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Primary Chondrosarcoma of the Spine, Jake’s Story

When pawrents learn that their dog has bone cancer, they often second guess their decisions leading up to the diagnosis. They find themselves wondering “Why didn’t we see it? Maybe we should’ve done this…or that…” Many wonder; if we knew he had cancer sooner, would things be better?

Sarah was one of those pawrents. She and her 5 year old Portuguese water dog, Jake, recently came to us through Tazzie, a mutual friend in Canada. Sarah posted in the forums, looking for advice when Jake’s spinal bone cancer became dramatically worse.

She and Jake had walked a long road up to the bone cancer diagnosis. His behaviors exhibited possible diagnoses ranging from a ruptured disc  to arthritis. When cancer was finally discovered, Jake wasn’t an amputation candidate because the cancer (later inconclusively diagnosed as chondrosarcoma) was in his spine.

Sarah found little information online about bone cancer in the spine, and unfortunately we too made the same discovery. Sadly, in just eight weeks, Jake’s health rapidly declined and the intense pain was too much to bear. After a bone biopsy was taken, he could hardly walk and suffered from bouts of intense pain. Sarah released him from his pain on December 12th, just two days later.

Afterward, Sarah told us that she was completely unprepared for the way in which bone cancer in the spine presents itself in dogs. It was distressing not to find even an ounce of hope or ways to cope.

But Jake’s death will not be in vain. Sarah wrote the following summary of her experience, to help anyone else who might find themselves with a dog suspected of having spinal bone cancer. We are grateful for the time she took to help others in this way.

Please read on to learn about the symptoms, behaviors and progression of this devastating presentation of bone cancer.

Swim on, Jake, you will never be forgotten . . .

Primary Chondrosarcoma of the spine – Jake’s Story

by Sarah Crook

Written in the hope that reading it you will be more prepared to cope with this awful disease than I was. The progress of the disease from no symptoms to death took 8 weeks. The cancer was located in the C7 vertebra (lower neck).

Early signs (first two weeks):

  • A stiffness that developed after 15 to 20 minutes walking. Jake woke up in the morning seemingly fine – the stiffness was only obvious with exercise and occurred even with moderate exercise, like leash walking. Round the house Jake’s activity seemed normal and the stiffness was not apparent (this pattern seems unlike what I have read about arthritis where the dog wakes stiff, then it gradually wears off).
  • A reluctance to go up/downhill that I noticed when walking Jake off-leash. Jake still followed but lagged behind.
  • A cautious approach to going up/down stairs especially after a walk when he had stiffened up
  • Cautious approach to getting in and out of car – fairly subtle. Just a hesitation before jumping and a preference to climb in rather than jump..
  • A reluctance to stretch his head down to eat or drink. Backed off and barked at his food bowl until I raised it up.
  • Very subtle – I only thought of this in retrospect – sometimes a slight unsteadiness when he cocked his leg for a pee.

Middle period (middle four weeks):

  • After 2 weeks Jake was seen by a vet who physically examined him and found stiffness in his neck and a reaction (growl/snap) when upper back was pressed hard. Soft tissue injury was suspected and Jake put on Metacam and restricted exercise.
  • On Metacam he seemed livelier around the house and more playful – but the stiffness and stiff-legged gait still continued when exercised and as things progressed, would start after only 5mins. A video clip taken at this time shows his normal walk when setting out, then the stiff-legged ‘walking on eggshells’ gait that he would suddenly adopt; and his cautious approach to going down a step.
  • After 14 days of Metacam and no obvious improvement, Jake was put on Robaxin – a muscle relaxant. Robaxin made him much WORSE. He was clearly uncomfortable in the house – standing looking miserable, seemingly afraid of sitting or lying down (as if he thought it would hurt – which it probably did). His back legs became noticeably weak and he hard difficulty climbing upstairs (ataxia). I was especially aware of him being restless through the night (prior to this he slept well) – he would sleep for a few hours then wake apparently in discomfort and take 5 or 10 minutes to lever himself up and settle into a new position. Later, I found out from the oncologist that this was not unexpected – Jake’s muscles would have been protecting the painful part of his spine, and with the muscle relaxant they could no longer do this.
  • After 5 days took him off Robaxin and the vet put him back on Metacam. Ataxia lessened, slept well again, things seemed to improve – but in retrospect he did not recover to pre-Robaxin level. Jake started doing ‘girlie’ pees and if he tried to cock his leg consistently lost his balance. I later learned the weakness in his back legs and the uncoordinated gait (‘ataxia’) that developed were the result of the tumour and/or associated inflamed tissue compressing the spinal cord.

