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Path report back - it's osteosarcoma
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Forum Posts: 132
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21 February 2009 - 10:31 am
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The oncologist at MSU told me it wasn't osteo (she suspected synovial cell sarcoma) and the ortho surgeon didn't think it looked like osteo either. But according to the report, it is. Just atypical both in location and radiographic appearance. Given the general lack of accuracy of the vets thus far, I'm only grudgingly accepting this diagnosis, but I guess I'll go with it…
Ortho vet thinks another set of chest xrays on Tuesday when the staples come out is too soon and thinks we ought to wait another couple of weeks…does this sound right? It seems there's always something I didn't get around to asking after I hang up. I got the impression from him that he isn't encouraging me to aggressively treat this…I just don't know.
I have a couple of recommendations for oncologists already (and one to stay away from..!) and I suppose I need to come up with a plan.
Feeling overwhelmed, again. I'm just going to focus on today right now.

Northern Indiana
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21 February 2009 - 12:37 pm
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It seems that a second opinion from an oncologist or another vet is needed since it doesn’t seem like you were happy or feel confident about their plan and approach. Make sure you get a copy of the path report to take with you.

Good luck and hope your baby is recovering and doing well.

Ginny

Grateful for every moment we had with Paris…..no regrets!

Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!

Linden, MI
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21 February 2009 - 4:29 pm
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Carina,

I dealt with your same ortho vet several years ago with an amp with my Dalmatian, who also had osteo. At that time he didn't encourage aggressive treatment either. I still think he's a really good vet, but if I were you I would get a second opinion from an oncologist. We used Dr. Joyce Obradovich at the Animal Cancer and Imaging Center in Canton. I think it was $150 for a consult, don't recall exact amount, but I took my x-rays and path report from my regular vet. I've been happy with Dr. Obradovich. Hopefully she was one of the recommendations, and not the one to stay away from!Wink

Her office number is (734) 459-6040.

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

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21 February 2009 - 4:55 pm
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Sue and Ginny, thanks.

Sue – I've heard both good and bad about Dr Obradovich so far…I've been canvassing friends! I have heard good things about a Dr Erin Bannink at OVRS too…a friend whose ESS has a brain tumor has been going down there and is very happy with the treatment she got.

In the spirit of one day at a time, I took Cooper with me to a nearby agility trial. It wasn't busy and there was tons of room, so he came in, someone loaned us a quilt for him to lie on and all his agility friends came and made a fuss over him. I took him out to pee, and asked if he wanted to go truck or go back inside…he wanted to go back into the familiar trial hubbub and lie ringside on the quilt, so that's what we did.

I'll make a decision about which oncologist by Monday. It was nothing Dr Wilson said, by the way…just a feeling I got. He did say he would have some names and would be happy to refer me to someone when I go there on Tuesday.

Hugs to Nova and Ginny-dog. 🙂

Linden, MI
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21 February 2009 - 5:03 pm
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Oh geeze, of course I shouldn't ask, but what have you heard that's bad about Dr. Obradovich? We are done with the chemo, and I will be going back in 2 weeks to discuss what's next. I'm just wondering if perhaps I should do some shopping around. I never did too much up-front research, I just went with my vet's recommendation.

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

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21 February 2009 - 5:22 pm
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From two people I have heard this: My vet said “she's a prima donna” and another person said “she is not fond of clients getting a second opinion.” To be fair I've also heard second hand of one client who “adored” her.

I just heard back from someone else with a positive report about Dr Bannink. I am leaning towards OVRS at this point. (Can you tell I am calling and emailing and networking like crazy to find an oncologist…? I don't think I have ever spent this much time online in my life.)

http://www.ovrs…..annink.pdf


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21 February 2009 - 5:43 pm
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I would believe the path report since that usually doesn't lie, and after all OSA is very very common in Rotties.  Usually this cancer presents “away from the elbow and towards the knee” but that is not always true. I don't see the point of repeating chest rads prior to chemo unless it has been over a month since the last set.  I would start carboplatin (or whatever your oncologist recommends) when the staples come out and then repeat chest films before the third chemo is due.

Where exactly do you live?  I can probably get some info on oncologists in your area.

Pam and Tazzie

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21 February 2009 - 5:58 pm
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Thanks Pam! Southeast Michigan, and I would appreciate that very much. 🙂 I'm about an hour north of Detroit, but will travel within reason. I'm also an hour from Ann Arbor and an hour from Lansing.

