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Bailey the spunky ancient boxer- Osteosarcoma and front leg amputation
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Forum Posts: 23
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11 January 2019
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11 January 2019 - 3:32 pm
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I’ve been lurking on the forums for a few weeks now. Thanks to all of you for your stories. You have no idea how much…well, yes, you do know how much it helps to know others have walked the same path you have. 

Today was a particularly hard day- not because of anything remarkable. So, I would like to share our story with you in the hopes that someone else with tears rolling down their face at 2 am a week before Christmas desperately trying to figure out how they can “fix this” might benefit from what we have learned in the last 3.5 weeks. 

Here’s our story: 

Canine, female boxer, age 11 years, 6 months at diagnosis. Front left amputation due to a tumor diagnosed as Osteosarcoma

Her name is Bailey. My husband “bought” Bailey from his Senior Chief while he was on recruiting duty after senior decided they wanted a pool and didn’t have room for a dog to be able to run around. That, and Bailey (in true boxer fashion) had separation anxiety and decided to destroy any room she was put in when the family would leave. Take that, evil underwear and rug monsters!  

Okay. So, my husband (pre-me) who was probably the most squared away E-5 the Navy has ever known inherited the drool bucket and chaos instigator we have grown to love. 10 years later, my husband is an O3, and her face is gray. She’s PCS’d a few times, grown to love the “other woman” (me), endured a GIST tumor, two torn ACLs, and paralysis caused by osteomyelitis. She’s a tough old bird. 

12/12/18- While playing with her “brother”, he knocked her over. By the evening, a large lump had come up on her leg, above and close to the foot joint. So… distal femur?

12/13- Took her to the vet. Vet prescribed rimadyl and told us to wait to see if the swelling went down 

12/15- Swelling had gone down, but the lump was still there. I was worried she had fractured it, and sent the hubs to the vet for x-rays. The vet found the tumor. It was contained in the bone. The vet told my husband we needed to call two places immediately, because without treatment, she’d be gone in a month. Hubs comes home and tells me “it could be cancer”. 

12/17- we called the cancer specialty clinic in town and they offered us an appointment – December 31st. NOPE. We called our vet and they recommended another specialty vet in town who immediately booked us in for an 11 am appointment. They did an aspirate same day and we picked her up that afternoon. That evening around 9 pm, the surgeon called us to check in on her and talk to us about what we could be looking at – osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma. He was kind and knowledgeable, but told us if we chose to amputate, she would have a limited quality of life. He said she wasn’t the best candidate for amputation. She has a typical boxer spine, with spurs and fusion and idk what else, and two back legs that have arthritis from the torn CCL injuries. She’s also kind of a big girl. We assured him we would do all we could to make her life on three legs the absolute best we could, and that if the only way to save her life was amputation, we’d do it. We scheduled the surgery for Thursday morning. He wanted to confirm the type of cancer prior to operating. 

12/18- I googled until I could google no more. NCBI, research studies, life expectancy, amputation videos (thanks tripawds!), and anything else I could find. Then, I stumbled across a new treatment for osteosarcoma that uses immunology after amputation and chemo. There was hope. The study treatment was extending mean survival times to more than 900 days. The surgeon called that night and I told him about it. He was so excited. We both did some googling and found that one of the 20 centers administering the trial treatment is here in Jacksonville, FL and they only had about 20-30 spots left. I cried. Tears of hope. YES! The surgeon knew the owner of the clinic. YES! 

12/19- Surgeon talks to clinic, confirms diagnosis, and schedules the surgery for the morning. He warns us again what a job we will have on our hands caring for a three legged old boxer. We told him she loved us, and as long as she was telling us she still wanted to live, we were going to fight for her to be able to live well.

12/20- Surgery day! Surgeon calls and says things went remarkably well and was a little surprised our old girl did so good. We obviously weren’t surprised at all. 😉

12/21- My mother in law and the rest of the family arrive for Christmas- not a grocery in the house, so we went to Outback. Ha! Husband went to see Bailey for the first time with three legs. It was hard on him. But Bailey loved on him and told him it would all be alright. That’s our girl. 

12/22- We picked up our girl at the vet around noon. The sight of her with three legs dropped my stomach. She was just starting to do the hop, and was in full harness gear. This was going to be tough. So, we loaded her in the truck, and after I nearly had a heart attack because she bumped her chin on the seat and getting a pep talk from the vet tech, we were on our way. She spent the afternoon and evening happily wagging her nub under the Christmas tree in her bed. It was like she didn’t even know she had three legs. She shot in the house so fast after going outside we were jogging to try to slow her down and hang on to her harness. 