End Phase (last two weeks):

  • Increasing unsteadiness of back legs so took Jake once more back to his vet. Same stiffness in neck and sore place on upper back. Blood samples were taken to rule out the slight chance of a tick born disease and vet referred Jake to a surgical specialist and a neurologist.
  • Surgeon examined Jake and suspected ruptured disc – recommended MRI.
  • Neurologist examined Jake and suspected lesion in lower neck and upper back (either two separate ones or one big one) Recommended CAT scan.
  • Cat scan showed tumour in C7 vertebra about 2x2cm in size, and a biopsy was taken. I met with an oncologist and decided to have one radiation treatment to see if it would reduce the pain and inflammation. If not, I would have him put to sleep.

Last Two Days:

Jake came home on a Thursday afternoon after having the CAT scan and bone biopsy the previous night. He was on Perkocet but a couple of hours after getting home had a bout of severe pain – later I thought this episode must be similar to ‘breakthrough’ pain suffered by human cancer victims.

He had two more of these attacks on Friday night and then early Saturday morning, in spite of having started on stronger pain relief (morphine and Gabapentin – and more Metacam, although he deteriorated so fast I never got around to adding this to the cocktail) and they all followed the same pattern – 5 to 10 minutes of increasingly fast panting, signs of acute pain (groaning and struggling to his feet to stand hunched over, head hanging, tongue lolling) lasting 10 – 15 minutes; 20 – 40 minutes of gradually winding down (I could get him to sit on my lap and would rub him and try to calm him). On Saturday I decided enough was enough, it was too late to try radiation therapy, and I had him put to sleep that afternoon…

In retrospect

  • I am not sure if I wish I had asked for an X-ray early on and found the tumor sooner. Early diagnosis would have meant when he could still run around I would not have been limiting his exercise and keeping him on-leash all the time… and there would have been time to plan treatment such as radiation therapy. However, the bone biopsy would also have been done sooner and maybe even early on the consequences (huge increase in pain and decrease in mobility) would have been the same as below – see next point.
  • I would not have had the bone biopsy done without much more careful consideration – I blame this for the rapid deterioration in Jake’s condition at the end – hugely increasing the pain and causing increased inflammation that severely impacted his mobility and comfort level: he could hardly walk when he came home his back-end was so uncoordinated and weak.
  • I would have asked the oncologist for pain meds. to deal with the ‘breakthrough’ pain (if indeed that was what it was). If there aren’t any effective drugs to deal with it, I would have at least discussed what I could/should do if these attacks happened.
  • I would have had the consulting oncologist leave a prescription for stronger pain medication with an 24hr animal clinic in case Jake suddenly got worse in the night or at the weekend when she could not be contacted.
  • I would have got the contact details of a call-out vet who could come and put Jake to sleep when Jake’s own vet clinic was closed….

Jake’s own vet and the specialists he referred me to were consistently caring and conscientious. Both contacted me this week after I wrote to them raising some of the issues I mention above. They spent nearly an hour going through things with me, so I think they deserve credit for this, especially my vet, as he must have known the length of time in getting to a diagnosis would be a tricky subject to discuss.

Not a happy end to a bright and loving creature. If you are facing the same I know reading the above will be distressing – but I hope it will help you make the right choices for your pet.

Best wishes, Sarah

Sharing is Caring!

