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Belle's surgery canceled
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Forum Posts: 11
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5 November 2008 - 4:42 pm
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After much research and thought, Belle was schedule for surgery today to amputate her let front leg due to Osteosarcoma.  Before her surgery we had xrays taken of her hind end and lungs.  She had been diagnosed 3 weeks ago & we wanted to make sure there were no lung mets before surgery proceeded. 

Her xrays on her lungs were clear.  Unfortunately, her xrays on her hind end were not.  The surgeon called to tell us she has horrible arthritis in her hind end to the point of her spine being fused in one section.  To proceed with surgery would run the risk of Belle never walking again.  That is how severe her arthritis is.  She said Belle is not a candidate for amputation.

The only good news was that a new xray of her leg showed no change from 3 weeks ago. The surgeon says she thinks Belle will make it through Christmas and maybe into the early part of the year. 

She recommends radiation. Has anyone done radiation?  What should I expect? 

Thank you all for your support.

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 November 2008 - 7:46 pm
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Hmm … good news and bad news. I never underwent radiation, so hopefully others may have better input for you.

I thought I read that the doc thought Belle’s back end felt good. I also heard that spinal xrays can be misleading when it comes to actual range of motion.

Best wishes for you, whatever happens.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 11
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5 November 2008 - 8:07 pm
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Yes, the Oncologist did manipulate her hind end when he originally examined her.  He said that she felt a little stiff but did not show any discomfort at the time.   Both the surgeon & the oncologist thought she walked a little stiff as well. They believed she did have some arthritis but would not know the extent of it without xrays, so they recommended them before the surgery being she is an older (7 1/2 yr old St Bernard) large (134 lb) dog. 

The surgeon did the xrays with her under before she would proceed with the amputation.  She called us to tell us that the arthritis in the xrays was in her exact word "horrible".  She has severe arthritis in her hips as well as the part of her spine being fused. She said she may not have shown pain during the manipulation due to the pain meds & anti-inflammatories Belle is taking.

Her major concern/fear is that Belle would not walk again if she removes the leg.   She is a large, heavy dog with horrible arthritis. She said she was speaking to us as a person who cared what was best for Belle and that she thought it would be extremely difficult on Belle to have the leg removed, that her time would probably not be of a pain free quality.  

She feels that radiation is the best course of treatment now.

We were hoping for a good outcome.  This is very upsetting.

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5 November 2008 - 8:08 pm
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Hi Marnie,

     I don’t know much about radiation therapy. However I always thought it was localized and goes in stages killing the cells . Alot of times it has to be repeated. Did the oncologist recommend this to you? Since this cancer can be aggressive why not chemo? I hope someone else could shed some light on this situation, especially since it sounds to me that you never suspected she had arthritis before.

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

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5 November 2008 - 8:16 pm
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We really did not think she had severe arthritis.  Yes, she is older and a little stiff in the hind end (aren’t we all as we get up in age?)  but to this degree, no we never suspected it. 

The surgeon recommended the radiation for pain control.  She said it is mainly for palliative reasons since she is not a candidate for the amputation.  She said it may also slow the tumor a little. 

Belle was to have chemo after the amputation.  We will call the oncologist tomorrow to see what his opinion is on how to proceed.

 

Edmonton
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5 November 2008 - 11:41 pm
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Hi Ranedrops, There has got to be something we can think of to help Belle on top of the treatments the vet suggested.  If she is not a candidate for amputation, and the the vet has suggested palliative care, it wouldn’t hurt trying other means in addition. 

What is on Belle’s daily menu? 

Also have you heard of K-9 Immunity ?  I’ve heard some OS cases in which the dogs did not have amputation, and there were improvements, either the bone tumors shrunk, or lameness gradually became less and less, or some even lived past prognosis.  That said, each case is so different.  But I thought at this point where amputation is not suitable for Belle, that this might be one of the ways to help.

Please give Belle a hug for me.


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6 November 2008 - 12:22 pm
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I am sorry that your surgeon does not think that Belle would be a good candidate for amputation.  If her hips and her spine are bad and if she is overweight then it could be difficult for her to get around with 3 legs.  If she is bearing a lot of weight on her front end already then it would be wise not to amputate.  If she is still able to run and use her back legs well then most dogs can handle the amputation despite what xrays show. I was very afraid that Tazzie might not get around well with only 3 legs since her rear legs have both had surgery but luckily she has done well.

The radiation usually does not treat the cancer but can help relieve pain at the tumor site.  Chemo does nothing if you aren’t removing the primary tumor so that is not an option.  I would definitely get IV infusions of pamidronate, which will help strengthen her bones since she will be at risk of a pathological fracture at the tumor site.  Weight loss will also help.

There are many holistic treatments available which I’m afraid I haven’t had experience with.  I would consult with a holistic vet in your area.  Many vets who perform acupuncture also have experience with chinese herbs, etc.

Please keep us updated on Belle.  I wish her the very best!

Pam and Tazzie

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6 November 2008 - 12:49 pm
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How to find a certified homeopathic veterinary , I really believe they can help Belle.. please keep us posted

http://www.thea…..ifieds.php

http://www.holi…..tlist.com/

website for Dr Pitcairn , you can ask him a question directly but will take awhile for a reply. The above links also have phone consultations
http://www.drpi…..cairn.com/

find a canine acupuncturist
http://www.aava…..directory/

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

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6 November 2008 - 1:44 pm
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Thank you all for your support.  I caled the oncologist today to get better option but he is not in until tomorrow.  In the meanwhile, I will check out the links for the holistic vets. 

