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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Chemotherapy treatment plan
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Member Since:
6 December 2023
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6 December 2023 - 3:23 am
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Hi all, our border terrier Phoebe has been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. She's only 3 and its quite unusual in her breed so it was a shock for us but we're adapting. She had her amputation two and a half weeks ago, a hemipelvectomy, and is doing so well, she can manage a couple ten minute walks a day and is in so much less pain than she was pre-op so it's really great to see and we're so glad we went through with the operation.

I am looking for advice about chemo. We signed up for it and thought it would be 4 treatments of carboplatin. However, we started the chemo yesterday and the vet said it would be 4 treatments and on the 4th they'd want to do another CT scan to decide what to do next with chemo. They said the options could include continuing with carboplatin or moving to another type. 

When I agreed to the chemo, I thought that only 4 chemo treatments were needed to increase the likelihood of her making it to the 10/12 months after the diagnosis point. I didn't realise that for those 10/12 months she might have to take chemo consistently. I still want to continue with the initial 4 doses but am very unsure about continuing past that point, however, I also want to do everything I can to give her the best life.

Does anyone have any advice on this? Thanks!!

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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6 December 2023 - 12:14 pm
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Hi Megan, welcome. Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

We are sorry that you and Phoebe had to join our club, but are very happy to hear she's doing so well. Unfortunately osteosarcoma doesn't seem to play favorites with breeds. Historically it was a "big dog" disease but in our years here we've seen it happen in dogs of all size and breed types. At least the therapies are improving though, and it sounds like Phoebe is getting good care where she is. 

It's common for a vet to want to re-evaluate at the end of the 4 cycle treatment. The CT scan is done to check for lung mets, that's not unusual at all. And if something appears that is questionable, like a blurry thing that could be a met, the oncologist may want to add a chemo round to beat back that bugger. 

For years it was debated whether or not 4 or 6 rounds were adequate to treat osteosarcoma, but now most oncologists are sticking to four rounds depending on how things go. Whether or not additional chemo is recommended just depends on how things play out, and remember you are under no obligation to continue if you're not in favor. Chemo can statistically give a dog a better shot at longevity but it still doesn't guarantee it. We've found that it can go either way, you just never know.

Did the oncologist mention anything about immunotherapy treatments?

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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6 December 2023 - 4:23 pm
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So glad to jear Pjoeb6 is doing so well.  She sounds like quite a feisty  pup who rocked rec.  Recovery  from a.   can make recovering  a bit harder some0.  .  Clearly Phoebe  isn't  letting anything hold her back!

FWIW when my Happy Hannah had her amputation  the recommendation  from her Onco was four rounds of Carboplatin.   She said that "more is not necessarily better".  Customers sometimes  were the ones wanting more and she would accommodate  if that what they wanted.  It was not what she was recommending though.

Again, FWIW,  I did NOT do any additional  testing after her fourth round.  She was doing well and living her life to the fullest.  For me I was comfortable  walking away from any more  tests, any more treatments,  no more Vet visits, poking and prodding.etc.

  the vet said it would be 4 treatments and on the 4th they'd want to do another CT scan to decide what to do next with chemo

YOU are in charge of whether you want to pursue  further  treatment  of ANY kind!  You felt comfortable going with four rounds and there should not be any reason  to do any more than that and uou shoild not feel press to do so.  Of course, some people want further testing and want to pursue any and everything  available should the tests show a problem.  Its such a person  choice  and one where finances  have to be considered  and to what degree you are willing to continue  with Bet appointments, etc.  

 

It was such a privilege  to jave my Happh Hannah be pain free and Happy for over one year and two  months.. 

Hugs 

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie!

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!


Member Since:
6 December 2023
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7 December 2023 - 2:32 am
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Thank you both for your help! Makes it much easier talking to people who've been through similar experiences.

I think it's the idea of putting her through another scan that makes me uncomfortable, I can see why the vets want to do it but it just feels a bit too much to expect her to go through that all over again. I guess I will have to see how the rest of the chemo goes and then decide based on how she's doing closer to the 4th scan, but thanks both for your advice. It's day 2 after her first chemo dose and she seems a bit more sleepy but nowhere near as bad as I was expecting!!

Benny55 you are right, I need to remember I am in control of the treatment! I think the visits to the vets always end up feeling so overwhelming so you forget that you are the one in charge. 

The vet didn't mention anything about immunotherapy, we are in the UK so not sure it's as common an option here.

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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8 December 2023 - 12:43 pm
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 We get what that feels like. You have to do what's right for Phoebe, and you. Every situation is different and there are no right or wrong choices, just the ones made with her quality of life in mind. It also depends on what you think you may do with the information once you get it back. Lots to consider. I hope she's feeling good today!

Immunotherapy may or may not be more available, I'm honestly not sure! Good question to ask. See our immunotherapy posts and talk to your oncology team to see if any of the treatments are being offered yet.


Member Since:
6 December 2023
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12 January 2024 - 11:57 am
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Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our gorgeous Phoebe today. She lasted two rounds of chemo and was so close to getting her third round. She'd been doing so well the past couple months since her amputation, I had thought she might last a year or longer. Even yesterday morning she managed a 30 minute walk/run round a big field near our house and was sticking her head in the grass searching for mice to chase. But since yesterday lunchtime she'd had breathing difficulties and the vet thought she'd either picked up an infection or the cancer had spread to her lungs, he couldn't be sure. He did offer us steroids and antibiotics but he also felt that we might be back in the same situation in 24 hours time. 

It was a horrible decision to make but my gut told me it was her time. I didn't want her to suffer and was worried we'd just be prolonging her pain by taking further treatment. I have no regrets with doing the amputation as the quality of life she had after was amazing but I guess one worry I have is that by putting her through the chemo I made her weaker and more susceptible to picking up the infection. But equally it could have been the effects of the cancer spreading. 

Thank you to the tripawd community for all your advice and help during this time, it made it so much easier being able to read about other people's experiences. 

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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12 January 2024 - 12:14 pm
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Stunned and gutted to read this.  Jist breaks my heart and our tears flow with yours.

By doing with the chemo you were doing everything  ppssible, but It does sound like that vicious, cunning disease had already plotted its course undetected. So no regrets on the chemo decision , okay?  If lung mets fluid can build up out of the biue and quickly and breathing is compromised suddenly. 

The fact that you had such a glorious day  prior to "-this" will be a treasured memories  furever.   Living life to the fullest, no real lingering suffering or unbearable pain is what we wish for all our dogs..   You ALWAYS made the right decision for your sweet Phoebe. 

No, no regrets!  You gave Phoebe extended quality life where she could get more spoiling and loving and joy in these past couple of months than most  dogs ever get in a lifetime! I know she was grateful for that. Treasure those happy memories, that's what Phoebe would want you to do. I'm just so very, very, very sorry this has happened. When you can, we would love to hear more about this vibrant resilient pup. Additionally, we would love to have some photos if you are up to it. If you'd like me to post them for you, please let me know, okay? It would be my honor.

(((((((((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!

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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13 January 2024 - 2:38 pm
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Megan I'm so sorry, what a heartbreaking situation. You did your best, please don't blame yourself for anything. Every decision you made for Phoebe was made with love and her best interests in mind. You spared her from a potentially very horrific situation, and now she is free to let her loving, eternal spirit shine through. Your girl will be with you always in one way or another, running like a puppy and surrounding you with all her beauty.

My deepest condolences. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey together.

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