36 thoughts on “Primary Chondrosarcoma of the Spine, Jake’s Story”

  1. I’m sad to have had to search for this but happy I found answers. My son’s service dog, a doberman, was recently diagnosed with chrondosarcoma and has a large tumor in his spine near the base of his tail. He had disc degeneration between c4 and c6 since he was 4 but woth diet and therapy it never affected him. About a year ago he started having “episodes” where he seemed to ha e a seizure like symptom and go paralyzed in the hind end. The vets kept telling me it was a symptom of wobblers or arthritis, which I knew better. We are at the end now. He seems uncomfortable at times and holds his back leg up if standing but still runs and plays and jumps on the couch and bed. I keep a watchful eye as I don’t want the pain but it’s so hard. Thank you for sharing your journey

    • Thank you for sharing Jennifer. We are so sorry about your pup, it sounds like you are really good at managing his quality of life. Lots of love headed your way.

  2. I really wish I didn’t have to search and find this site. But it gives me a little comfort having come across it. I just came back from the neurologist with my almost 10 year old baby boy Riley. Three weeks ago he seemed to be having pain in his lower back and back legs. Xray only showed arthritis but didn’t explain the pain he seemed to have. Pain meds and muscle relaxer weren’t doing much either. He was crying and whining a lot not wanting to get up to use the bathroom. Yelping if he moved to quickly getting off his bed. Went to an orthopedic surgeon last week and he didn’t find anything. Neurologist visit today and they did an mri and found a tumor in his vertebrae. They said they can’t do a biopsy because it’s too risky, same with surgery because it’s too invasive. So basically no treatment options…just meds and steroids, and possibly radiation, to help his pain. I’m devastated. Was not expecting this at all. I thought he was having pain that would go away or arthritis that could be maintained.

    • Delfina and Riley, we are so sorry to read about the diagnosis. Radiation therapy (especially Stereotactic Radiation Therapy) can often do a lot for palliative care situations, we hope that it can help Riley enjoy more quality time with you. We are keeping you in our thoughts and sending lots of love. Our hearts go out to you.

  3. I found Jake’s story while researching cancer in the spine. We have just had the devastating news that our beautiful 6 year old girl has cancer in her vertebrae and we need to put her to sleep. How can this happen, a couple of weeks ago she was jumping in the waves and playing with her sister. Now she can hardly walk. Two weeks ago we noticed she couldn’t jump onto the bed and the vet thought she had hurt her back. Even with medication she has not been improving and today an xray provided the diagnosis. There is no treatment we can give her to make her better or to even extend her time with us. We are not ready to say goodbye today, maybe tomorrow will be easier.

    • Ruth we are so very, very sorry. This is such a rare condition and it’s devastating. I hope you are able to get some good pain medication to help your pup while you prepare for her transition. Remember that no matter how sad this is for you, she will leave this earth knowing she was loved and treasured. No dog could ask for more. Our hearts go out to you.

  4. This is so heartbreaking. We too just went through this. Our baby was not even 2 years old. Started as what we thought was an injury. Started him on anti inflammatory meds,all tests were normal. Prednisone seemed to mask his symptoms but he then started losing his hair ,so we weaned him off to try and go back to a nonsteroidal drug. So much pain and I felt helpless. I insisted on an MRI which showed cancerous tumor on his spine. I asked the neurologist to not wake him up as he had dealt with too much pain already. We had him put to sleep while under anesthesia.All along,they thought pinched nerve or slipped disc. This happened just yesterday and I don’t know if I will ever get over losing him.Thanks for sharing your story and raising awareness.

  5. I do understand the heartache and pain you have went through. My much loved family member gucci was diagnosed,with cancer of the spine. He also had these same symptoms, and i also thought he had some arthritic changes and hurt his back. He,was treated for back pain, an x ray was taken at my vet, the lesion on his,vetebrae was missed. He kept declining, so we went to a specialust where i got the worst news i could hear, bone cancer. He was only 8 it happened so fast and he declined quickly. It is such an awful disease and so painful. We chose to let our boy be at peace so he wouldnt suffer any more.

