Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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Tazzie’s lab results came back, but I did not see that the vet left that message until today (Saturday). She hadn’t expected them until next week. A different vet read the results to me today, so I have some but not all the information.
The biopsy, which was presumably a needle biopsy, showed the new lump to be a sarcoma. Given his history of OSA and neoplastic cells that appeared similar to osteoblasts, it seems most likely that it is a OS metastasis. However, there is lots of fat cells in the background. So if he did not have the OSA history, the pathologist might think it was a liposarcoma and would require a full biopsy of the lump to get more information on the structure of the sarcoma.
My vet spoke to the oncologist who said that soft tissue mets of OSA are extremely rare. However, the oncologist said that when soft tissue mets show up there are usually lots of others that are present, so the prognosis is poor (I guess that means really really poor). They talked over options for chemotherapy at this point, but I won’t get that information until I call her on Monday. So, the main information I cannot provide here is the oncologist’s suggestions for treatment (or advice to treat or not to treat).
For what it is worth, I would not mind hearing anyone’s thoughts (especially Pam’s) on what options may be:
1. Do surgery to remove the lump to get more information and just to remove it? It seems close to the surface, but I suspect would still require anesthetic. (I am guessing they can't do surgery this week, because his cell counts will be at their lowest post-chemo.)
2. Stop chemo and start metronomics ?
3. Is it appropriate to consider bisphosphonates , or are those specifically for boney tumours and mets?
4. Any other ideas????
Tazzie still seems to be feeling good. Well, he is kind of dog-tired right now but he had his longest and most active post-amp walk and swim yet at the doggy park this morning, plus he is getting to the point post-chemo (adriamycin) when we would expect him to be tired due to cell counts. In other words, he is doing great - make that, he ACTS as though he is doing great. Obviously, he has not been reading the lab reports.
I am starting to wonder which saying to live by: Knowledge is power or Ignorance is bliss?
Susan, i'm sorry to hear about Tazzie. It seems like no one has any good news lately, its been a rough week. You just keep doing what you are doing, appreciating everyday and making sure Tazzie is doing what he loves to do. I bet the dog park and swimming are up there at the top of his favorites list. I have no medical advice to give, just encouragement to hang in there.
Karin and Zoe
31 July 2009
Susan! I am so sorry to hear about Tazzie's not-so-good lab reports. Unfortunately I can not answer your questions but I just wanted to say we are sending a bunch of positive toughts to both Tazzie and you. My heart is warmed by the fact that Tazzie acts as his usual great himself.
Suzanne & Oslodaddy and Oslo
20 August 2009
Hello Susan, this week really SUCKS.
I've no advice to give, just lots of hugs down the line.
Spirit Horacia, Castaño, Olympia + human family Cecilia, Georg and Julia - - - Hori first diagnosed 8/6/09, ampu 8/12/09, run over the bridge 9/10/09 – We miss you every day dear girl!
2 June 2009
Hi Susan and Tazzie! Sorry to hear that your little cuddlebear has more tumors 🙁 But he doesn't seem to be bothered by them, so that's a good sign! Jack and I are leaving tomorrow for our cross-country adventure so we won't be able to log in, but I just wanted you to know that we're thinking about you guys and hope your doctors can get Tazzie feeling awesome. HUGS!!!
<3 Laura and Jackers
24 January 2009
I'm just hoping that when you get the rest of the information, the picture looks better.
(On the other hand) I vote for Ignorance is Bliss. I think that's the way dogs live, and we seem to do much better when we do it their way. Not that I can do that any better than anyone else. So I wish you rest, until you have enough information to make a good plan.
Hugs and a Big-Dog lean
Mary and Cemil (also dog-tired from his big adventure at the dog park earlier today)
Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today
4 December 2008
Oh Susan, I am so sorry to hear this.
However, do your best to let Tazzie lead you with his strength, and use your own heart and head to figure out the medical side of it.
From the get-go, Tika was told that her prognosis was 'poor'. She's young, she has an agressive cancer, she's big, etc. etc. However, we have beat the odds that the 'experts' have given us.
If Tazzie is telling you that he's happy and he's doing okay all considered, I'd listen to him first. Even with all of our treatments options and trials, Tika has been the gauge we go by. Monday we were ready to call off persuing everything further, today, Sat. night, Tika is saying, I'm okay, I got knocked of my feet for a bit, I'm coming back! We even had a good walk today at her pace and man, did she set a pace, I was like, hey kid, take it easy.
I always tell everybody that a lack of self-awareness is a completely under-appreciated commodity. I wish we had that more often so we aren't freaking out our babies with what we know and understand.
Tika sends a big chest bump and roo to her buddy Tazzie2, good luck with what you find out, I hope that you have good news (considering....)
All our love,
Kim and Tika
Kim and Spirit Tika http://www.tika.....ogspot.com
Many many thanks everyone!
Tika has set a great example for showing us that what matters is that our dog is happy now. I have definitely kept that in mind with this week's new developments. And I love your saying "a lack of self-awareness is a completely under-appreciated commodity". People will think I'm nuts if I start using these new mottos "Ignorance is Bliss", etc.
