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Tazzie No 2 Pyr/Collie cross front leg osteosarcoma | Share Your Story

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Tazzie No 2 Pyr/Collie cross front leg osteosarcoma
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Winnipeg
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13 July 2009 - 4:17 pm
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I see there is already a famous Tazzie on this website. Here is another Tazzie, this one a boy (but everyone seems to think he is a she, probably because of his long blond hair), spending winters in Winnipeg Manitoba and summers in southern Alberta. Tazzie is a 8 yr old (8 going on 1 until this happened) great pyrenees x collie cross, tending to be lean at about 80 lbs.

Like many of you, Tazzie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the right fore leg, just this weekend and is scheduled for amputation this Wednesday. He has limped off and on for a few months, but it only became bad and obviously painful last week. I only noticed a swelling last Tuesday and it seems to be growing quickly. Poor guy – he had stomach torsion just a month ago but at least I caught that one early. In any case, he is rapidly losing his beautiful hair to various operations this summer. But that is a bit misleading – he is generally really healthy which is why the vet recommends treatment.

Although amputation is scheduled, I have questions like most of you do or did. I am still curious about whether a prosthetic leg is a reasonable option. He is not as big as some of your dogs, but has a very long back and deep chest, so I imagine this will be a strain on his remaining front leg. He also likes to walk slowly and smell things, but I figure now he will have to move at a rapid pace or else he would fall. Does anyone have information on prosthetics ?

He is a bit more sedate than usual the last two days (we put him on metacam and another pain drug this week), eats like a horse, poops like an elephant (has anyone else seen that?), and has lost a lot of weight. I had assumed the weight loss was due to the restricted diet following his stomach surgery, but am a bit concerned it is related to the cancer. I don't want to go through with difficult treatment if it has already spread (his three lung x-rays were clean and the vets seem Excellent – he is going to a Cancer Care Centre for dogs).

Like all of you, I don't want to choose options that end up resulting in a lot of poor-quality or downtime with whatever time he has left. But it is hard to know in advance how things will turn out.

The videos really help. Amazing recovery in Samwise the retriever.

Any thoughts you have are appreciated,

Susan

Edmonton
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13 July 2009 - 4:42 pm
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Hi Tazzie No. 2, so you live in Alberta too! 

Is the vet going to remove Tazzie's scapula as well?  Without the humerus, I think prosthetic leg wouldn't work as good.  Genie was very deep-chested, she handled it well with a slight adjustment to her activities.

Good luck on Wednesday and wish Tazzie a speedy recovery!  Please keep us posted.

Hugs.

Here and Now


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13 July 2009 - 4:44 pm
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Hi Susan! Welcome and thanks for joining.

There’s been a lot of discussion in the forums about dog prosthetics. And we published this blog post about prosthetics for dogs. Personally, I believe dogs adapt much better to life on three legs than they would trying to live with a strange implement attached to their limb. Location of the tumor is also important for a prosthesis. The only successful prosthetics I have ever heard of were on dogs with most of the limb remaining.

Prostheics, limb sparing and radiation therapy are all options to consider. But far too many times we hear of people putting their pups through multiple painful expensive surgeries only to end up amputating the limb anyway.

Being healthy at 80 pounds, Tazzie should recuperate well and regain her strength quickly. Don’t forget to check out our blog posts answering the top ten amputation questions and concerns we have received. There’s also this good discussion going about mushroom therapries including the K9 Immunity from Aloha Medicinals Jerry took as part of his canine cancer treatment plan.

Best wishes for a complete speedy recovery!

Winnipeg
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13 July 2009 - 6:35 pm
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Thanks for the replies. I can see this website will be an enormous help during the next few hours, days, weeks, months and hopefully year or two or who knows. The last 'chat group' I belonged to was K-9 kidneys in 2001, shortly after I adopted Tazzie, because he was a counter surfer and ended up finding a large bottle of Advil that he ingested. oh my. Anyway, until this month no more serious vet attention has been required and he did survive that acute renal failure and then stomach torsion 4 weeks ago (7 yrs after the Advil event). Let's make it three biggies by surviving cancer!

The vet intends to amputate the scapula because he says it is prone to less injury (which seems to be true from what I have read) and cosmetically better (which also seems true). The cancer itself is at the distal end (lower end) of the radius – so he could leave a stump but he does not think that is the best method for amputation alone. He does not feel enough of the radius will remain to allow some of the limb-sparing methods. I wouldn't really think twice about the amputation vs. prosthetic issue if the dog was smaller, but he already appears to have a lot of weight foisted on those two front pads – that is, he is already a bit flat-footed which can only get worse when there is only one foot. I suppose he will adjust the way most tripawds do. I am amazed at the way they can balance. I would have thought it would be hard to stand still!

Yes, the best option is probably the simplest, which is a great point that one of you made. I didn't know a prosthesis would require additional surgeries, but I suppose he would always be prone to rubbing and infections and getting such a thing fitted.

