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My beautiful Bella diagnosed with osteosarcoma | Treatment, Recovery and Oncology

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My beautiful Bella diagnosed with osteosarcoma
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Rochester, New York
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3 April 2017 - 9:54 am
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Hi, My name is Michelle and we have a wonderful 8 year old German Shepherd BELLA,(a big girl she is over 31 inches all and weighs 116 lbs) that was diagnosed a couple of week ago with osteosarcoma of the right wrist.  We took her to a cancer specialist and had several tests done as well as a complete body scan to try and save her leg.  We were told that they did not see any signs of cancer anywhere else but the tumor was quite large and we should consider amputation very soon.  Of course, we were in a panic, I did a ton of research, called or emailed many different specialists( as well as holistic medicine) that would talk to me.  After a horrifying week she had her leg amputated to the shoulder on Friday.  They tell me she did well with the surgery but has not come home yet, we are hoping for Tues or Wed this week.  Can anyone tell us what to expect when she comes home, anything special we should do to help. She will need a couple of weeks to heal and then we will be starting chemo.

Any suggestions on how to deal with all this would be so helpful.  I'm still crying after 3 weeks of this, but now have to deal and help her however we can.  We have to make a 2 1/2 hr trip back and forth to the specialty hospital so made a nice bed for her in the back of the car, trying to keep her comfortable, the hardest part is getting her into the car, I just bought a ramp yesterday but I know she will give me a hard  time on that at first.

Again, any suggestions are appreciated.

cryingso sad, Michelle

The Rainbow Bridge

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3 April 2017 - 10:27 am
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Michelle, I'm in the Tripawds Chat room right now. Hop on over. Back here in a sec for feedback. 

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

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3 April 2017 - 12:12 pm
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Hey Michelle I'm so glad we got to chat today. I know you're at work right now (that's just so hard isn't it!) but when you can get a break check out Jerry's Required Reading List and the Tripawds Start Here page for many answers to your questions. 

Also, remember that you will set the pace and tone of her recovery. Stay strong and pawsitive, and she will reflect that back to you. As a German Shepherd I have no doubt that she will bounce back. You may even find it hard to keep her calm and mellow during recovery! As a front-leg Tripawd there will be some changes to her normal activity but that's OK. GSDs are so smart that you'll have lots of opportunities to use that big brain of hers with interactive games and activities, all things that will tire her brain and help her heal. 

I also highly recommend making an appointment for canine rehab therapy. It's especially valuable for a big girl like her, and what's even better is our Tripawds Foundation will even pay for your first rehab therapy visit! 

Keep us posted on how she's doing OK? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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4 April 2017 - 12:04 pm
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Hi Michelle, my thoughts are with you. It feels like years ago that I went through a leg amputation. (Not visited this site very often since my baby was put to sleep - nothing to do with the cancer  !!!!!  )

Mistletoe (saint bernard) was very quick back on her feet. Steps were no problem, getting on feet, no problem. The only thing that was a worry was sitting for a pee. It took a few days to master, but she did it. 

Advice from these wonderful people were - carpet or rugs. - a harness, for you to hold on to ( not for the dogs confidence, but for you . lol

My advice would be, hold on to these wonderful people, they really know there stuff. 

Bless you and Bella 

Fiona and Jim (new saint, Mister Magoo) xxxxxxx

Anchorage, AK
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4 April 2017 - 1:45 pm
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First of all, sorry you're going through this and more importantly congrats on more time with Bella! I'm a newbie tripawd owner myself and it's been a journey to say the least. When Doxie (Italian Mastiff) had her rear leg amputated (3/9/17) we took her home the same day, she hopped out of the vets office, we ordered a harness and put that on her to help lift her in the car, she was a more manageable 80# after her surgery (89# pre-surgery). We were terrified to get her in the house, since we have a split level but ended up carrying her up the stairs to her bed in a rushed bolt of energy and necessity. And it was all done just like that!

If the vet has had her for a few days she should hopefully be able to get around pretty good at this point, every dog is different but I think the first few days are usually the hardest and those are over now! I know your baby is a bit bigger than mine and not easy to lift. If you know someone who owns a minivan or maybe go rent one if your vehicle has a higher ground clearance so that its a minimal step up into the car to get her home if your worried about her "rejecting" the ramp at a crucial time. We got a ruffwear harness and it's been invaluable to just have that security of the top handle to hold her for when we take her out of the house or go up/down any stairs. I would suggest if you haven't already to get the tripawd book, I downloaded it and printed it off and read through it a day or so before her surgery. Best tips I would recommend for your house are YOGA MATS if you have any hard flooring anywhere, they are cheaper than rugs and really do a good job of not sliding or rolling up. Elevating the food dish and water bowl and baby gates to keep them away from stairs.

