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8 yr old Gabbar suspected of Osteogenic Sarcoma. Biopsy pending.
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20 October 2016 - 5:36 am
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Hi Everyone

We live in Mumbai, India, where my 8-year-old Labrador Retriever, Gabbar suddenly started limping 3 weeks ago. We went through the usual cycle of what many others in this forum have described. First, suspecting minor injury, muscle pull, tear etc etc. Long story short, it got progressively worse, and he has pretty much lost function of his front-left leg from the shoulder down. The shoulder has dropped and he drags the paw along as he wobbles on 3.

So after 4 different vets ruled out plain “mechanical” problems, so to speak, yesterday, we took him for an MRI of the Cervical Spine and CT Scan of the shoulder. A preliminary scan on MRI showed that the spine was okay, so the doctor moved on to the CT Scan. The scan results found growth in the shoulder highly suggestive of Osteogenic Sarcoma. We have scheduled a biopsy for tomorrow to confirm whether it is cancerous or not.

If you have had experience with this sort of thing, I would love to connect with you and possibly take something from your experience. Can Osteogenic Sarcoma be misdiagnosed? How late is too late of a detection? What do I need to watch out for, if the biopsy confirms that it is cancer? Along with the biopsy, should I ask the veterinarian to X-Ray the chest as well?

Video of Gabbar struggling to walk:

https://www.fac…..749807314/

Gabbar’s Osteogenic Sarcoma diagnosis from CT Scan Report:

https://www.fac…..838584918a

Read about Gabbar's journey from diagnosis to amputation at

http://gabbar.t.....eosarcoma/

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 October 2016 - 11:33 am
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Hello and welcome to you and Gabbar. Your posts are now approved and won’t need to wait for moderation.

I’m so sorry to hear the potential diagnosis. I actually had to look it up…in the states we call it osteosarcoma, but it’s the same thing as osteogenic sarcoma and sadly, many of us have been faced with it for our dogs. The good news is that lots of us here can help guide you through this journey.

First, it’s wonderful that Gabbar is getting such great care and that he has you for a parent. He’s a lucky dog! So yes, the vets should do a chest xray but if possible, a CT scan of his lungs is better because it will pick up micro-metastasis better. Either way, the primary goal right now is to get rid o f the terrible pain that Gabbar is in. When we went through it with our Jerry, we never knew how badly he was in pain until the diseased leg was amputated. It was a tough decision but dogs and cats take it soooo much better than we do.

If you haven’t seen it already, please visit Jerry’s Required Reading List , which answers many of your questions about osteosarcoma and life on three legs. Our e-books also very helpful. And of course so is this amazing community. We totally understand what you’re going through and will be here for you and your sweet doggie.

P.S. I’m so curious to follow along with your journey as we don’t get too many members from India, and it’s always fascinating to learn how vet care is handled in other countries. Thanks again for joining us.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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20 October 2016 - 1:14 pm
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Thank you. I did go through the reading list and there is so much useful information. I am preparing myself for the worst here, but also hoping against hope that the biopsy does not spring up the C-word. The biopsy will be done in the next 18 hours, and I think it will take 2-3 days for the results to come in. But given the evidence in the CT Scan and certainty of the radiologists’ opinion, it’s not looking good.

Over the last week, Gabbar’s mobility has also slowed down considerably. Up to 3 days ago, when we would stroll out for a pee break, he wouldn’t want to come back in. He would want to sniff around, despite dragging his foot along, and wouldn’t move until I walked in the direction of his routine walk. But in the last few days, he is dragging himself out, is far more fatigued. After he pees, he just stands around, very still, until I repeatedly coax him to walk back in with me. Also this has happened after the doctor suspended a pain management medicine he was on called Gabapin. He switched Gabbar to antibiotics (Doxyxycline) because he was running a 104F temperature that day, and doesn’t want to play with any other medication till we have a conclusive diagnosis.