Ortho vet said it was an atypical location and appearance, but I know Rottweilers are way up there for osteo, so yeah. 🙁 I've been assured that re-xraying won't do much at this point and to wait. Carboplatin seems the first med of choice for osteosarcoma. I know two people personally who have been having great luck (know them, know their dogs, agility friends) with CAM and while I'm a bit of a skeptic about some alternative therapies, I'm finding that when up against the wall I'm willing to try whatever might work as long as it's not too wacky…


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21 February 2009 - 11:31 pm
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I searched ACVIM for board-certified oncologists in Michigan and there are not many.  There are 3 at MSU, Dr Obradovich, and Dr Evan Keller at the Univ of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I only know Dr Keller.  I attended vet school at the Univ of WI – Madison and he was a resident there at the time.  He is very smart, very funny, and very nice.  They do not list any phone numbers.  All I could find was an address at U of Michigan; Cancer/Geriatric Center  1500 E Med Ctr Dr; Ann Arbor.

I have Tazzie on some CAM stuff. She takes “Bone Stasis” powder from a Chinese herbal supplier and artemisinin and artemather (herbs that may help kill OSA cells).  I also have seen acupuncture help many dogs so I think you can use both western medicine and CAM together.

Pam and Tazzie

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22 February 2009 - 6:21 am
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Thank you Pam! Since we mentioned Dr Obradovich before, I have to say this: a friend whose opinion I usually value pretty highly took a lymphoma dog to her some years back and spoke very highly of her, saying she went above and beyond to help her dog.

That said – there's a high probability the cancer has already metatstasized to his lungs. The initial chest xrays showed an extremely tiny “possible” lesion. (One small nodule in the right caudal lung field that could possibly be a metastatic lesion.) Sooo…chemo may be a moot point. I only just figured out yesterday that if there's already other organ involvement, chemo is somewhat pointless, and I'm certainly open to alternative/palliative therapies. Which is why OVRS seems like a good choice because they offer a pretty wide spectrum of treatments.

http://www.ovrs…..t/home.php

My regular vet is allopathic but also listed with some holistic veterinary organizations…he does acupuncture and some herbal stuff, is a minimalist with meds (vaccines etc, way before that trend started changing) and is very down to earth…has a good reputation with local dog people. I'll ask him about acupuncture. I don't know how it works but have seen great results with a previous senior arthritic Rottweiler. And when Cooper was a puppy he came along on acupuncture sessions with a big elderly mutt I had (RIP Phoebe) and dogs seem to really enjoy it.

After most people had left the trial site yesterday, I hung out for a little bit. As we left Coop wanted to stop and rest, so I took this photo. You can see how happy he was, just being out and involved! I HATE that he has spent much of the last five months hurting and practically housebound (previous to this, he had elbow surgery in late October for FCP and has been in “recovery” since then.) He's always been a very, very active dog…agility, of course, but we also did obedience and tracking and I do lots of walks, hikes and bike rides with my dogs. I don't want his last months alive to be spent lying around the house or hopping around the back yard. He loves to be out and about.

I've read about artemisinin , never heard of artemather. Oh joy, more stuff to google! My friend with the ESS who's got a brain tumor has been doing neoplasene and the tumor hasn't grown, I don't think, since she started it. Her dog is blind now – you wouldn't know it – and has stopped having seizures. Seems quite happy. So many options, although sometimes I suspect we just like to think we have more control that we actually do. Life is a crapshoot, really.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Linden, MI
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22 February 2009 - 8:50 am
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Wow, Carina, this picture is great! It looks like Cooper is very happy. After all that time hurting it is wonderful to see him enjoying life again.