  6. My sweet Goldendoodle Bella is in her final days now. She also presented with the exact symptoms as Jake and it took me 50 days, 11 vet appointments, 7 lab pulls and 4 meds to get to the point of diagnosis with X-rays. She has chondrosarcoma of spine and it has metastasized to lung. We had biopsies of lump on her head that came back non-cancerous from lab only to be confirmed cancerous with needle biopsy from a different vet. Labs came back “wrong” – a quality control problem at lab (chain of custody problem, wrong dog)… the lack of accountability on the medical side has me very upset and angry because we went off in wrong directions for diagnosis. The fact that none of this would change my outcome leaves me heartbroken.

    My sweet girl is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I am grateful for the information here about “when to let go” and making sure I have the necessary pain meds. I am having pictures made with her and hope this is going to be an ending for her with much dignity. God knows she deserves for being so loving, loyal and forgiving of me for 11 years!

    • Michele my heart aches to know you and Bella went through such a ruff time with the diagnosis. Nobody should ever have to experience such a run-around. I’m so sorry. At least now you have the information, and can prepare as well as anyone can given the circumstances. She’s a lucky girl to have you.

      Love that girl with all you’ve got, spoil her rotten and if you want a community to lean on, we are here for you OK?

  7. Thank you for writing this article. My baby Ozomatli, a German Shepherd was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma in one nostril. It began in April 2016 when he had green discharge coming from his snout. I took him to the vet and he gave me antibiotics for him and informed me his left nostril was obstructed. He told me to wait 2 wks to see if it clears up. I called in for an appointment and told them it seemed to be a bit better… no appointment was made. Zoo acted like his silly self and no there was no cause for concern. Come Mid-May Ozo became very ill, he had the green discharge again and fell ill within hours. He could get up from one moment to the next. He had been fine the night before on his night walk. He was taken to the ER. He exhibited green discharge from his nose, the left side of his face was droopy, he was weak too. I was told he had 101 degree fever and he was dehydrated despite the fact that he was drinking water and urinating that morning. He got a CT Scan that Monday (it was Saturday when he was admitted) I was told there was a tumor in his nose and test would be done. Eventually I was informed of his cancer. I saw two oncologist, both said nothing can be done, poss radiation to see if the tumor shrinks… I chose not to do anything as the side effects of weekly anesthesia and tradition would be worse. He’s still here with us. He eats, runs, plays and poops at times with some difficulty. He had been on Carprophen for his arthritis prior to his diagnosis so I continued that… He’s had one break through mid-Juky which caused a very bloody nose. Again, he recovered well. I tell him everyday to give me a sign when he is ready… I feel I failed him because I couldn’t find a doctor who could remove the tumor. It’s now doubled in size. From what I read babas pass when the tumor grows in to the other side of the snot because they cannot breath. I am very sad but grateful he still seems to be okay. I am sorry for your loss. However, it seems to be the only outlet I found where someone may understand what we are going through. Thank you. Oh and Ozo is very spoiled now. I want his life to be as happy as it can be and pain-free too. What pain killers were you told about? R.I.P. Jake.

    • Ana, thank you so much for sharing Ozo’s story. We are SO sorry you and your sweetie are going through this. I’m hoping Jake’s Mom will see this, she did say that she subscribes to comments so hopefully she’ll reply soon. Meanwhile, have you sought out a consult with Colorado State University’s Argus Institute? It’s a free, donations-accepted type of service and they should be able to help with pain management and keeping his quality of life up. Let us know OK? And give him a kiss from us. We’re suckers for German Shepherds and the band Ozomatli too 😉 xoxo

  8. We have had a little rescue Schnauzer for a little over a year. After taking her to same vet to treat her limping and discomfort in her leg and rear of her body, we took her to another vet who did an X-ray of the spine. After having a radiologist see the X-ray and a confirmation of bone cancer we are saddened to know that on a limited budget as retirees with no medical insurance for our dog, we have no options but to give her pain medication and try to make life as comfortable as we can. We will enjoy her as long as she can enjoy life.