Good luck and keep us posted!

http://doxiethe.....pawds.com/

Doxie the Italian Mastiff lost her right rear leg to osteosarcoma on 3/9/2017 and has been hopping happily since!

See Doxie's Story

Schofield, WI
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4 April 2017 - 2:20 pm
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Welcome Michelle and Bella.  Others have given good advice already.  As they said traction is key so do make sure you cover slippery floors and give her a walkway out to potty.  She should already be well on the road to recovery by the time she comes home with keeping her as long as they are and also have a good handle on the meds.  At first it's going to be just potty breaks and then back in.  It takes a tremendous amount of energy for them at first.  One thing that helped us after that first two weeks was doing fun core building exercises with our Max.  I just did a search on core building excercises here and found many even some how to videos.  If you do end up taking her for rehab they will also give you some exercises to do at home.  (Highly recommend rehab).  Our dogs and cats are so resilient you will be amazed how well Bella will adapt.  By doing the amp you will have taken the pain of walking around on her bad leg away and soon the amp pain will be gone.  You will build such a deep bond with your girl as you go through this journey together.  Now's the time to be strong for her.  I found out fairly quickly if I panicked so did Max.  If I acted like this was just normal he followed my lead.  So for now be strong, get through one day at a time, and live fully in each day just as Bella will be doing.  Everyone here will be ready to help if you need us!  Let us know when she gets home and how you're doing ok?  Sending lots of hugs to you both!

Rochester, New York
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7 April 2017 - 6:35 am
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Hi, thank you so much for the kind words.  Picked her up yesterday, she was very happy to see us. Walked to the car great, got her in and out ok.  Today she does not want to get up or eat, we managed to get her up and out it was not easy, she yelped where she didn't do that yesterday, but she would not pee. It is snowing here and she laid down so we got her back up ( they don't want the huge bandage to get wet, she trotted right back towards the house so in we came. She is resting now.  I keep asking her if she wants to get up or go out and she clearly doesn't. I'm concerned because she hasn't peed in over 12 hours. Just trying to take it one day at a time.

Virginia
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7 April 2017 - 10:37 am
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Bella is doing EXACTLY what she needs to do right now...REST, REST, REST! Smart girl! The hospital meds gave her an extra little perk when you first picked her up that she may not have in her system now. And the cool snow probably felt soothing to her.

Is she drinking? Peeing is, of course, important, but 12 hrs isn't too bad yet. We do have videos on here about how to express her bladder. If need be, you can always take her to the Vet for that too. At this point though, it's not critical and she will probably go soon.

For now, I would just let her sleep and see if she develops the urge to go on her own at her own pace. She may even go in her bed depending on how the drugs are affecting her.

Keep us posted. This is the rough part of recovery and it isn't over yet.....but it will be eventually, promise!! 🙂

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!

Rochester, New York
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14 April 2017 - 8:24 am
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Hi everyone, Bella seems to be better, off all meds now except the clavamox, so she is perking up.  I find she wants to get up herself, but she tends to be in a hurry and sometimes falls,  I think it is because she is waiting so long to pee.  She still isn't doing anything else.  Had her stitches removed today, and eating a little better than she did.

She will be starting chemo on Tuesday so praying all goes well with that.  I do appreciate all the input and support, and we are trying to be strong, it is just so hard to see her struggle.  I am feeling a little better about things as they are all saying she is doing well. So Tuesday they will run more tests before anything starts.

I will be in touch and just want to add to all going through this, my heart goes out to everyone going through this.  Can't wait for better days.

Michelle

Virginia
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14 April 2017 - 9:32 am
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Thanks for the update Michelle!! From what you posted, "better days" ARE starting to show up!! 🙂 🙂 The first two to four weeks when we see even small improvements, they are HUGE VICTORIES!!!

Bella IS mobile, albeit with a few face plants! Bella IS eating and drinking and peeing! Bella sou ds like she has quite a bit of spunk to her and a perky attitude!! Pooping??? She is pooping, right?

It takes about a good two weeks to get "over" the actual surgery itself and a total of about ine month to get most of the mobility issues worked out. Front leggers do tend to have to adjust to avoiding face plants and, like all tripawds, they tend to need to move a little quicker to keep their balance in check. Continue to make sure she has good traction around the house...non slip scatter rugs, etc.