The idea of a dog whining and crying for two days after surgery is disturbing. Tazzie has never shown that kind of response to pain, and hope the pain is not as bad as that. I kind of hope the vet clinic will keep him for 2 or 3 nights to help him get up on his feet, although they might send him home one after one night. I don't know if I am up to the challenge of helping him if he is in extremely rough shape.

Susan

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13 July 2009 - 7:06 pm
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Hi Susan:

I understand what you must be feeling, we went through every option with our surgeon, oncologist and regular vet when we found out our diagnosis.  They all said, the success rate and possible complications (not to mention $$$$) would be far harder on all of us than the actual amputation.

Not to say that THE DAY is going to be easy. My husband about had to sedate me (slapstick comedy style, think of the old Airplane movies) I was bawling, hyperventilating, I just wanted to take my baby and run far far away. We had a bad week last week when we found out that Tika has lung mets starting.

However, 7 months post amp.  I have NO REGRETS.

 Really I don't. It's been a very emotional ordeal, but my girls and I have just been downstairs romping around wrestling and I really don't notice that there's a leg missing (not to mention that BIG C word)

As far as post surgery.  Every dog acts different.  Tika isn't one to show pain, and she really didn't for this, but she moaned a lot and had a few panic episodes.  Her pain meds had her tripping like she was at a Grateful Dead concert and making her awfully nauseous. So we tried without the meds and things got a lot better, she was sore, but she seemed to prefer that to dancing pink elephants. She just slept ALOT.  Our other dog behaved really well with her and we made her a 'room' in our living for her to feel comfortable in.

Two weeks later, we went for our first walk since it was nice (for January) and it's been uphill ever since!

Good luck, come cry on our collective shoulders. I definitely did last week and everybody's kind and uplifting words helped immensely!

–Kim and Tika

PS–I had a shepherd mix once that did the Advil cocktail.  Ate the bottle and all, except it was my travel bottle and we had NO idea how many pills were in it, I just knew a lot because I had just filled it up. We almost lost her.  That is NOT a fun experience. I feel for you there. I still have the stuffed toy we bought her after recovery. A zebra that we named Advil.  

She also ate a bag and bowl full of CHOCOLATE halloween candy. Lesson learned:  1oz of chocolate per 1 pound of dog and they will not have ill effects other than really lovely flatulence and bowel movements.

Kim and Spirit Tika http://www.tika.....ogspot.com

Kirkland, WA
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13 July 2009 - 7:39 pm
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Welcome!  If you are concerned with taking tazzie home soon after surgery, I would request that they keep him a couple extra days.  It's really not that expensive and it could give you added peace of mind.  We are 5-6 weeks out of surgery (i already stopped counting…just seems like he's always had 3 legs) and 3 days after surgery we had to take him back due to minor complications and phantom pain (it was my own fault…i let him get too active and he ended up with broken capillaries).  The day after surgery they said they could keep him for an extra day to observe the seepage, but I really missed him and took him home.  Then after our incident I was practically begging the doctor to let him stay longer!  Each little doggie will recover at their own pace, but even if he seems to be doing really well, don't let his cute face fool you and be sure that he gets plenty of bed rest.  Good luck to you guys!

<3 Laura

Here and Now


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13 July 2009 - 8:26 pm
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Who knows, indeed! Have you seen (the other) Tazzie's video? She is a 175lb three legged English Mastiff, missing a front leg.

FYI: They took Jerry's scapula too. The scar at first can be quite disturbing, but he never once cried out or whined like we have heard some dogs do.

Winnipeg
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13 July 2009 - 9:55 pm
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Well I have a lot to learn about posting (what does PM and all the other abbreviations mean – I'll just click 'post reply' until I learn otherwise) plus I'd like to hoist a pic of Tazzie #2 onto the website before the big day – Wednesday.

Tika's experience is really helpful to hear about – so very sorry about your recent news. And I think I will ask the vet to keep him for a couple of days as heartless as it will make me feel – it is a specialist practice (in fact, it is called “Western Veterinary Cancer Care Centre”) and Tazzie was very happy with the people he met.

And yes, I was impressed at Tazzie #1's video!!  That made me thing that my “small” pyrenees cross should be able to handle this. Also impressed at the “Samwise” videos – were those on this website or UTube. Was that Pup really hopping around at 3 days and swimming at 3 weeks post-surgery?

Susan


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13 July 2009 - 11:34 pm
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My dog Tazzie had her cancer in the same spot as yours (distal radius).  I seriously considered limb-spare surgery since it is performed here in Seattle but the surgeon thought that Tazzie was just too big and could have too many complications and in retrospect he was right!  Our Tazzie did just fine after the amputation and handled chemo well.  We do have to battle a frequent pressure sore on her remaining front foot and she can no longer go for 2 mile walks but she is almost 11 months post-amp and still feeling well and getting around great.

It is natural to want to pursue a prosthetic but that is actually harder on the dog and not without complications.  The best treatment for bone cancer is unfortunately amputation.

Good luck and send photos soon.