She did poop this day, and because of the gabapentin, she was doing it involuntarily, so we just used a pee pad, and cleaned her up. this isn’t permanent, so don’t freak out. 

12/23- Same as the day before. Our 5 year old niece was upset that Bailey had to lose her leg, but we sat her down and talked about it, and she was fine. She turned out to be a great helper. Bailey whined alot when the room would empty out and she was alone, so our niece would go sit beside her and pet her. Bailey watched Sam Bush on the TV and listened to some music. She was good. 

12/24- Family went back home. House was quiet. Bailey slept like the dead. It scared us. Gabapentin was still causing the incontinence, and she was acting almost drunk. Apparently, that’s normal?? I wasn’t too good with it, but the vet said she really needed it to be able to let her body heal. An amputation is a major, major surgery. 

12/25- Christmas Day. This was rough. Bailey had not urinated for 36 hours. She would not posture at all. She refused. She was very confused bc of the gabapentin and very lethargic. We fretted over her all day. Finally, I had my husband take her outside and after another fruitless pee walk/carry, we laid her down on the lanai and I evacuated her bladder. It was like the flood gates opened. Pee everywhere. Multiple towels and pee pads soaked through. She looked like she was visibly more comfortable. My husband actually teared up. He never does that. EVER. 

12/26- I needed help. Was really questioning if we did the right thing. Bailey was barely able to balance, still very confused, and just all around pitiful. I ordered “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide ” by Drs. Dressler and Ettinger. I asked my husband if we did the right thing. It was his turn to encourage me. 

12/27- The one week check-up. My husband took her. We saw a different surgeon, since ours was out of the country for Christmas. I wrote a page of progress notes, current medications, behaviors over the last few days, and sent the hubs on his way with a stern warning to make absolutely sure that vet read every word. The vet agreed the gabapentin could be discontinued, and said alot of her problems to date we observed were complications from the medicine. 

12/28-1/1- big improvements each day! No more spontaneous pooping, much more alert, learning to balance and walk, eating, drinking, etc. She even got up on her own several times without us helping. GOOD GIRL!!! 

1/2- Two week checkup and first chemo treatment. Her surgeon was really impressed that she had come so far in two weeks. I don’t know if he expected her to be a lump in a wagon or what. She walked all by herself all the way through the parking lot and into the office. She was being so extra. I was so proud of her. Chemo was caroboplatin. She did well and came home that night, with a little bit of lameness in the back leg where the IV was, but it was really slight. 

1/3-1/9- Continued improvement. Daily very short walks made her feel like a queen even though we just went to the end of the driveway. Lots of praise for small things, like letting us hold her harness while she uses the bathroom, and actually using the bathroom. I read the cancer book. I bought K-9 Immunity and the oncologist approved dosage. Scared us to death when she got excited about a treat and in a split second had somehow gone airborne, completely rotated her body and landed hard on the floor on her nub side. She was not too worried about it. Her main concern was the treat. That was a good lesson. Stay close to that harness handle. They do try a little more than they are truly able to do early on. Help-Em-Up harness is really a godsend. 

1/10- Noticed some decompensation and less enthusiasm when getting up. Less willing to walk outside. She would only drink “chicken water”. This is water served in a “human” bowl with a little shot of chicken broth and slightly warmed so she thinks she is getting people drink. She peed on the floor twice and once in her sleep during the night. That’s extremely out of character. She just couldn’t make it outside quick enough. Some signs of confusion again. Some constipation. 

1/11- (today)- This is 9 days after the first chemo treatment. Called the specialty vet to report the situation. Vet says she needs a CBC, urine culture, exam. 150 bucks. Hooray. So, we go down to her primary vet, say hello to her girls at the front, pull some blood, try fruitlessly to get her to urinate, and get the blood results. WBC looks good, and all values are normal except… platelets. That can be dangerous. Was relieved that it wasn’t the WBC, but worried about platelets. Got home at noon. Googled and googled for how to do my part to raise the platelets. Chicken water, rest, liver, protein, iron, blah, blah, blah. The specialty vet had an emergency come in. They still haven’t called to talk about the platelet thing. I’m worried sick. It’s 5:30 pm. Bailey has not had an accident since 6 am this morning. She seems happy as a clam, but is still slow to get up. We’ll baby her tonight. 

