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Newly Diagnosed Osteocarcoma-Need a little guidance....for my Molly (Dolly)
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5 April 2016 - 8:31 am
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cryingNewly diagnosed osteosarcoma and devastated to say the least.  Amputation wouldn’t even be a second thought if my girl were a little younger and a little stronger.  I just want to do whats best for her and keep her as comfortable as possible.  Molly is an 11 year old, friendly, set in her ways, shy rottweiler. She had TPLO surgery with hardware at about 7 years of age and has done well. Not 100 percent, but she can keep up. If she tries to jump, she strains herself and sits out for a few days, so swimming has been her exercise of choice.  As this cold NY winter may finally be coming to an end, was looking forward to her swimming since her activity level has been really low.  She has slowed down significantly the last  year- naps most of the day, gets a slight burst of energy when kids get home, then its back to napping.  Just a trip to the vet or groomer is somewhat stressful for her and if you can believe it, she is potty shy- yes you have to look away or she won’t do her business.  

brought her in for a slight limp and bump on front leg- vet thought it was an injury- suspected an infection.  But it is osteosarcoma.  Vet wants to amputate and start chemo but I’m not sure it is the best option for her.  Not sure I want to put her through the surgery since Im concerned about her quality of life during recovery from the amputation but I don’t want the cancer to spread and cause her extreme pain.   I want to do what’s best, but don’t know what to do.  

Any input would be GREATLY appreciated. Would you do the amputation & chemo on an 11 year old Rottweiler if she was yours?  

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 April 2016 - 8:47 am
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Hey there! I’m in the Tripawds Chat Room right now if you want to talk. Back with a reply in two secs.

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The Rainbow Bridge



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5 April 2016 - 8:55 am
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Hi Molly and family, welcome. I’m sorry you’re dealing with the diagnosis, it’s so tragic when a dog can make to 11 years old and then “Wham!” from out of left field you get the bad news. But here’s the thing:

Your vet obviously feels she is a good candidate for amputation right? Well that’s fantastic, because lots of folks don’t get that kind of support for their older, large breed dogs. So that’s one hurdle, should you decide to proceed.

Unfortunately we can’t make the decision for you, or even tell you what we would do, because we don’t know Molly like you do. Your hesitation to proceed is justified; if her pre-amputation fitness level isn’t the greatest, it will of course have an impact on her recovery. It doesn’t mean she won’t recover, just that she will have a few more challenges to get recovered. We see it often with overweight and inactive dogs. However, that alone doesn’t make them bad candidates for surgery, because those things can be changed in time. And just so you know, age rarely has as much to do with their ability to recover. We’ve had a majority of older dogs here do fine as long as they received high quality care. It sounds like Molly is getting it.

There are no right or wrong decisions here. You know Molly best, only you can decide. But the reality is that the pain from osteosarcoma is far worse than the pain of recovery, no matter what kind of shape she’s in. Palliative care can help buy more time, but it won’t buy as much time as amputation surgery and recovery. You can think about chemo later (remember, it’s not mandatory, and many people don’t do it if their dog hates going to the vet). Right now, decide on how you want to deal with this pain, which will quickly get worse. Pain pills alone will not manage it in a few weeks. You can, however talk to your vet about bisphosphonates and radiation therapy, which can be a good alternative for dogs who aren’t suitable amputation candidates.

Please check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and the Tripawds Start Page for more tips.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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5 April 2016 - 11:05 am
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Hi Molly and Family – I know first hand what it feels like to get the dreaded osteosarcoma diagnosis and it truly is devastating!  Our 6 year old Saint Bernard was diagnosed about 8 weeks ago.  We were of the mind that he would not do well in surgery or recovery because of his size 150 lbs. 

Unfortunately we wrestled with the decision to amputate for several weeks, I think we were just waiting to see if he was going to fail in other ways besides having the tumor on his front leg.  Patchy continued to have a zest for life the he was sleeping a lot and the tumor was visibly growing.  We finally decided that we had no choice but to amputate because he developed an infection in the leg.

So with much anxiety we scheduled the surgery.  I am happy to say that he is now 11 days post amputation and is doing wonderful big-blinkEven though the recovery is difficult to see him in much less pain now is such a blessing.  He is up and moving on his own (very stubborn and doesn’t want help) and learning to navigate life on 3 legs.

Only you know your molly girl but I can say at least from our experience so far that even though traumatic for Patchy to go through major surgery he is enjoying his days again in much less pain.

My heart breaks for you and your family that you have to go through this, wishing you peace and comfort as you continue on in the journey no matter what choices you decide.  Summer

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5 April 2016 - 11:21 am
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I have been through both amputation for osteosarcoma (Otis, 8 years old, 106 pounds pre-amp, mild arthritis in his hips) and cruciate repair (Tess over the summer).   The recovery from the amputation was MUCH easier than the recovery from the cruciate repair.   The first 2 weeks will be hard, but once the staples come out, life will probably get better really fast.   Otis is almost 2 months post-amp, and just finished chemo #3 today, and he is doing great.  Obviously, it is your decision in consultation with your vet, but would I do it again – absolutely yes.   And I think there are a number of dogs on this site who continue to swim – there is a float vest in the gear shop.smiley

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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5 April 2016 - 11:25 am
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Hi There,

Our Ellie was about 10.5 when she had her amp due to OSA. She was also about 100lbs and didn’t do well with trips to the vet (or car rides in general). She was shy and fearful. But she also still was a happy, otherwise healthy girl. We knew that because of the pain of OSA, we either had to amputate or say goodbye. 