Pam and Tazzie

Edmonton
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14 July 2009 - 7:01 am
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Tazzie said:

Well I have a lot to learn about posting (what does PM and all the other abbreviations mean – I'll just click 'post reply' until I learn otherwise) plus I'd like to hoist a pic of Tazzie #2 onto the website before the big day – Wednesday.


Tazzie & Susan:

PM='Private Message”.  Use this when you would like to send the message privately to one or more members.  Next time when the message recipients login, they will notice that there is new message in the Inbox.

Examples for REPLY would be:  e.g.  all the posts in this Tazzie No 2 topic were the results of using REPLY button.  When REPLY was clicked, it would just open up a blank new typing area for your comments.

QUOTE: I am using QUOTE button for this post.  Since I am addressing to only part of your post, I trimmed off the irrelevant paragraphs.

Posting Pictures: you will first need to upload the pics to a website, e.g. google photos, …etc.  Then in your post, click the insert image icon with the photo's URL.  Or you can send your photo to Jerry. Jerry will upload it to the website, and so you can reference the URL in your post.

Hope this helps.

Winnipeg
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14 July 2009 - 9:10 am
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Tazzie no 2 loved to hear from Tazzie no 1: such a good example. We are off to pester the vet with last-day questions followed by a swim and romp before the main event tomorrow. It will be crushing to have done at the time, but I see all of you went through that feeling.

I saw some videos of dogs walking great (slight hitches in their gaits) with limb-sparing surgery, but can't recall what their problem was. Would probably make more sense if the surgery was being done after an accident or something that was not going to threaten their life in the following year.

Tazzie seems to be eating a lot this week (until today when there was some diarhea – the last week there was just large volumes of regular poo). I heard that an increased diet is a sign of cancer early on (vs. loss of appetite later on), but does that indicate whether it has spread into the system? Perhaps that is a question for the vet.

Thanks so much for the advice everyone,

Susan

Winnipeg
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14 July 2009 - 9:45 am
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p.s. last minute questions

Do people every do a dose of chemo or radiation first (prior to surgery) to reduce chance of mets taking hold? Kind of worried what can happen in the 2-3 weeks between surgery and first chemo.

Should I be concerned about whether the C has taken hold elsewhere, given we only looked at the lungs? I realize that is the main place they go, but just wonder whether surgery is the right choice if it has spread into the system. I just want to maximize the good time he has.

S

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14 July 2009 - 12:13 pm
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Hi–

I've heard the option of doing a round of chemo before. But our oncologist and surgeon both wanted to have Tika get through the surgery first and heal without the risk of infection happening (the chemo can/will supress the immune system)

I went to visit her the day after her surgery and as hard as it was, I made the decision right there to leave her one more day, then I promptly went back home and we did some rearranging and prepping of the house.  It also gave her a chance to get her feet under her a bit which was helpful since she had a 40 minute car ride to make back home.

There's always the chance the cancer is present somewhere's else, but take one thing at a time.  I can hardly remember the month of December I was so overwhelmed. 

AND through all of this…..don't forget to take care of yourself!

Good luck, let us know how she does!

Kim

Kim and Spirit Tika http://www.tika.....ogspot.com

Winnipeg
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14 July 2009 - 12:59 pm
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Hi Tika and friends

Visited the vet this morning, which was really helpful even if I did not have any great questions left (most of my questions had been answered with help from you and other websites). He even brought his little 3-legged dachshund to work today since he knew we were coming. He rescued her and one other dog found in Mexico – both injured from abuse. The dachsund was so close to the ground you did not even notice that a leg was missing.

We went over everything related to surgery today rather than tomorrow, and it was good to get that over. They will place a catheter at the site of the operation to administer pain drugs locally (or keep it frozen) for a few days, and will keep him for a few nights or longer – until they are certain they get no pain response from touching the site after the catheter is removed. So that is great to hear.

I am so glad this clinic is here – it has mostly vets who used to be at the vet college in Saskatoon. Tazzie's surgeon used to be the head of surgery there – so he is in good hands.

This week, a three-legged dog was seen swimming in a sewage pond in south Calgary: the firemen donned their toxic suits and jumped in to rescue it. Another three-legged stray was seen running around the area while all of this was going on! I feel like it is fate that these dogs appeared in the local news just now, and am tempted to call the pound to say “I want to adopt both of them”! Then I'd have three dogs and nine legs – sounds like good luck! I bet they have received heaps of calls already.

Susan

Kirkland, WA
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14 July 2009 - 4:24 pm
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Good luck to both of you tomorrow!  I think most times chemo is started like, 2 weeks after surgery when the incision is pretty well healed, but I'm sure each case is different.  Like you, when Jackers was first diagnosed I wanted to do everything we could to stop the spread ASAP.  He was a candidate for limb sparing surgery but we went ahead with amputation to get rid of ALL the webbed cancer cells.  I couldn't live with knowing he would still have cancer cells in his leg.  We had to wait a week after his stitches came out to start chemo (our oncologist is a specialist and works between several locations) and that week was harder than any other because I just knew the cancer was spreading.  Again, I am sending good wishes up north and let us know how it goes tomorrow!

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