Let me know how it goes with OVRS, if that's what you end up deciding. Dr. Bannink looks impressive. If I could do it over again (and had the money to do it) I think I would have talked to a couple of oncologists before deciding, just to see what was out there. But back then I was so anxious to get the amp done, I didn't have the patience to wait. I know sometimes when people strike out on their own (like Dr. Obradovich) they are seen as prima donnas. Actually, my vibe with her has been much different. During my first visit, she sat with me for a long time answering every question I could think of, comforted me as I tried to deal with the shock of the diagnosis, then walked with me to her computer, sat down, and brought up Tripawds.com to show me a story of a Great Dane with osteo who did great after an amp. We sat there together and poked through the stories and the forums, laughed, cried, etc. I've never met a doctor who would take the time to do something like that, and at the time it meant a lot to me. When I took Nova for her chemo treatments, Dr. O would often come out to the lobby just to chat with me (even though we did not have an appointment, and there were other patients waiting), provide encouragement, and ask if I had any questions. After the amp I have called them day and night and on weekends, and always got someone on the line, or a call back within minutes. Every time I'm there, her staff treats Nova like she is the one and only dog they are treating. I also take Nova to MVS in Southfield for glaucoma treatment (referred by Dr. Wilson, way back when) and there it is cold and formal, and 30-seconds with the doctor and he walks out, and I have to communicate questions through a technician. It was important to me not to have that type of experience when dealing with something as emotional as cancer. Dr. O's office is strictly a cancer center, no other specialties, and I like this. When I go there I am comforted to be surrounded by other patients who are all dealing with cancer, and a staff that ONLY deals with cancer. Each time I go I learn something new, meet other people fighting the same battle as I, and we all comfort and support each other. It works for me!!

Now, last time I was there (for Nova's 4th treatment) I told Dr. O that I had questions about some treatments I had read about on Tripawds.com, and wanted to get her take on them. She seemed fine with that. Dr. Pam was wonderful, she put all the info on Tazzie's treatments into one info-packed email. So I am going to go into my next visit armed with that, and some of my other research, to see what she says. So I am very curious to see how open she is to some of these alternative treatments.

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

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22 February 2009 - 10:55 pm
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Thanks Sue…what you wrote about Dr Obradovich mirrors what my Doberman friend said…I feel sort of bad now for posting anything derogatory and second hand about a vet I don't know, so I am glad you counterbalanced that! Keep us posted on what her take on complementary treatments is, if you can. I probably will stick to my OVRS plan for now…who knows what the future holds for Coop; it's highly likely he already has lung mets so I really don't know. But I'm open to everything. A friend has been using neoplasene (bloodroot) with her dog who has a brain tumor with encouraging results. When she fitrst told me about it back before I got the diagnosis on Cooper I thought, ehhh, some other iffy woo woo treatment…funny how one's perception changes when faced with a dire diagnosis. Now it's definitely on my radar.

And I hear you about MVS and your experience there…I haven't heard anything good or bad about them, just know it's a fairly high tech specialty veterinary hospital. I don't mind when a vet is matter-of-fact, but…some sensitivity & acknowledgement of the difficulty of dealing with something like cancer is frankly appreciated.

I have a good stethoscope and listened to Cooper's heart and lungs yesterday. Of course I don't know what one is supposed to listen for, but it sounded rhthmic and normal…I'm getting paranoid already.

Good luck with Nova's next treatment…when do you go?

Linden, MI
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23 February 2009 - 8:29 am
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I am going back on Friday, March 6 for another round of chest x-rays. Then, based on the outcome (which hopefully they are clear) we are going to discuss next steps. Dr. Obradovich didn't want me starting Nova on anything until 1 month after her last chemo treatment, so that nothing conflicts with it. I am always willing to try new or untraditional treatments, so I really want to see how she feels about that stuff. If she is negative about it, and tells me it's better to do nothing, then I might change course and see what OVRS has to say.

When are you going to OVRS? I would imagine if you are like me you were on the phone at 8 am today getting the appt lined up. I am very excited to find out how that goes for you. Cooper looks like such an amazing dog. I hope you can fight this so that he has some time to be himself again and enjoy all the stuff he loves.

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

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23 February 2009 - 7:16 pm
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I have a Friday appointment and will let you know how it goes. I also talked to Dr Fox about neoplasene today and my own vet in Davison is very supportive and will get it for me, should I choose that route.

I feel a bit up in the air since I haven't even seen the pathology results yet (or had them explained to me). I'll know more after I talk to Dr Wilson tomorrow morning, we have a 9:30 am appointment. I hate that there are simply no guarantees or clear paths to take with this thing!

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24 February 2009 - 3:33 pm
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Cooper looks great, so glad he is able to be out and about and enjoying himself.  I am so overwhelmed already on all the chemo options and we haven't even seen the oncologist yet.  Neither can I find much feedback on the doc here in california.  I'll keep cooper in my prayers on the lung results.  Hope your appt went well this a.m.

Heidilyn

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