You can also check out exercises for building core strength in the site. Lots of good ways to maintain muscle tone, etc.

And YAY stitches are out!! 🙂 🙂

Keep us posted AND PICTURES!!!!

Bella is doing great....and so are you! 🙂 🙂

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!

The Rainbow Bridge

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14 April 2017 - 11:41 am
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Hey thanks for the update! I'm glad to hear she's progressing and on the mend.

When you say she struggles, can you describe it? Is it a matter of getting her footing on a slick surface? If so, be sure to add traction to the areas she hangs out in. Is it struggling to walk longer distances? The more you can share the more suggestions we can offer. Also consider keeping a harness on her at all times so you can assist her getting up and navigating stairs and such. Also, an occasional face plant is to be expected for a brand new Tripawd, but if it keeps happening then there's probably an issue that needs to be addressed (such as cutting back on activity so she's not so exhausted she falls, or helping her lose weight, trying core-strengthening exercises, etc.).

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Rochester, New York
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20 April 2017 - 11:19 am
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Hi everyone, well a little update on my Bella.  She has her days.  She prefers to get up on her own, when she does there is usually no crying.  What I am seeing is she is having a hard time trying to figure this out. She is still pretty unsteady, I find that if I go outside with her, she will come out on her own go potty and lay right down.  So I walk around a little and tell her want to come and she will get up and move around, she seems to do much better walking in the grass.  Last night she stayed outside for a few minutes by herself and when she was ready she came in, went to her spot on the carpeting, we were eating dinner and she walked into the kitchen with us, first time she has even tried that, she did fine, but we had put some rugs down for her, so we told her how nice of her to join us and stayed with us the whole time we were in there.

 I took her for a re-check on Tuesday, this was her first day of chemo, but first they checked her out and did a rehab evaluation.  They pretty much said what I knew that  she can do it, sometimes she does not want to, she initially did everything they asked of her, then she decided she had enough and she was done, there was no coaxing her to do anything.  So they gave some suggestions of what we can do at home and suggested some under water treadmill therapy.  I called and first available appt is May 1st so looking forward to that.

She appears to have done well with the chemo, but she is definitely ticked off, she had a lot to say to me on the way home (its a 2 1/2 hr drive)  I finally had to tell her enough, she was making me nervous and she settled down.  So once she realized we were on our street she started again, I called my husband and told him to come outside because she wanted out of that car and had alot of complaining to do.  When she came in she had a drink would not eat anything (but I really didn't expect her to) and she was out for the night, pretty much slept all day yesterday and got up for me first thing this morning to potty and she did eat with my coaxing her. So she went and laid down again and I came to work.

So I am hoping no side effects from the chemo and nice weather which I am sure she will want to be outside more and heal faster.

Thanks to all for all the kind words and thoughts, I appreciate it more than I can say.  Sometimes when I am reading these boards I cry knowing how hard it is for all going through this but all of you are wonderful.  Love to all.

Michellekiss

Germany
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20 April 2017 - 1:25 pm
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Hey Michelle, I think that's a great update!! And I really believe that things will improve with the rehab and the water treadmill!! Core strengthening was really helpful for us and there's really great and fun exercises you can do at home which will help with mobility. 

She sounds like a very headstrong dog 😊 And I really think that's in favor of all that you have been going through. The crucial thing for us was getting my dog motivated again to move a little more (or at all). So anything you can think of: doggy bff, favorite non-family person, whatever. Maybe that'll be of help to you, too!

all the best !!

tina & Manni

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or is it the other way 'round?

Manni was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Dec '15 and immediately had his right front leg amputated, followed by 5 rounds of chemo. Manni's real name is Manfred and he turns 10 on Jan 28 2017. So far we are mets-free...

Rochester, New York
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20 April 2017 - 4:24 pm
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Tina and Manni,

thanks for the info and I am super happy to hear that he has done so well, that really lifts my spirit.  Sometimes when I go out to the hospital I hear the bad things and upsets me terribly, I am really praying and hoping that Bella is going to do well and live a long time.  But yes things are starting to look up.

Yeah Manni smiley

My best... Michelle & Bella

The Rainbow Bridge

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20 April 2017 - 10:46 pm
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Awww she sounds like a typical German Shepherd! Her 'complaining' is similar to our Wyatt Ray. Basically we keep earplugs around when we're driving with him. I hope you do too 🙂

I'm really glad to hear she was checked out and is on her way to a rehab visit. You'll have to keep us posted! Here's to more recovery ahead. She'll get there.

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