gets back to town. We ALL know how frustrating it is to wait THAT long. She has seen an oncologist, just not one who does radiation. If there is anything she should get from the plain old oncologist, let her know (via this website - I assume she will read it and maybe even post).

Do dogs with spinal tumors go to a different website? I think it can be hard to search for particular cases on the bone cancer dogs site.

I bet SRS radiation would be highly appropriate for this type of tumor. Do you think???

Messenger Tazzie (for Sarah and Jake PWD - Portuguese water dog).

The Rainbow Bridge

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11 December 2009 - 9:50 pm
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Oh I'm so sad to hear this. OS in the spine is far less common. We did a search and can't find anyone here who has dealt with that, I'm so sorry. You can tell her that she might find someone on the Bone Cancer Dogs list has been through this.

We didn't even know that dogs can take percocet (thought it was a human drug). It's pretty strong stuff, not sure what would be better. Is there are way for her to get a second opinion before Thursday?

Oh I wish we could be of more help. Please tell her them both that we are sending lots of love their way, and they can feel free to join us here anytime. Keep us posted OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge

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11 December 2009 - 9:52 pm
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Tazzie said:

Do dogs with spinal tumors go to a different website? I think it can be hard to search for particular cases on the bone cancer dogs site.


Not that I am aware of, she needs to join BCD and us to put the word out that she is looking for information. I'll Tweet about it and direct people here, hopefully we'll get some advice.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Winnipeg
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12 December 2009 - 12:08 am
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Hi Jerry

Thanks for the update. Her last email to me indicated that Jake was in obvious distress. Thankfully they contacted the oncologist tonight, who is arranging for even stronger drugs. Poor thing. But the only radiation person in Calgary won't be there until Thursday (sounds familiar, eh -  yep, same place as I tried to go two weeks ago when they were not there). I think she is reading these posts - it just seemed easier for me to write a post, but maybe I'll ask her to register. Then people can reach her directly.

Messenger Tazzie (for Sarah and Jake)

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12 December 2009 - 12:38 am
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I have only seen one primary spinal OSA dog.  He was a very stoic Bulldog and over the course of 1-2 weeks he became neurologic and quite painful.  His xrays showed bony destruction and a trip to the neurologist and an MRI confirmed OSA.  Even with multiple pain meds we could not keep him comfortable and he started to bite his owner whenever she approached so she had to let him go after 1 month.  The neurologist told me that some of the most painful dogs he saw had primary or metastatic bone cancer and it is very hard to control the pain since it is inside the vertebrae, not just pushing on the spinal cord.  I have never forgotten that dog's intense pain, so that is why I did not hesitate to let Tazzie go when it became obvious that her tumor had spread to her spine.

Tazzie's oncologist told me that the fastest way to stop the pain was a combo of IV pamidronate (takes up to 3 days to be effective) and local radiation (can start to give immediate results).  Has your friend's dog had an MRI or CT scan yet to pinpoint the tumor location?  I would also start gabapentin at 10 mg/kg every 6-8 hours as well as amantadine 100 mg once daily to reduce nerve root pain and stop the "wind up" of pain receptors.

If the radiation helps then maybe this dog can have a few more weeks to months.  I hope they get some more time!  These dogs just seem to be getting younger and smaller (not your typical presentation for OSA).

Pam

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12 December 2009 - 12:44 am
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Jake had a CT Scan and biopsy. She thinks he seems more painful since the biopsy. The big problem is the delay until radiation is available, plus they have not started the pamidronate. I am certain she will find your post extremely useful. Thank you so much!! (And apologies for sending multiple messages - I hate hearing about dogs in distress.!)

Susan (for Sarah and Jake)

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12 December 2009 - 5:08 am
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Hi everyone - just registered so I could say a big THANK YOU to everyone who responded to the posts submitted on my behalf by Susan. I sure has helped having your comments to read as I am all alone with this.

Jake's new medication is 100mg gabapentin capsules every 12hrs, morphine 15mg every 12hours, and metacam 20ml every 24hrs.

I started him on the morphine and gabapentin at 12.20am, and will start him as per instruction from the prescribing vet on Metacam in the morning. He settled after about an hour (ie about 1.30am) but then woke up in distress (fast panting, stuggling to sit up, wanting to move, grunting) just after 3pm. This lasted about 30mins after which he staggered outside and had poop - so maybe that was what brought it on! I guess this is what I see refered to as 'breakthrough' pain. He also ran away from me when I tried to bring him back in. I have a horrid feeling he was just looking for a safe place to hide... instinct taking over. I finally got him settled down again twenty minutes ago.

But now of course I am just dreading hearing that fast breathing start up again. I don't think I can go through much more of this - even if poor little Jake can!

Montréal , Canada
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12 December 2009 - 7:53 am
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I am so sorry to hear about Jake's cancer.  I am sending you all my best thoughts and prayers to both of you.

Suzanne

Winnipeg
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12 December 2009 - 8:57 am
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Hey Sarah in Calgary

Glad little Jake can run away from you, even though it is too cold for him to spend the night outside!

Can the clinic begin Pamidronate today, even if radiation is not available until Thursday?

It would be horrible to see him in such pain. But it is hard to know what to do, given that radiation and pamidronate might be able to remove the pain.

Your buddy, Messenger Tazzie

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12 December 2009 - 10:45 am
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Thanks for joining Sarah, best wishes to you and Jake. I know it's hard, but try your best to make the most of every moment.

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12 December 2009 - 10:51 am
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I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am to hear about Jake's cancer.  How frustrating it must be to have to wait until Thursday when you need answers now!  You and Jake will be added to my prayers.  I hate, hate, hate cancer.

Debra & Angel Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

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