I don’t know if the above symptoms are synonymous with cancer or not. I don’t know if I am getting ahead of myself here. It will be a nervous few days before we know for sure. One thing that is fairly certain is that there is a bone tumor. But is there any chance, or historically, any cases where a tumor has been diagnosed, but found not to be cancerous?

I’m sorry. My brain is all over the place. I’m struggling to deal with this and am trying to be strong for Gabbar. But to see one of the most energetic and lively dogs just sit in a corner and struggle to move even a few steps is just ripping me apart from the inside. I keep wondering whether it’s too late, whether I will be forced to end his suffering even sooner than expected. And it’s all just happened so suddenly.

Read about Gabbar's journey from diagnosis to amputation at

http://gabbar.t.....eosarcoma/

Norene, TN
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20 October 2016 - 1:16 pm
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Howdy and welcome!

So very sorry you’re here under the circumstances, but I can tell you this community is a life-saver.

Give Gabbar a big ole smooch for me!

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

Virginia




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20 October 2016 - 1:22 pm
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Apologies for being so short..have to head to work.

Many here decided NOT to do biopsy as, it is often painful, and it is very often inconclusive! Many times the xray is clear enough to confirm.

And I woukd question theVet again about putti g him back in pain meds…either Gabapentin or Tramadol. His leg HURTS!

Again, sorry to run…just want to throw thst out there.

YOU ARE. NOT ALONE!! We understand like no others can! Your pup does NOT have a timeframe stamped anywhere on his butt!!

Lots of 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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20 October 2016 - 1:32 pm
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The vet feels that while what he sees in the CT Scan is suggestive of Osteogenic Sarcoma, he is still not convinced 100% of it. Somewhere, he too is hoping that it is an infection that has caused the inflammation, leading to blockage, or damage of the brachial nerves that has led to the dropped shoulder. He plans to do an ultrasound-guided biopsy, which he says is a fairly simple procedure which should not be painful. I guess, it would make me comfortable too, knowing that a full diagnosis was carried out, and that we have all the information we need before having to make any difficult decisions.

I do see your point on the pain meds. I’ll certainly speak to the vet about putting him back on Gabapin or Tramadol.

Read about Gabbar's journey from diagnosis to amputation at

http://gabbar.t.....eosarcoma/

Michigan
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20 October 2016 - 4:25 pm
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Bone cancer is very painful.  Murphy had an x-ray guided biopsy of his tumor because the doctor said that there was a chance it could be a fungal or bacterial infection.  It took over 2 weeks, but it was inconclusive.  From what I’ve learned here, that is often the case.  What I would say is that if Gabbar would likely still have to have the leg removed, then probably just skip the biopsy.  He’s at an age where cancer is more common (I would bet if you did a poll, many of us would say 6-8 years was the age at diagnosis).  Has Gabbar been anyplace where he would have gotten an infection?  Like swimming in a lake or river? 

And I would definitely say yes, resume the pain medication!  He obviously is in pain.

You probably want to put something on the floor for him for traction .  Either carpet, rugs or yoga mats work well.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png



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20 October 2016 - 4:43 pm
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Hi Gabar and family ❤️

My girl Eurydice has osteosarcoma and lost her right front leg 5 1/2 months ago.

Osteosarcoma pain is excrutiating, that is one of the main reasons why most of us decide to go for surgery.

We did an X-ray which showed her wrist bone being eaten away and it had already exploded out on one side. 

My partner wanted a biopsy to be performed but as the vet, the oncologist and the surgeon were 95%+ sure it was bone cancer (although they weren’t 100% sure about which type) I really didn’t want her to have to go through a painful procedure which often comes back inconclusive anyway. 

In your case, as your vet is not sure maybe the biopsy is a good idea. 

We are definitely crossing our fingers, toes and paws for it to be a fungal infection.

Whichever the situation might be, what is important is to relieve his pain as soon as possible, Gabar must be in an awful amount of pain if he is dragging his paw like that 😞 hence the pain meds are really important too.