I can't wait to hear Jacker's cross country adventures after you get to Seattle. I'm sure you will have a blast along the way. You always seem to no matter what you do!
Even now, Tazzie is trying to get me to do something with him and I really need to do some work. I was certain he'd be extremely sore and lame after today's outing, but it does not seem that way. Where does he get this energy?!?
And I feel especially guilty these days working rather than spending every minute doing something with him.
7 August 2009
Dear Tazzie and Susan: We're so sorry you've had this news. This has been a rough week. I obviously don't have medical expertise to share but agree w/ everyone---if Tazzie's doing great that is a good sign. Take your cues from him. He seems like he's having a great week---lots of fun and exercise. Bliss is good.
Take care, Eve and Romeo
Susan, I am sorry to hear about Tazzie's mass. It can be hard to get an exact diagnosis without a full biopsy, but most likely it is a soft tissue OSA met. I saw these on a St Bernard once. I amputated his right rear leg and the owners were unable to afford chemo. He developed lung mets and multiple soft tissue tumors but lived quite happily for 8 more months.
The only reason to consider a full biopsy/removal would be to determine for sure if it is indeed OSA, because if it is then there may not be much point in continuing with the current chemo. Metronomics would be an option as would artemisinin . If his chest rads are still clear and he is doing well otherwise then I would probably remove it just to be sure. It is possible that it is a fibrosarcoma or other sarcoma not related to bone cancer and surgery may be a cure. You would be smart to wait until his WBC is normal again.
There is no wrong choice here, I just tend to be a person that really wants to have an exact diagnosis so that I can formulate a treatment plan. If you choose to just stop chemo or continue and observe for more lumps that would be okay, too.
Thanks for the insight. That all sounds reasonable. I am guessing we will face the continued chemo vs. metronomics decision this week, or if/when the lump is removed. I doubt his WBC will be normal for another week - based on today's behaviour and appetite, they seem to be dropping, which is to be expected. He was SO perky all day yesterday and evening.
To our knowledge, the lungs are clear. This is from x-rays just 3 weeks ago plus the ultrasound person heard/saw nothing consistent with masses in the area he can view.
I have not followed the recent Palladia discussions. Is that something else I should consider or ask the oncologist about if this is a met?
I do not know if I would start Palladia for a soft tissue met unless you have tried metronomics first, although I would ask your oncologist. I would definitely try Palladia for lung mets. The main side effects seem to be on the GI tract but low white cell counts and elevated liver values have been reported.
24 September 2009
Susan, we are just now catching up on everyone's news, and we are sending hugs and wags and woofs your way. Darn those tumors! I wish we had some medical advice to give (thank Dog for Pam, eh?! Pam, you rock!), but all we can give is our moral support in whatever and however you decide to purse treatment.
As you know, we are of the ignorance is bliss camp, to a point. If my Mom had been aware of all of the thing that were medically wrong with me during my battle, she would've been in tears about every day, and I woulda been miserable.
My advice; do what feels right for you and Tazzie. That cancer is a nasty creature, and no matter what you do, you'll never feel like you are doing enough. So why not make the most of what you can do, now, and just be together, mentally and physically, as much as you can. Listen to Tazzie, he knows what to do.
20 May 2009
I, too, am sorry to hear about the test resuts. Were you able to talk to your vet today? Please let us know how Tazzie is doing.
Debra & 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.
I spoke with the vet, but unfortunately have little time to act right now. Probably does not matter since his cell counts would be low due to last week's chemo. Might have been wise to delay that chemo while we checked this out.
Basically we will look for other lumps via abdominal ultrasound and another chest xray. For that his abdomen will be shaved. The oncologist expects to find more lumps (oh joy).
If we don't find any, and perhaps if we do (?), we will remove the lump, once his blood counts get high enough. For that, a chunk of fur not yet touched over his right hip will be shaved. In otherwords, my furball mutt will be getting pretty darn close to being naked and it ain't growing back thanks to the chemo. The vet says he could be slow to recover from surgery, given he is on chemo.
The vet is considering a different drug for chemo, since Adriamycin and Carbo do not seem to work given this met showed up while he was on chemo. I am not sure that is a fair conclusion. It might have been too large to be affected by the chemo before we started. The drug mentioned began with an "M" and is in the same family as Adiamycin (supposedly less toxic on heart), but turns things like the white of the eyes blue.
Personally, I will check out the metronomics possibility, unless this is an isolated lump in which case I think we would continue as usual.
We will do these exams later this week (probably no rush given blood counts). Tazzie was a bit more lethargic yesterday and today, as expected due to last week's chemo, but basically in fine shape. My neighbours showered attention on him yesterday (took him to their house, to the park and visiting to their friend's house). It is sooo nice of them.
I wish I could follow Tazzie's lead and devote more attention to him, but I have to reserve a bit for my students.
Emily - I'm sure your biopsy will be fine. It just sounds different. This was bone hard - it felt like a bone met.