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11 year old Lab mix with nerve sheath tumor | Treatment, Recovery and Oncology

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11 year old Lab mix with nerve sheath tumor
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Montreal, Quebec
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10 July 2018 - 7:30 pm
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Hello I’m looking for some help. My 11 year old Labrador mix has been diagnosed with a nerve sheath tumor on her right front leg. The tumor is found on the spinal nerve supplying the right triceps. The affected muscle has atrophy. The lesion does not extend to the vertebral canal. 

I am looking for advice regarding amputation of the arm.

1) if the tumor is fully removed, are there chances of this cancer returning?

2) can a 11 year old 70 lb dog recover from a front leg amputation and return to a good quality of life?

Thank you very much if you have any advice to share.

Here and Now

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10 July 2018 - 7:51 pm
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yaya said
Hello I’m looking for some help…

Welcome, you’ve come to the right place! Best wishes for your pup. What’s his or her name?

There is always a chance of cancers returning if soft tissue tumors are not excised with proper margins. This depends upon how “involved” the tumor is and why most oncologists will recommend amputation to get it all. Depending upon the exact location of the tumor, partial amputation may be an option, and if at least one or preferably two articulating joints remain, use of a prosthetic may be an option. As cancers go, you got a “good” one…

You will find many success stories of much older and larger dogs recovering quickly, adapting well, and Loving Life On Three Legs here. While you wait for feedback from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you’re sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Montreal, Quebec
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10 July 2018 - 8:57 pm
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Thank you so much. Her name is Belle, which I assume her 1st owner named her after Belle in the story Beauty and the Beast. She has been with me since she was 8 months old. I want to be fully informed about what to expect if we do amputate because I can not regret this desicion. We are meeting with an oncologist soon to discuss how we proceed with her diagnosis.  

Here and Now

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10 July 2018 - 9:22 pm
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Best wishes for Belle and the decisions you face. You have found the right place for support and plenty of helpful information. Bookmark Jerry’s Required Reading List , remember to Be More Dog , and start here for help finding the many Tripawds resources and assistance programs.

Without Regret was one of the first books we read after Jerry’s amputation that helped us realize we made the right decision.

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18 July 2018 - 1:20 pm
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Hi Belle and Mom 🐾🌸

What did the oncologist say ? …

Love and cuddles 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Montreal, Quebec
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20 July 2018 - 5:27 am
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Hi,

The oncologist said there was no treatment that is effective against this cancer. All we could do now is amputate her arm. The MRI indicates that the cancer starts close to her spine but there should be enough clean margin to remove everything. If even 1 cancer cell is left it will come back in about 9 months. We will only know after biopsy the grade of the cancer and if enough clean margin was obtained. We are all very nervous. Amputation of her arm should happen next week. 

Virginia
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20 July 2018 - 9:22 am
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Your  sweet Belle is clearly  very, very loved and I’m  sure she knows it!

This piece of crap disease makes us consider decisions  that seem like horrendous  “forced choices”.  Know this, you are doing EVERYTHING  POSSIBLE  to give Belle extended  quality  time pain free!!!  AND, on top of that, you are giving  Belle a chance to create her own “statistics ” based on all her individual specialness!

Belle does NOT have a timeframe  stamped on her  butt!   Take a look!  See, nothing like that stamped anywhere on her butt!  The important  thing is to make every moment count!  Be More Dog with no worries abput the tomorrows,  just focus on living  in the NOW!! There will be no regrets  that way…no time wasted!

And btw, one of our beloved  heroes  around here is Stubborn Pug Maggie.   She was given  a “statistic ” of six to nine months.  Thank goodness she didn’t  listen!  She thrived another FOUR YEARS living  life to the fullest!

Let us know when surfery is scheduled  so we can send extra pawsitive  energy to Belle. Oh, and btw, you mentioned  “nervous “.  I was so scared and nervous  I cancelled  my Happy Hannah’s first scheduled  surgery!  Finally realized I MUST proceed of I was going to give her a chance.   Recocery was rough and I doubted  my decision for a couple of weeks.  But WOW, once recovery  was over, I realized  it was the best decision  and I did it FOR her and not TO her!

STAY CONNECTED!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  We are here to help in any way you need, okay?

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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20 July 2018 - 9:39 am
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Hi sweetie 🌸

I know it all sounds like bad news to you but there are actually really good news here:

… “there should be enough clean margins to remove everything” …

Please concentrate on that thought, if they get clear margins, Belle is safe!

And those margins are based on an MRI which is an extremely precise test!

I know being positive at the stage you are in is easier said than done but I am sure once surgery is done you will feel much better.

And you can lean on us anytime, we’re all here for you and your girl 🎀.

Sending positive thoughts, hugs and cuddles your way 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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20 July 2018 - 10:59 am
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You should look at Pofi’s story, a pup who battled a nerve sheath tumor:

Forum Posts by Pofi

Pofi’s blog.

You could also PM Lisa, Pofi’s mom if you have questions, she posts as hester.

I’m sorry you are facing this devastating diagnosis, we have been there and can help you as you head down this new path with Belle.

Keep us posted on a surgery date.

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

Montreal, Quebec
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20 July 2018 - 5:01 pm
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you guy’s are great. Thank you. 