  9. We just came home from the neurologist where our do, Jake, had a MRI. We were expecting to be told that he had a herniated disc. Instead the MRI showed 8 tumors on the small area that they did the MRI on. Our Jake does not appear to be in pain but he has a “broken wag”. he is a golden retriever and his tail does not move anymore. He is also having trouble going to the bathroom. Things don’t come out the way they are supposed to. I don’t know what kind of cancer he has and so I am not sure if it is the same kind that the original Jake had. We are heartbroken! And not ready to let him go. But the idea of something happening and him being in severe pain is very frightening. We owe it to him to protect him from that. Thank you for the ideas of talking with the oncologist about strong pain meds and being prepared in case something happens at night or on a weekend. My heart goes out to all of you who have been through this.

    • Joan we are very sorry to hear this. Please get a second opinion, it will put your mind at ease and help you decide the best course of action for him. We all send our love & hugs to your sweet Jake.

  10. chasing squirels one week then the neck stiffness for our beloved pet mogie about to be 8 yr old male german shephard,brought in andgiven deramaxx and briefly felt better until the following morn when hind legs gave out,taken in and xray revealed agressive tumor to spine spread to lung and had to put down few days later and still gave warm wet kisses to the very end,a bond of love caring we shared and we will always be together in our heart and soul forever

    • Tom, we are so sorry to hear about Mogie, our hearts go out to you. May his spirit be with you for all time and may those happy memories of chasing squirels help you smile when you think of him.

  11. hi Sara. I’m sorry to hear about jake. I am facing same disease with my boxer Champ. I am devastated and cannot hardly function. He is my life…. I know his is ending. X rays revealed c7 small mass. Mri is needed. I know his body is slowly deteriorating. I had to put down my other boxer Riley at 6 from mass cell that took his life. This pain is unbearable. To see this disease take my best friend is unimaginable. Thank you for all your helpful information. We will be reunited with our friends again. Thank you. Cheri

    • Cheri, our hearts go out to you and Champ, we are so sorry. If you would like any support, our discussion forums are here for you OK? May you have many days ahead, living each one to the fullest just as Champ does. {{{{hugs}}}

  12. Dear Sarah

    Thank you for sharing Jake’s story. I read it 5 days ago after a week of Internet research trying to work out what was happening to our Scottish Terrier Poppy. She had an x-Ray the week before and this had come back clear. We were offered an MRI which showed a tumour on her spine – the biopsy that was taken showed a cancer. Her deterioration mirrored Jake’s and your story gave us the courage to refuse any more pointless procedures. The vet came to our home yesterday and put her to sleep. We were able to give her her favourite forbidden foods and to make sure someone was with her every minute of the night and day.

    Sometimes we need to know that there isn’t any hope of recovery and to give every bit of pleasure to them that we can. It can be hard to argue with vets but this allowed us to do just that.

    Thank you

    • Jane, please accept our condolences for your loss of Poppy, we are so sorry. Your kindness and compassion speak volumes about the love and care you had for him, and always will have.

      We agree, there is something very freeing about knowing there are no more medicines, no more pilling, no more stress about treatment that can’t help without severely affecting quality of life. At that point, it’s all about love and making the most of every minute of whatever time you have left. We felt the same way when we coped with our Jerry’s cancer.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience here, during such a difficult part of life. It’s invaluable and will go on to help others coping with this disease.

  13. Thankyou Sarah for telling us all about beautiful Jake. We too have just said goodbye to our wonderful friend and compaion Georgie, a Briard. She started to show a reluctance to jumping into the car, yet still managed it initially. I too have tried to record how we progressed to try and treat Georgie – on this forum -
    The outcome was never categorically assessed though we are pretty sure it must have been a tumour on or about the spine causing nerve damage.
    We are still hurting and missing our little girl as I guess, we all are.
    Best wishes and thanks again

    • John and family please accept our deepest condolences, we are so very sorry. If you’d like to share more of Georgie’s story please come to the Forums’ “Coping with Loss’ discussion, we’re here for you. May her spirit shine on for all time.