So that’s where we are. I’m so tired. SO tired. She’s happy and giving kisses, telling me thanks. 

Livermore, CA




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11 January 2019 - 4:10 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

All in all it sounds like she is doing pretty well.  We often see here that the more ‘mature’ pups take a bit longer to get their sea legs- but she sounds like she has been getting around well.  At 3 weeks from surgery pups are still tired and maybe sore- it’s a huge effort to hop on three.  It takes awhile to build strength and stamina.  And her acrobatics may have resulted in a tweak somewhere that makes her not want to get up.

On the chemo- did they give you any meds to help with nausea?

Sorry, I don’t have any input on platelets.  Hopefully you will hear back from the vet soon.

I’m glad you have quit lurking and joined us here!

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

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 January 2019 - 4:16 pm
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Hi and welcome Bailey and family. You’ve joined the club nopawdy wants to join, but you are in the right place. We are so glad you decided to share your story with everyone, thank you!

It’s clear you have a strong bond with Bailey and you have such a great attitude about everything. Sure, you have your moments of doubt it seems but you’re doing your best to be calm and gather the facts before making conclusions. I love that! Good job!

Sure sounds like Bailey’s gonna be just fine even with a minor side effect or two with chemo. The nice thing about it is that her quality of life is #s to the vet team so they will make sure that she is always on the path to comfort and healing. And if you don’t like how things turn out with chemo,  you can always stop. But for now Bailey has every chance in the world at beating those odds and rockin’ life on 3 for a long time. 

We’ll keep our paws and fingers and toes and tails crossed that she gets back on the healing path. Let us know what you find out from the vets OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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11 January 2019 - 5:30 pm
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Hello, and thanks so much for the kind words. She may have tweaked something landing on her side. I’ve been so focused on the chemo and keeping her upright I didn’t even think about that. She’s really developing some good muscle tone in her back legs, but I am a little concerned about the stance she is taking as she walks. She’s widening her back legs to keep a stable triangle with the front leg. 

She’s also throwing her legs out beside her when she sits, and we are having to train her to sit properly without just being splayed out everywhere. 

I want to get her through this first round of chemo so we know how she will do and then get her started back up on her physical therapy so neither of us fall into any bad habits that will affect her negatively later. 

I just got a call back from the vet. He thinks the incontinence, constipation, and behavior change is most likely due to rimadyl. I discontinued it this morning on a hunch and she hasn’t had an accident since 6 am. He wants to wash her out for three or four days and then start her on prednisone which will help with pain and prevent chemo side effects as well. In the interim we can use tramadol if she’s painful. He said he would call tomorrow and talk further. 

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12 January 2019 - 2:45 pm
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1/12- Doing SO MUCH better today. The issue must have been the rimadyl. Still no accidents and much more steady on her feet. I gave her a good deep massage this morning and she really liked it. She even tried to persuade me she was well enough to go on her former walk trail. I let her go a little, but was afraid she would wear out and not be able to get her back home. I had to pick her up by her harness to turn her around. Then she planted her feet in the street and REFUSED to walk forward while looking back over her shoulder down the street with the most determined look on her face. Eventually, I won. She made it back to the end of the driveway and had to sit down and take a break before heading in to the house. 

Virginia




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12 January 2019 - 4:07 pm
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Just catching  up on little Miss Stong-willed Bailey!!   What a feisty  gal!  

Gosh, was so surprised  to find out that Rimadyl  was the culprit causing  her variety of symptoms.  Glad they got everything figured out.

Qnd Bailey, you listen to your Mom when it comes to your walks!  Shhhhh….I do love how you expressed  your displeasure at cutting your wallks short!!!

Keep these good updates coming!

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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13 January 2019 - 3:05 pm
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1/13- (From Bailey)- Today, I woke my boyfriend up at 5:30 so he would cuddle with me in my bed without the girl there. I like our time alone. He didn’t snuggle with me. He made me go outside and potty, and then the girl laid down with me in my other bed in the living room until I fell back asleep. I need a better plan for tomorrow morning. 

The hoomans said I don’t have to go to the vet tomorrow because I didn’t potty on the floor at all since Friday morning. So, I peed on the floor when my mom left me alone and didn’t come when I called her. Then I ran out the back door when she chased me to put on my clothes and sunbathed in the yard for a while. HAHAHAHAAAA! They think I can’t control it. Then the girl hooman went for a ride and didn’t take me. My boyfriend and I went back to the backyard and I tanned by the pool. Then he fed me some chicken soup. I love him. 