Minneapolis, MN
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21 July 2018 - 2:47 pm
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Pofi’s Mom here.

Pofi was also 11 years old at the time of his amp.  Left front. His was located in the brachial plexus and despite the triceps muscle atrophy which was noted over and over by multiple vets, it was a full year before we got the correct diagnosis.  

Even though his cancer was too far along and we did not get a cure, I do not regret amputation for a moment – we removed what had been a steady source of pain and he recovered beautifully and we all enjoyed one more wonderful summer together.

Please let me know what I can share with you. Has Belle been started on a regiment of pain relief?  Gabapentin, Rimadyl, and Tramadol? Our orthopedic surgeon believed as some others do that for a nerve sheath tumor in particular, pain meds in advance of surgery is a benefit and I think our experience bears that out.

heart

Sending love to Belle.

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His Daddy and I miss him terribly along with his canine sister, Mia, and two feline siblings, Lucia and Cliff.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

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21 July 2018 - 4:09 pm
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Hi Pofi’s mom. 

We appreciate your comments.  It helps a lot to here from people whom have faced the same challenges to build our confidence that we are making the right decision.  We’re you told from the MRI that clean margin could be obtained? We are told that for Belle there is about 4 centimeters between the cancer and the vertebral canal and that they could still achieve clean margin.  Did you go into surgery with the expectation of having clean margin? We are scared that we are going to put Belle through a surgery with the potential for complications in the healing process just to find we did not get everything. 

Thanks again for the advice. 

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21 July 2018 - 4:22 pm
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I forgot to add the she is taking Gabapentin now.

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21 July 2018 - 5:52 pm
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yaya said
Hi Pofi’s mom. 

We appreciate your comments.  It helps a lot to here from people whom have faced the same challenges to build our confidence that we are making the right decision.  We’re you told from the MRI that clean margin could be obtained? We are told that for Belle there is about 4 centimeters between the cancer and the vertebral canal and that they could still achieve clean margin.  Did you go into surgery with the expectation of having clean margin? We are scared that we are going to put Belle through a surgery with the potential for complications in the healing process just to find we did not get everything. 

Thanks again for the advice.   

Hello:

I want to be very honest with you, but I am going to start out by reminding you that removing the tumor, whether you get clean margins or not, will remove the major source of pain Belle has. So many of the pets here have osteo and with cancer in the bone, it is more than likely surgery will not be curative. But what many people with osteo pets told me is that the amputation removes the pain and I think it is important to remember that no matter which type of cancer.

What my surgeon said is that they she wanted 2 to 3 cm to be able to get a clean margin so she could manage and would try with 4 cm. And, very coincidentally, Pofi’s was also 4 cm from his spine.  And you have seen my signature, so you know, we did not get a cure. We did not get clean margins despite our surgeon’s best efforts. As I said, Pofi had had this hidden and tricky tumor for a solid year, so though they are often slower growing, the post amp pathology was clear his was large, angry, diffuse and not well contained. It had wrapped around a rib (that had to be removed) and destroyed  lymph node. His best chance at preventing the cancer from coming back post amp would have been radiation – 22 days of radiation treatments. Initially, I really wanted to pursue this, but in the end, he was so happy to be home and recovered so brilliantly and was enjoying the summer and I could not bring him in for anesthesia and radiation 22 weekdays in a row. I just could not.

We had 5 and a half very good months post amp. Because the muscle had atrophied and the leg had not been very useful to him for a while, he adjusted to being a Tripawd as quickly and well as any dog here and, really, with far less discomfort than most. All the vets predicted he would adjust quickly because of these factors and they were right. Despite my best efforts to follow orders and keep him downstairs for 2 weeks post amp, Pofi insisted on going upstairs and climbing onto our bed his first night home. We did not get as much time as some and far less than I hoped for, but it was all very good time.  He really never had bad nights, very little discomfort post amp as we had given him Gabapentin, Rimadyl and Tramadol for two weeks prior and kept that same routine up for 2 weeks after.  Gabapentin will be more effective post op for Belle because she has had it pre-op. 

The surgical margins were not clean at various points they tested in pathology – I assume near the spine was one of the points where they were not clean, but it was scattered.  We knew it was going to come back when we got the pathology. When the cancer returned it was in his spine and it impacted his mobility quickly. 

We did metronomic chemo and Palladia.  I do believe these may have slowed regrowth.  

But as someone said, Pofi would not be denied summer and he wasn’t. He went to dog park, he swam, he climbed to our second floor deck and watched over his neighborhood.  He played, he ate well and he was without pain those months.  

I know this story is not as hopeful as you might want – but it is the unvarnished truth.  We did not “beat” cancer, but we kept it at bay and treasured our best boy for another 6 months despite it being grade 3 of 3.  

Pofi wants to go to dog park 7 weeks post amp

I understand how anxious you are.  I hope for the very best for Belle and you.  Her story may be MUCH different than Pofi’s. It could be brighter. You may get clean margins and a better prognosis.

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His Daddy and I miss him terribly along with his canine sister, Mia, and two feline siblings, Lucia and Cliff.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

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22 July 2018 - 3:59 pm
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Thank you very, very, much for sharing your story. Pofi is inspirational!

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