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Recently Diagnosed with Osteosarcoma
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Member Since:
29 January 2024
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30 January 2024 - 6:00 pm
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Hello to All,

New to all this, and to be honest I wish never had to be on here. With that said I want to thank those responsible for creating a resource for all us pet parents to find answers and comfort. I apologize in advance for what will be a long and very descriptive few paragraphs. I have always found that the more you give the first time the less you have to be asked before someone feels comfortable giving an answer or advice.

My story will sound like so many I have read over the past 6 weeks since finding out my Roxy girl has Osteosarcoma in her right Scapula.

Roxy is an adopted Rottweiler / Coonhound mix, though not confirmed, we have had her since 4 months old and she is now 12.

It all started as a simple limp from what I assumed was jumping off the bed or some other normal activity. After it became more pronounce over the next  7-10 days; I said lets take her to the Vet. While there she showed some discomfort in the flexing and pulling of that leg while being checked. Our vet said I think we should take some x-rays to rule out this thing called Osteosarcoma, it can occur in larger breed dogs with similar symptoms. Of course we said okay but truly believed it couldn't be that serious, we were wrong. So after the results of the x-rays were told to us and the disbelief faded I started searching for any information I could find. We have had two consultation with 2 different Oncologist in our area which is NJ. When first hearing the word Amputation we both said "No Way"!, and I began my dive into the waters of finding another option. We where also presented with different  options also from Radiation SRT, Palliative RT, and Chemotherapy and Zoledronate therapy with all requiring a CT scan. 

While doing my due diligence online I came across 2 clinical trials being done for this horrid disease, 1 being done with association to Virginia Tech using Ultrasonic waves to blast the tumor and break in down with the hope the body immune system with then recognize and attack the cancer cells, and the other is called the Yale Vaccine. Please keep in mind that my description of these 2 trials are in layman's terms at best.

While I have been doing all this research, talking with 2 different Oncologist, and speaking with the Doctors who are running these Clinical Studies all with one intention, trying to find the best options available to give her the longest time and quality of life. I now find myself even more stressed and questioning myself on when to stop the search while the problems get's worst. We also just had chest x-rays done as recommended to see if the cancer has spread to the lungs and there is a small spot in the x-ray but not definitely determined to be cancer.

While I hate to even bring up the $ amount, it is part of the whole and we've been quoted between $9,000.00 & $13,000.00 dollars to go forward with the CT Scan, Amputation, and Chemotherapy and understandably with no real sense of expected time and more importantly a pain free quality of life she will have.

So I humbly reach out to you all with the hope that previous experiences will help lead me to an exit that puts me on the right road. Many thanks to what will be many responses.  

Sincerely Mike

Virginia







Member Since:
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30 January 2024 - 7:33 pm
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Hello Mike and Roxy.  Welcome and your post has been approved 

Thanks for providing  such a thorough background on jow you and Roxy got here.  Very helpful. 

While we are sorry you find yourself here, this is the best place to be for support, inform and understanding  from those of us who have been where you are.

You have spoken to the professionals and have done your research.  Yeah, if you're  like most of us, enough research to drive ya'' nuts.

As far as amputation,  I actually said the same thing when it was brought up for my Happy Hannah years ago...." No way!!  Absolutely  not!"  My Bet said to at least speak to an Onco and Surgeon,  etc,  This was before I was even aware of this site.  Long story short, as her pain got worse I knew I had to amputate or let her go.  We had a blissful quality  filled time together for another year and two months.  And that's over seven hooman  years!

Many of us can relate to finances being an issue.  Trust me on that.  Some wouldn't  even be able to proceed as far as xrays, much less CT scans, surgery, chemo, etc.  Not to ,mention vaccines, etc.

For now to keep things chunked down put a decision about chemo on the back burner.   There are no guarantees  one way or another.  Not a decision  you need to make right away.  Many, myself included didn't  do CT and just went with the expertise  of the Vets and xrays.

What the amputation  does on it's on is eliminate  pain and allows for a quaility  pain free life for more loving and spoiling!  No dog has a timeframe stamped on their butt and a dog do3s not count days on a calendar.   They live in the nowand all they want is for each moment to be by your side.

Others will chime in to support you too.  Others have tried some with  of the other options the Onco mentioned if you dont go the amputation  route with mixed results.

Your love for Roxy is evident  and you will always make the right decision for her out of love.  We support  you whatever path  youj take

Higs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS.....I have an adopted three leg Coonhound.....tough strong willed dogs!!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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30 January 2024 - 7:55 pm
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Hey Mike, welcome. We wish you didn't need to be here too! But are super glad you found us. 

Yep, many people have been through a similar situation, myself included. Here's what I can tell you:

Osteosarcoma is the worst bone pain there is. Doing something about it as quickly as you can is urgent. But you have to make a decision you can live with. If any of the treatments are within your means, great. Just know that aside from treating the pain in some way, everything else is optional, from chemo to clinical studies. 