We had about 10 days to decide (while we waited for the biopsy) and in that time, we found this site and read a lot about whether she could manage as a tripawd. We decided she could manage—that all the things we worried about probably would not be an issue. She would be able to do stairs, she wasn’t too old, she wasn’t too big. She would still be able to go for walks and still be able to lay in the sun, chase squirrels and give and get lots of snuggles. So we chose to amputate and she had 10 months post-amp (we did do chemo, though it certainly is a personal choice). Those 10 months were really good, quality months. We don’t regret the amp at all. She did not suffer as a tripawd, not at all!

The decision to amputate can never be taken lightly, but in the end the pain of recovery is nothing compared to the pain of OSA. And generally pups do much better than we all expect. Sure, the recovery can be rough. There are lots of ups and downs. But generally after a couple of weeks, they’re back on their feet (all three of them) and getting on w/ being a dog! 

Of course you know your Molly best. And you love her, so any decision you make will be made out of love. But if the vet thinks she’s a good candidate then amputation (even w/o chemo) can ensure that whatever time she has left can be as pain-free as possible. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

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5 April 2016 - 11:27 am
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jerry said 

  . . . the reality is that the pain from osteosarcoma is far worse than the pain of recovery, no matter what kind of shape she’s in. Palliative care can help buy more time, but it won’t buy as much time as amputation surgery and recovery. You can think about chemo later (remember, it’s not mandatory, and many people don’t do it if their dog hates going to the vet). Right now, decide on how you want to deal with this pain, which will quickly get worse. Pain pills alone will not manage it in a few weeks.  . . .

So well put.

With the resources available to you, what can you do to relieve Molly’s pain? Always remember, any decision you make will be the right one.

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

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5 April 2016 - 4:41 pm
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mgreta11545 said
cryingNewly diagnosed osteosarcoma and devastated to say the least.  Amputation wouldn’t even be a second thought if my girl were a little younger and a little stronger.  I just want to do whats best for her and keep her as comfortable as possible.  Molly is an 11 year old, friendly, set in her ways, shy rottweiler. She had TPLO surgery with hardware at about 7 years of age and has done well. Not 100 percent, but she can keep up. If she tries to jump, she strains herself and sits out for a few days, so swimming has been her exercise of choice.  As this cold NY winter may finally be coming to an end, was looking forward to her swimming since her activity level has been really low.  She has slowed down significantly the last  year- naps most of the day, gets a slight burst of energy when kids get home, then its back to napping.  Just a trip to the vet or groomer is somewhat stressful for her and if you can believe it, she is potty shy- yes you have to look away or she won’t do her business.  

brought her in for a slight limp and bump on front leg- vet thought it was an injury- suspected an infection.  But it is osteosarcoma.  Vet wants to amputate and start chemo but I’m not sure it is the best option for her.  Not sure I want to put her through the surgery since Im concerned about her quality of life during recovery from the amputation but I don’t want the cancer to spread and cause her extreme pain.   I want to do what’s best, but don’t know what to do.  

Any input would be GREATLY appreciated. Would you do the amputation & chemo on an 11 year old Rottweiler if she was yours?  

Hi there! SO sorry for what you and Molly are going through. My 90# 11-year-old lab, Baloo, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in October in his front leg, and we questioned surgery at his age too.  We’ve already lost a lab to osteo – with him his quality of life was gone within a month because of how quickly osteo will progress.

Ultimately we felt that fair thing to do for the dog that had loved us for 11 years was to do the surgery – the bonus is that took away the pain immediately, giving whatever him he has left to him pain-free.  They heal so much faster than humans do. Ours was out of pain immediately, back to 85% within about 3-4 days, and for us, knowing he would improve post-surgery rather than decline was so important. We felt that things we a success regardless of the chemo success because of how much improvement he had following the surgery.

Dogs are built to be resilient! Even at 11 years old!  If the tests show that there are no underlying issues, Molly has a shot to do beautifully.

I would do it again in a heartbeat! I hope this helps a bit…every dog is different, but with love and support, she can have a very comfortable life with you on three legs. Best to you both!

Here and Now


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5 April 2016 - 4:53 pm
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eborzage said

SO sorry for what you and Molly are going through…

Welcome and thanks for the feedback! Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Consider starting a new topic to or free blog to share Baloo’s story. Or start here to get the most from the Tripawds community.

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6 April 2016 - 4:48 pm
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I may be able to add some advice.  We were faced with a similar scenario.  Our 7 year old Golden, Eddy, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his back left leg.  Only two years prior, he had had TPLO surgery on his back right leg.  We struggled, knowing his other back leg was already compromised.  But we decided the pain was too much for him.  We did decide to amputate, and Eddy did amazingly well!  He walked out of the vet’s office the next morning!  If I had to do it again, I would!  Even though Eddy didn’t survive OSA, he had an amazing 5 months that were pain-free!  

Betsy Golden and Angel, Eddy.  Eddy was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 7-23-14, had a left rear amputation 8-07-14, had 3 rounds of carboplatin chemotherapy,  a small lung met was discovered in October, had 2 rounds of doxorubicin, and unfortunately more lung mets were discovered.  Eddy fought cancer valiantly and went to the Rainbow Bridge 1-6-15, at the age of 7 years and 359 days, just six days short of his 8th birthday.   Best Dog, Ever....you will never be forgotten.

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