Sending you lots of pawsitive energy and cuddles to your boy, please keep updating us ❤️🐾🐾🐾🐾

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 



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20 October 2016 - 4:47 pm
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On the other hand Donna has a good point, if amputation would, in any case, have to happen I wouldn’t go for a biopsy either but straight for surgery. 

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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20 October 2016 - 7:26 pm
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I guess I would just be more comfortable with a thorough investigation that it is indeed cancerous, before I even start thinking of drastic measures such as amputation. And until we know exactly what it is, beyond any iota of doubt, how does one make that call?

That said, is there usually any specific sign in blood tests that show up in the case of cancer? Gabbar had a blood test done on Monday along with preliminary X-Rays, which the doctor said were fairly normal, except high alkaline levels which he attributed to the inflammation. At the time however, we still weren’t necessarily considering Osteosarcoma. On Wednesday a blood cytology was also done where mega platelets and some agglutination were seen.

Also just for my information, I’ve seen a few of you say that Osteosarcoma will usually show up clearly in X-Rays itself. I’d just like to clarify that 2 rounds of regular X-Rays showed absolutely NOTHING. This was only detected in a CT Scan. In your cases, was the detection done in a regular x-ray or CT Scan? Thanks.

Read about Gabbar's journey from diagnosis to amputation at

http://gabbar.t.....eosarcoma/

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20 October 2016 - 8:04 pm
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midnighter94 said
Bone cancer is very painful.  Murphy had an x-ray guided biopsy of his tumor because the doctor said that there was a chance it could be a fungal or bacterial infection.  It took over 2 weeks, but it was inconclusive.  From what I’ve learned here, that is often the case.  What I would say is that if Gabbar would likely still have to have the leg removed, then probably just skip the biopsy.  He’s at an age where cancer is more common (I would bet if you did a poll, many of us would say 6-8 years was the age at diagnosis).  Has Gabbar been anyplace where he would have gotten an infection?  Like swimming in a lake or river? 

And I would definitely say yes, resume the pain medication!  He obviously is in pain.

You probably want to put something on the floor for him for traction .  Either carpet, rugs or yoga mats work well.

Donna  

Donna, Gabbar has not been any place where he would have picked up an infection. However, in India, due to the tropical climate, every time the weather changes, dogs have a tendency to pick up ticks. This happens with all dogs here despite the fact that both Gabbar and his sister Suzy are dusted with anti-tick / tick-repellent powder every two days, and I always scan their coat while grooming. So about a month ago, the monsoons ended and we moved into dry, warm weather. They picked up ticks and it took me a good week to get them both tick-free. The vet had a theory that Gabbar may have picked up tick fever, which could have caused the infection, leading to inflammation, which in-turn could have caused the brachial nerves to be damaged/hindered/severed. But of course, that theory is holding less fort after the CT Scan findings, and we are hoping for the biopsy to offer some clarity.

Read about Gabbar's journey from diagnosis to amputation at

http://gabbar.t.....eosarcoma/

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20 October 2016 - 9:09 pm
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My Shea was diagnosed back in May. She originally started with limping, which led to inconclusive x Rays (not the typical presentation but suspected osteosarcoma). Our regular vet and the radiologist that read the X-ray kept saying it doesn’t look like osteosarcoma but they were not ruling it out. The vet showed us an x Ray of another dog that had confirmed osteo and the x ray looked very different then ours. So we decided to do the biopsy. We were told that the biopsy may not give us the answer we are looking for and the only true way to know what kind of cancer is to send the leg off to pathology after the amputation. Due to a tendon issue in a different leg, amputation really wasn’t a good option for Shea. Our biopsy results did confirm cancer. It showed sarcoma cells, but again couldn’t identify what kind. Once we went to the oncologist she dug a little deeper and found a mass on Shea’s spleen. Prior to that we were informed that she already had lung mets. So the oncologists thought was that the cancer started as hemangiosarcoma which spread to the lungs and the leg. That is why the vet and radiologist wouldn’t say for sure they thought osteo. 