This afternoon, I have been playing a game with girl. She walks out of the room. Then, I find a spot in another room to stand quietly. Then she gets very excited and comes to find me! I love this game! She is a good hooman for a pet. I trained her so good. She says I’m extra. That means best hooman trainer. I love her, too. 

It’s 3 minutes ’til dinner and my boyfriend is going to be coming in from the garage soon. He makes things for me with wood since my front leg went away. That was SO WEIRD, btw. I hope we grill tonight! K bye! 

Virginia




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14 January 2019 - 10:16 am
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BAILEY!!!    OMD!! LMAO!!!    😂🤣    Have you thought about a career as a Master Trainer  for Hoomans…..for hoomans who need training  on how to be an.EXCELLENT PET FOR HOOMANS!!! 😎😎

Of course, you do appear to have hoomans whi are quick learners, so that helps!

This is such a great update, so keep ’em coming!!-  YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!!

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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15 January 2019 - 12:21 pm
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1/14- Started 10 mg of prednisolone. Bought her a wagon so we can walk and then haul her back when she peters out. 

She did pretty good today. Seemed to have more energy and is drinking plain water again. Well, water from the dispenser. She’s still refusing tap water. 

Most importantly, no more accidents! She voluntarily laid on her nub side and was more mobile today.

1/15- Vet said 20 mg prednisolone so I upped the dose. Seems more alert, but very bored. She perks up when the work day is done. Not sure how long it takes for prednisolone to kick in.

Virginia




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15 January 2019 - 7:13 pm
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Alrighty, some more improvements!  Drinking water and no,pee accidents and comfortable  on nub and more mobile……all victories!!!  Jer sparkle  will come back slow but surely….. and it already is!!😊

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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18 January 2019 - 8:39 am
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Love your story Bailey! How are things going? How are the wagon trips going? I hope all is well.

Jackie and Huck heart

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

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19 January 2019 - 9:42 am
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1/16-1/19- The prednisolone finally kicked in and it has helped tremendously! She is getting up on her own, positioning herself well, wandering around the house, bright eyed, and generally warting us to death, as usual. Great news. I am still a little concerned she’s still a little painful because she is still very vocal. I was thinking that it was her way of getting us to come and sit with her, but she wouldn’t be doing it if she wasn’t feeling something that made her think she absolutely had to have us right beside her. She’s not normally that high maintenance. I’ll ask the vet about that when she goes in for her next chemo treatment this Wednesday the 23rd. My stress level has gone down quite a bit, knowing that she is feeling much better. Thursday was 4 weeks post-surgery! 

Virginia




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19 January 2019 - 11:07 am
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This is such a good update!!  YAAAAAAY for Bailey!!!   And YAAAAAAY for her hoomans!!!😁😁😁

Continue  to give  her lots of massages.  Can’t remember,  is she on any pain meds still?  She may need a low dose of “something” for awhile longer.  Some dogs do need that little bit of med longer.

Give that sweet gal a big smooch for us!

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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19 January 2019 - 2:58 pm
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What a great update! So glad she’s doing well. 

She may have a bit of discomfort getting used to her new stride and balance, and she may be a little more clingy now as she’s going through her process. 

I am so happy for all of you, please give your girl an extra belly scratch for me too ❤️❤️

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

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23 January 2019 - 10:55 am
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1/20-1/23

Some habits die hard. Bailey LOVES to eat poop. I mean, this girl would tear into a nice two day old doo drop like a plate of nachos. We’ve been cleaning up her poop immediately since the surgery, but I was lax and left ONE pile in the backyard. 

Mistake. 

She likes to have her pool time, so I left her our in the yard to sun a while. She found the lone pile of three day old poop after I went back in the house. 

Two hours later, it’s a puddle of vomit in the living room- chunks and all. GLORIOUS! 

So, after about 24 hours she was back to normal. 

1/23- Today is the second round of carboplatin for our girl. She’s officially decided she does not like the vet’s office. I wasn’t able to talk with the doc this morning when I dropped her off. I was really wanting to talk about long term pain management , as steroids are definitely not a long term option at 20 mg a day. They said he would call me later. He’s a board certified acupuncturist, so I’m curious as to what we could do for her long term with that route and maybe a low dose of pain meds or something. Chemo day is rough for both of us. 🙁 

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