Is the Histotripsy study the one at UVA that you are talking about? If so, here's a tripawd talk post about one study UVA did with the same type of therapy (pre-amputation):

https://tripawd.....istotripsy

Vaccines are also a great option these days. Here are our posts about vaccine therapy for bone cancer.

Aside from the incredibly high costs, the problem with all of these treatments are that there no guarantees. That is impossible. So no matter what you choose, you're rolling the dice with any of them. Sure, there are statistics you can pour over, but even so, we have seen here that cancer will do what it wants. Some dogs will outlive the prognosis with these treatments, some won't. Some will outlive the prognosis with nothing more than amputation too. It's all one big crapshoot.

So if you are the kind of person who cannot live with yourself if you leave no stone unturned in trying to buy more quality time, then it's a matter of choosing the therapy that will affect her quality of life the least. A therapy that won't stress her out, or stress you out, financially or emotionally. The thing to know  about all of the treatments is that a dog's quality of life really is the #1 priority. All oncologists are committed to that. If a treatment doesn't agree with her, you have no commitment to continue. You can modify the treatment (usually) or just stop. Everything is up to you.

Yes, she's older. But if she is young and otherwise healthy, there's no reason she can't do well on three, and even beat the cancer odds to live out her normal life expectancy.

In a lot of ways, I'm envious of all the treatment options now. What I'm not envious about is having to decide on one. It's almost overwhelming. When our Jerry was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2006, the only options were amputation, and chemo if we opted in. We did not. And he still lived two years. Yes, he was an outlier, but we've seen others do the same over the years, with some enjoying even longer lifespans.

You know your girl best. Ask her. What does she want? Really. Have a heart-to-heart, and in silence, communicate with her so you can reach a decision soon.

We will support you no matter what you decide. Let us know what questions you have too.

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30 January 2024 - 8:32 pm
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Hi, I am so sorry about Roxy. My boy got the news just shy of his 12th birthday. I was in complete denial. No way am I going to let them amputate. I took the pain medicine and left 

After about two weeks I could tell the pain medicine wasn't working. I called the vet several times to see if there was anything else he could have. I got the same answer.  Amputation .  At three weeks I saw a lump starting to appear on his ankle. I then realized this is happening!

I started researching and found this community. I am so happy I did. If not, I may have not gone through with it. Brownie was happy and did fine after recovery. His recovery went really well. He even started using the doggie door again on week two. It did take him a few weeks to get his personality back. But it came back bigger than ever!

I am not able to give any advise on chemo. We went holistic. However, in 2007 I had a five year old GSD and she had chemo and did fine. But I know there has been a lot of changes and new treatments since then.

What I did learn from this community, if you do decide to amputate, you are not doing it to them, you are doing it for them, ❤️

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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31 January 2024 - 12:06 pm
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Thanks to all of you for taking the time to share your stories and providing some insight to what may soon lie ahead. To Jerry who asked about the  Histotripsy study, yes it is the one from Virginia Tech. We spoke with doctor on the phone for over 40 minutes and she was just a wonderful in explaining all the various options out there along with the goal of the study. I am going to read the story you linked once this post is done.

So here are a few questions I have and want to be clear of before assuming I understood what each of you did and didn't do.

Those who responded here did the amputation without having a CT done and used the x-rays and experience of the vets or oncologist to decide to move forward?

Did or should you have a Biopsy done to confirm the diagnosis even if it's 99.9% agreed by all parties to be Osteosarcoma, and the growth is showing itself physically now? 

Those who responded here did the amputation without chemotherapy, though I realize that choice can be made afterwards?

Is anybody from my area in Northern New Jersey or Tri State for that matter and used a doctor they would recommend?

From a purely observational point of view; how did your pups react to realizing a limb was missing? I can only try to think as a human who goes to sleep and wakes up with one less arm they did before going to sleep.

Once again to Jerry, I so get what your saying about talking to her and asking her. I have actually done that more than once over the last few weeks. I'm one of those who thinks he actual has the ability to communicate with animal's, but not in the "put him in the looney bin" type of belief but more of an emotional feeling of connection. Unfortunately being part Rottweiler; she only speaks German!icon_lol

Figure I throw a little levity in here.

Thank you all so much and look forward to your answer and keeping you abreast of what's to come. I do feel a whole better now than I did an hour ago. Mike 

Virginia







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31 January 2024 - 2:55 pm
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Great questions!    I'll share my perspective .  Keep in mind, this is just my FWIW based on my experience. 

    Those who responded here did the amputation without having a CT done and used the x-rays and experience of the vets or oncologist to decide to move forward?

No CT .   My Happy Hannah's xrays were read by my own experienced  Vet first who noted the osteo first, then forwarded to a Radiologist and Surgeon.   They did a three  panel xray before proceeding  with surgery to make sure lungs were clear. 

This is the same path I would decide  again with osteo. I think maybe other types of cancers maybe would want a CT as far as spleen, etc.