But as a lot of others say the biopsy doesn’t always confirm anything. There are also risks that come a long with it, such as fracture. If amputation was an option we probably would have skipped the biopsy. But it wasn’t so the biopsy was our next best option to try and diagnose. 

Virginia




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20 October 2016 - 9:28 pm
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I tell ya’ one thing, you are a wonderful advocate for your Gabbar! And I LOVE his avatar picture! Such a happy boy with a great smile! 🙂

After reading your update, I certainly understand the need for the biopsy. In many cases here, the xrays are a pretty good indicator. I think most here nad xrays, as opposed to tne CT scans. I think that works in your favor that nothing has shown up.

It sounds like an infection could be a possibility as a result of thise rotten ticks, and we are all certainly hoping for that!

I know your emotions are off the chart with fear and uncertainty. The bliss of being dog is Gabbar isn’t concerned about anything!!

I guess the best “advice” I can offer at this point is to just stay in the moment and try not to jump ahead to the “what ifs”. IF things turn out that an amputation is necessary, then we’ll help guide you though that. Nd as scary as it sounds, if it comes to that, you will be amazed at how well Gabbar adapts a d just gets on with living life to the fullest!

I hope the Vet does consider some pain meds.

Cante give you any insight on the blood work, but DONNA is a Nurse and maybe she can offer some info.

HANG IN THERE! Spoil and love and spoil and love some more! 🙂

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!

Livermore, CA




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20 October 2016 - 9:39 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I’m sorry you are facing such serious issues with Gabbar.

As far as I know there is no blood test that will definitively tell you if cancer is present.

I dealt with a different type of cancer in my Pug Maggie, mast cell, so we didn’t even do xrays as part of the diagnosis. 

I’ve been on this site along time and I know that for many pups with osteosarcoma the xray gives a very clear picture and allows a confident cancer diagnosis.  I also know that many times a biopsy, or multiple biopsies are inconclusive- so I think people here want you to be prepared that it does not always give answers.  And sometimes I’ve seen here that it doesn’t matter what the final diagnosis may be- the bone is so deteriorated that amputation is the only option.

It doesn’t sound like you or your vet are sure at this point and that is fine.  This is a huge decision and you need to be confident going forward with treatment for Gabbar.  If the biopsy does come back as cancer then xrays of the lungs should be done to check for mets before deciding on surgery.

Around here we like to share our experiences, including what we would have done differently.  Once you choose your path forward everyone here will support you and Gabbar.

Let us know how Gabbar does and when you get any news.

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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21 October 2016 - 1:24 am
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About 6 hours to go for the biopsy. Around 10.30 this morning, I took Gabbar downstairs for a pee break. We live in an apartment building and there’s a private road at the back where all resident pet parents walk their dogs. Gabbar & Suzy have a very specific corner, that’s their peeing territory. It’s just about 40 feet away from the main entrance. For the last 3 days, he’s been a bit hesitant about walking to his pee spot and I have to force him out, because unfortunately, he refuses to pee anywhere else. I thought he was doing this because he’s in pain and maybe the spot is too far for him to walk to. Today he stopped even farther back and refused to budge. I asked him to pee nearby and he just wouldn’t. So I coaxed him and kind of slowly egged him nearer to his pee spot.

And THERE it was!

A MASSIVE snake, must have been 6 feet tall. Head inside the bushes, body and tail outside. It was lying still. I thought maybe it was dead. And then it wriggled into the bushes. I notified the security guys.

And then suddenly Gabbar had this burst of energy. A guy struggling to take a few steps, was now hopping around on 3, holding his left leg up, sniffing all over, looking under cars, wagged his tail back to the elevator and back home. I don’t know what to make of this. But that burst of energy gave me so much strength. It just gave me confidence that this guy has got fight left in him. How he’s been the last 3 days is NOT how he is going to be. Whether on 4 legs or 3, he WILL get back to who he was. We are ready to fight!

Read about Gabbar's journey from diagnosis to amputation at

http://gabbar.t.....eosarcoma/

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