I have also been trying to research diet and read that she should be on high protein, low carb diet.  That the cancer feeds off of the carbs.  Is this true?Does anyone have a food they could recommend?

We picked Belle up last night from the vet and she had a terrible night and so far today has not been much better.  She cried almost all night and would only stop if you stayed with her. She was limping more when we picked her up from the vet than when we dropped her off and today she really doesn’t want to get up and walk.  I am wondering if this is from them taking the xrays and moving her leg?

Add to all of this the fact that the vet charged me $850 last night for xrays & thyroid bloodwork test.  The bloodwork was only $120, the xrays were the rest.

I am so upset and frustrated.

 

Edmonton
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6 November 2008 - 2:10 pm
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Take a look at Jerry’s diet in his health tips page. 

In general, diet for cancer, yes as you mentioned, high protein, high fat (fish oil, omega-3), low carbs, NO grains, lots of veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, … etc.  Hi in starch like potatoes should be avoided.

Also, there is a collection of links, check out section "Sugar / Carbs".

Sugar feeds cancer.  Carbs are converted into glucose and enter to the bloodstream.  Bad carbs gets converted at a faster rate, which causes the spike of blood glucose level and subsequently insulin level, which cancer likes.  But a body needs carbs, so the idea is to keep the blood glucose level stable and steady.

Same link as above, a section under Arthritis, there is an acupressure chart, which you can follow to do acupressure on Belle according to her needs.  Massage will help too. But don’t do anything on her troubled leg.

Hopefully you can find a holistic vet who practises TCM (traditional chinese medicine), acupuncture, chinese herbs, and also chiropractic adjustment (will help Belle’s spondylosis and arthritis)  On top of the holistic treatments, improving her diet definitely will help Belle.

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 November 2008 - 2:54 pm
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Thanks so much Genie. Regarding acupuncture; we really think this is the way to go to help alleviate pain without heavy drugs. Our friend Rocco’s brother, Squiggy, a Dachshund, had a situation where he suddenly became paralyzed on his back legs for no reason. After just a couple of sessions with an acupuncturist, he started walking again. Now he is running and back to normal. Now, I know Belle is no Dachshund, but we still think that acupuncture could help with pain management for now.

Also, I know the medical bills are piling up, but have you considered taking the x-rays to another surgeon for a second opinion? Do you live near a vet school?

Belle, we hope that you are feeling better today. We wish we could be of more help, other than sending our love and support your way. Keep us posted OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 November 2008 - 3:47 pm
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jerry said:

Also, I know the medical bills are piling up, but have you considered taking the x-rays to another surgeon for a second opinion? Do you live near a vet school?


Unfortunately we do not live near a vet school.  The closest one is at least 3 hours away.

We took the initial set of xrays that she had done when she was diagnosed to another surgeon/oncologist but not the xrays from yesterday of her hips.  The 2nd surgeon though had said the same thing as the first, that she would not be a candidate for amp if xrays of her hips showed signifigant arthritis.

The oncologists office called us back today that they do not do radiation there and to wish us the best. 

The 1st surgeon contacted an office that does do radiation before we picked Belle up.  However, she said they may want a bone biopsy done first before proceeding with radiation or if she is a candidate, then they may be able to do a less invasive aspiration of the affected area to get a biopsy.  We had initially decided againt the biopsy to begin with because of the pain and the possibility of weakening the bone further.

I’ve also read that radiation works for pain relief in only 2/3 of dogs.  Also, that radiation can cause the bone to become more fragile and fracture easier.

I getting afraid that the only option being left is to try and control the pain.

So far we have spent about $1,900.00 on xrays, bloodwork & 2 vet’s opinions.  Yes, the bills are piling up, but it isn’t about the money.  If she was getting some sort of help out of all of this it would be so much better. I am just totally frustrated at this point. 

I did find hoolistic vet in my area.  I will call and see if they offer the services you had mentioned.

Thank you all so much for your help.

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6 November 2008 - 5:02 pm
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I’m sorry Belle isn’t feeling well after her overnight stay. You mention the vet school is 3 hours away… it just might be worth the trip . Give them a call and let them know the situation. I used the University of  Penn. I wish I would of used them from the get go.. the various tests, specialists,& clinical trials they have to offer. I’ve found from personal experience it cost me less than the private vet I was using! I am sure they deal with similar situations and may have more options available for Belle! Yes cancer diet !! High protein and lots of supplements. I hope you find a way to control her pain. Thinking of you & Belle..I know the Univ of Pain has a trial for pain management . Find out what your options are.

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

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6 November 2008 - 7:00 pm
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OKim1 said:

I know the Univ of Pain has a trial for pain management . Find out what your options are.

Kim&Buster


I looked up the clinical trial at the University of Penn and left a message for the trial coordinator.  I am hoping to get more information and that Belle will be a candidate.

I also found a holistic vet close to my home who does accupuncture and chinese herbal medicines.  The office was closed today so I will try again tomorrow.

Thank you so much.  I greatly appreciate all of the help.

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7 November 2008 - 10:38 am
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We’re so sorry to hear about what’s going on with Belle. We’re sending prayers your way in hopes that you will find some answers with the hollistic route. I personally use accupunture – I have a torn ACL in my knee that was never repaired and shoulder impingement…I swear by accupuncture for pain control…it’s amazing what it does and I’m sure it will do the same for our furry loved ones.

My oncologist recommended 6000mg of Fish Oil…and I did the pamidrinite treatments that Tazzie’s mom talked about on Zeus…they both seem to help. As for the food, he has to be on a special diet for other health reasons….so I’m limited in what I can do for you with his diet.

We’re here for you – please keep us posted.

Much love,

Heather

 

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

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