  14. Thankyou Sarah for telling us all about beautiful Jake. We too have just said goodbye to our wonderful friend and compaion Georgie, a Briard. She started to show a reluctance to jumping into the car, yet still managed it initially. I too have tried to record how we progressed to try and treat Georgie – on this forum –
    The outcome was never categorically assessed though we are pretty sure it must have been a tumour on or about the spine causing nerve damage.
    We are still hurting and missing our little girl as I guess, we all are.
    Best wishes and thanks again

  15. Hi Sarah, I first want to offer sympathy for the loss of Jake. I googled PWD and vertebral cancer and this story appeared- it helped me with the difficult decision to put down my 4 year old PWD-Sonny. I did not want him to suffer anymore- he had been hiking until 3 weeks ago. he was treated for anaplasmosis not conclusive but – cardiology and lung tests came back negativewhat else was causing all his symptoms they all came on so fast… When the antibiotics were not working- further testing- xrays and MRI revealed this invasive mass in his thoracic vertebra and spinal canal.
    It seems uncommon for young dogs to have this cancer. Do you know Jake’s lineage?. I guess I’m trying to see if it really is just random bad luck or if there is something else involved. I just can’t let this go right now- It is still so raw. Any information is appreciated. thanks for your blog entry -it was so detailed,heartfelt
    and led me to the right choice for my Sonny. regards, mary

    • Mccooney we are so very sorry about Sonny. How heartbreaking! Please know you are in our hearts. Yes, you made the right choice, as difficult as it was I know. He did not suffer, he will always be in your hearts.

      We will forward your comment on to Sarah via email. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  16. Reading the story about Jake, I realised I had the exact same thing with my little Callie, who I had to put to sleep yesterday. Hers started with bloating of the stomach, then we noticed she struggled to climb stairs. She had panic attacks most nights, and I was always running her belly and back with the spasms she got. She also was diagnosed with arthritis and ibs. She rapidly worsened over the weekend (more spasms, groaning, weakness in legs and going sideways). I returned again to the vets who said it spilt be kinder to put her to sleep before it got worse. He said hers was a tumour in the lumber region.
    I made the painful decision to end her life, but even so, I was still thinking ‘have I done the right thing?’, until I saw your blog about Jake. It was too late for me to realise, but I know it will help others, but in a strange way you have helped me come to terms a little with losing her, so thank you.

    • Tracey, my heart goes out to you, I’m so very sorry. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that you made the best decision for her. As hard as it was, you had her best interest in mind, and you made the choice with love. It’s so difficult, I know. I’m glad that Jake’s story could help you just a little during this sad time. {{{{hugs}}}}}

  17. Hi Sarah, sorry to read about Jake, I just read your story after trying to find information regarding spine cancer as I had only received the dreaded news this afternoon about our dog ‘Mango’ (a Staffordshire Bull-terrier), he has only just turned 8 and was very lively up until the last month, apart from the arthritis in his back leg and a year on to the month he had a ‘Canine Mast Cell Tumors’ removed from his hind leg/hip. (
    I had felt he had gone down hill soon after this op and had questioned my vet on numerous occasions about it, each time he assured me it had nothing to do with the reason he was getting this stiffness in his hind quarters. I had always believed it to be in his back but the vet always look at his hind legs until he started showing signs of nerves in the hind legs not responding to reflex tests. It was only then they decided to ex-ray his back. They found a ruptured disc and then referred him to a specialist to do cat scans, they found he had more than one ruptured disc and took a bone biopsy. I got the result at 16:45 to day it is now midnight, unable to sleep, it has turned my world upside down, my eyes are so swollen and sore from the tears and crying, I took to doing some research on the web when I came across your web page.
    Everything you have described is what I went through and am going through with him at present, especially the shooting pains like his back catches a nerve or something, he is in so much pain he tries to bite his back end, I have tried to comfort him to a point he has bitten my hand, not that bad but enough to feel his pain, (he has never bitten me before) it is so upsetting it bring me to tears, not through him biting me but just that I can’t do anything for him so I let him hold on till the pain seems to go. Then it’s the panting form the stress which really hurt me and get the tears flowing down my cheeks.
    ‘Mango’ is our child, as we can’t have children, he took that roll and filled it well. We can’t lose him.