 

    Did or should you have a Biopsy done to confirm the diagnosis even if it's 99.9% agreed by all parties to be Osteosarcoma, and the growth is showing itself physically now

 

I did not proceed with a biopsy  nor do I even recall if it was mentioned .  The professionals  saw osteo and that was good enoigh for me.  I have since learned, mostly from here, that biopsies  are very often inconclusive and it's generally a painful sirgery.   So no, I would NOT put my dog through a biopsy.

    Those who responded here did the amputation without chemotherapy, though I realize that choice can be made afterwards

Again FWIW, although  I did proceed with chemo, I'm really not sure how I would proceed if facing that again.  Unfortunately,  a huge part of the decision  would be based on lack of finances.   Additionally,  I've seen such mixed results  here with or without  chemo.

 

    From a purely observational point of view; how did your pups react to realizing a limb was missing?

 

Honest to goodness, my Hapoy Hannah did t miss a beat.  She walked out, if I recall, with sling help from the clinic. When I got home she rebelled  against any sling help and hopped on three jist like she was born with three.  Keep in mind that some dogs do need more time to get their sea legs the first several days.  No worries if that's the case.  Vets say it takes about two weeks to recover from the surgery  itself and avout thirty days to really master  three as far as fluid motion, balance, muscles fully adjusting etc

Everyone has their own experience,  but wanted to share mine in as specific  way I could to your quesrions. 

 

Yes,I assure you everyone here understands the language of "dog speak"and believe in it........neven in German 😄😁  

My typos may look like German  sometimes!😉

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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31 January 2024 - 6:33 pm
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Hi, I went by the X-ray. My vet said the biopsy could be very painful and possibly break the bone .

Brownie was a dog who hated the vet. I didnt want to put him through all the vet visits and testing because it would have stressed him out. With my work schedule at the time I would have had to drop him off at 7am and pick him up at 6pm on chemo days. Brownie would shut down if I  left him anywhere, even with my mom whom he loved .

So, we went holistic with diet, supplements and he did have a treatment at the holistic vet but I would need to look up the name. It has to do with putting oxagen. In the blood. I got to be with Brownie during treatment at the Holistic vet so he was fine.

All dogs are different but Brownie lived an additional one year and eight days without chemo. I don't know if it was his diet, the supplements or just plain luck. But I do know him being happy and not stressed helped.

I know a year doesn't seem long but Brownie was only given two to three months without chemo. So I have learned you really can't go by statics. And yes, I would do it again. It gave me time to spoil Brownie and basically give him anything he wanted.

As far as the limb being gone, I really don't think Brownie cared. He did everything he did before but his way. They figure it out. Brownie was a senior and very determined dog!  I was worried how he would feel when he woke up. When I went to the vet after surgery I just looked him in the eye and told him I missed him and he just wanted to go home. I have two other dogs and they knew something was different but they didn't care. They accepted him just the way he was 

Good for you for doing your research. You will do what is right for Roxy ❤️

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

The Rainbow Bridge



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31 January 2024 - 11:07 pm
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Hey Mike! I'm glad this is all helpful for you, and that it makes you feel better. 

Dr. Tuohy is great isn't she?! 

To answer your questions before I call it a day:

Those who responded here did the amputation without having a CT done and used the x-rays and experience of the vets or oncologist to decide to move forward?

We only had x-rays done. If you want a definitive answer about whether or not there may be micrometastasis in the lungs, or elsewhere in the body, a CT scan is the only way to know. If the answer will determine your choice, then you should get one. If you will still amputate regardless, then xrays are probably adequate.

Did or should you have a Biopsy done to confirm the diagnosis even if it's 99.9% agreed by all parties to be Osteosarcoma, and the growth is showing itself physically now? 

If it is very clear it's osteosarcoma, get rid of the leg then do the biopsy (assuming you mean bone biopsy, not a fine-needle aspirate). A bone biopsy is horribly painful, it's another surgery that is unnecessary if it's already agreed that your girl has osteosarcoma.

Those who responded here did the amputation without chemotherapy, though I realize that choice can be made afterwards?

Of course it can be decided on later, as long as you aren't enrolling in some kind of study that requires you to commit ahead of time. Many oncologists are starting to do chemotherapy immediately after surgery now, sometimes same day, so they will want to know your choice sooner so they can fit you into their schedule. But remember, you are in control here, so take as much time as you need. Just treat the pain first however you choose, and that decision can come later.

Is anybody from my area in Northern New Jersey or Tri State for that matter and used a doctor they would recommend?

I am not but plenty of members have been really happy with Red Bank Veterinary. I've never heard a complaint about them here.

From a purely observational point of view; how did your pups react to realizing a limb was missing? I can only try to think as a human who goes to sleep and wakes up with one less arm they did before going to sleep.

Honestly Jerry didn't. He felt better, that was all he cared about. Remember that dogs aren't burdened with our emotions about limb loss grief. They move on so quickly, much better than we do. It's a lesson you'll never forget if you go forward with the amputation, and it makes you a stronger person.

Unfortunately being part Rottweiler; she only speaks German!icon_lol

LOL! Well, dogs don't need words to communicate. You two can speak through the bond you share. It's real, and it will lead you in the direction that's best for both of you.

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