    Sorry to put this story here but when I read this I wish I had seen it sooner and had forced my vet to ex ray sooner.

    • Sean, our hearts go out to you, this is such a horrible disease. We will forward your email to Sarah to make sure she gets it, as I know she will be glad to share her experience with you.

      Please know you ARE doing something, you’re doing all you can to help Mango and he knows this. Always remember that dogs hold no regret or anger about the past, all they want is to live a good life today. Do your best to follow Mango’s lead, and relieve yourself of the blame that doesn’t exist in his eyes.

      We’re so sorry. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help OK? We are here for you.

  18. Dear Felicia – I am so sorry. I am Jake’s mom. My heart goes out to you.

    I too have wondered repeatedly if things would have been different with an earlier diagnosis – but for this disease it seems the end is inevitable – it’s just the path that takes you there. In some ways NOT knowing Jake was so sick might have been a good thing – maybe for your dog too. I am sure if I had known, I could not have prevented myself from weeping over him and watching him constantly for change etc….. and I don’t think my boy would have liked that much at all!!

    As to your direct question – Jake was 2 months from when I first noticed something wrong to death. If I could go back knowing what I know now I would have had him put to sleep earlier – when the tumour clearly was affecting his control of his rear end. He was wobbling when he peed and when he walked every now and then his back feet slid away from him. I feel this distressed and confused him – more than the pain which I hope was being kept under control by the drugs. Sometimes he tried to do things he normally could – like jump onto the bed – and failed. I know I found this hugely upsetting – and I think he did too.

    So with your little baby girl I would say, hard as it will be, let her go before she really realises something strange is happening to her body. Jake gained nothing from those final 10 days or so… and the memories still haunt me…

    Just so sad to read your message Felicia. I will be away for a couple of weeks so may not be able to respond to any more questions for a while – but I know all the other kind people here will help you through this. And I will check this blog when I can. XXSarah

  19. Sarah,
    My dog Pamela has just been diagnosed with the same in T9. They tell me there is no hope. I do have pain meds but know the end is near. I let them do a aspiration and it seem to put her in some pain but that seems a little better. I didnt opt for anything further (MRI, CT and that) because I was worried about the side affects. They cannot tell me exactly which this is, Ostesarcoma or Chondrosarcoma, the aspiration didnt have enough to show, but I dont think it matters both are bad and know I know I made the right decision about not doing any procedure that woudl further irratate her. My heart is broken as I am sure your was. I dont know how you got through it and I dont know how I am going to get through it. There is some odd comfort in knowing my baby wasnt the only one with this very rare for of cancer. I kept thinking what did I do wrong. Should I have got her to A&M quicker (we waited for 4 mos thinking it was just a disc pain)!.
    Can I ask you from start to finish how long? I hate to ask but I have to know. My heart goes out to you and Jake.

    • Felicia, our hearts go out to you, we are so deeply sorry. I can’t imagine what a shock this must be to you. I will email Sarah and let her know your comment is here.

      Meanwhile, please do visit our discussion forum and the conversations that have taken place about spinal mets: Primary Chondrosarcoma of the Spine, Jake’s Story.

      Please don’t be hard on yourself. You did your best with the information you had available. Your pup loves you no matter what. You are a great pawrent.

      We are here if you want to talk and sending many hugs to you and Pamela.

  20. Such a sad story for you and Jake…….it seems to make no sense why suffering happens to such innocent creatures…..I agree on your comments about the bone biopsy…some can of worms are better left unopened. Hugs to you,

  21. Thank you Sarah for your story on Jake. How awful for both he AND you to go thru. My heart goes out to you…some of your story very much reminds me of my dog before I finally got a diagnosis…the intense pain…so horrible.

    Take care Sarah.

    Tracy, Maggie’s Mom


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