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Dustydog: OSA in two shoulders
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Member Since:
13 July 2009
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16 January 2010 - 10:40 am
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Hi All

I received a PM from a new member with a lab who unfortunately has OSA in both front shoulders. I want to put the information forward so they can get information from a variety of people. She was mostly looking into Artemisinin . I'll paste some things from her email here, and then some things from my response in a second post. Hopefully dustydog can find her way to this thread - it can be difficult to get started.

From dustydog:

Email 1: Our 10 yr old lab was diagnosed last night with this disease. He has not started any treatments yet, is only on pain pills. This Artemisinin seems like it might work. He is a 10 yr old lab, approx 110 lbs. Any info you can give me would be good-- can I only order this online? What else should I look into?

Email 2: There is a canine oncologist in the state-- about 3 hrs west of me. So the Artemisinin is not a treatment? Just a supplement to treatment? I am not sure of amputation is an option- its in both front shoulders, although one side is considerably worse than the other. Have you noticed any difference in your dog with the Artemisinin treatment?

Member Since:
13 July 2009
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16 January 2010 - 10:48 am
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here I appear to be replying to myself (yeah, you know how I like to talk!), but am actually responding to dustydog! I did not know the OSA was bilateral when I mentioned amputation.

(1)  Sorry to hear about Dusty's diagnosis. You can find lots of useful information on this website. It can take some time to digest it all.

First, you will need to decide about whether you want to pursue amputation or possibly palliative radiation as an alternative. Most dogs on this site have had amputation (hence they have 3 legs), and most function really well on 3 legs. But amputation is not necessarily the best course of action if a dog has complicating medical conditions. A couple of dogs had palliative radiation. Then if the leg broke a few months later, they pursued amputation at that time.

Second, there is the decision about chemotherapy or not (or metronomics as an alternative).

Then, you have decisions about diet, potential alternative therapies (like Artemisinin ) and diet supplements. Like many other things, Artemisinin has been shown to kill cancer in a petri dish, but there is very little clinical data. I tried it after we stopped regular chemo, which we stopped after the cancer spread. I do not really have an opinion on whether it helped or not. You can order Artemisinin from certain websites. I think I ordered some from a company called "Health Concerns". If you search the forum pages for "Artemisinin ", you will find more information.

One thing most of us try to do is to reduce the amount of carbohydrate in the dog's diet (reduce starch and grains that break down quickly to sugar), because sugar feeds cancer. Most dogs go on a higher protein and lower or grain-free diet. "Evo" (poultry) is a food lots of people in the states use.

(2) I suggest you post on the main forum. Lots of people are far more knowledgeable than me on these things (all I know about these topics has come during the last few months of my own experience with a OSA dog). I did not realize Dusty has OSA in both front shoulders. That does complicate things.

There was one dog, named Timber (a malamute about 1-2 yrs ago; different than a white shepherd named Timber who showed up recently) who had OSA in two front legs, but lower down. Because it was in both legs, he used palliative radiation plus bisphosphonates (specifically pamidronate). Bisphosphonates help strengthen and rebuild the bone that has deteriorated due to the cancer. Apparently they help with pain relief and provide some form of local tumor control. So, if amputation is not an option, I would probably use those methods if they are available and affordable (cancer treatment is expensive!). Also check out the new Timber on this website, a white GS. I think he went through radiation and got a few to several months that way. I think (without reading back, I am unsure of this) the leg eventually fractured and he then went through amputation. But of course he only had OSA in one leg.

Palliative radiation is apparently highly effective in relieving pain. Compared with amputation, there is always the worry that the leg will fracture. The pamidronate (or another type of bisphosphonates ) helps give more strength.

Artemisinin can be considered a form of treatment. But there really is no great data to support the claim at this point. One place that describes Artemisinin and other treatments is the "bone cancer dogs" website. Just search that and you will find it. There is a yahoo chat group for Artemisinin users for dog cancer. I subscribed but it is kind of difficult to use by comparison with this site.

You probably want to get other tests done before deciding on any course of action. Did the vet x-ray the lungs to see if the cancer has spread? That is pretty much always done before any treatment plan is set in place.

I will start a thread for you on the main forum page. People on this site are incredibly helpful.

What state are you in? Asking since some places are known to have special equipment or teaching hospitals.

Good luck in this journey.

Member Since:
20 May 2009
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16 January 2010 - 10:51 am
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I'm so sorry about Dustydog's diagnosis.  It is so horrible to get an OSA diagnosis but to find out it is in both shoulders...I can't even imagine.  Please let Dustydog's Mom know that I am praying for them.

Debra & Angel Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Member Since:
16 February 2008
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16 January 2010 - 11:26 am
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Hi Dustydog, I am so sorry about the diagnosis.  Tazzie has covered almost all alternatives to amputation I can think of:

  • Radiation therapy for pain management
  • Arteminsinin (look up the forum discussions on this)
  • K9-Immunity / K9 Transfer Factor (also lots of discussions here in the forums)
  • Healthy diet (look up to the forum Eating Healthy, there is also Jerry's yummy diet too)

Hope that these info can be of use.

As Tazzie has said somewhere that Genie was very much into food. Her eyebrows raised when she heard FOOD!   I don't want to start blabbling about diet again… but I can't stress enough on how important diet will help cancer patients, it is the foundation of everything.  In the same Eating Healthy forum, there are posts about relationship between grains/carbs/glucose and cancer. 

Wonder what Dustydog's current diet is?   If you have not already done so, look for good quality dog food, e.g. EVO; or homemade meal (whether it is cooked or raw), … etc, anything is better than regular commercial dog food with high carbs, much fillers, full of chemical preservatives.

Big hugs!

Member Since:
13 July 2009
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16 January 2010 - 1:47 pm
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Genie - I was thinking more of the two-legged than the four-legged Genie when I said you liked food, or at least love to talk about it!

DustyDog - this is my short list of suggestions to ask your vet/oncologist about to help make sense of my enormous emails:


1. Bisphosphonates (such as pamidronate) to help the bone, even if you don't use radiation. I have read about dogs who used this even if they did not do radiation.

2. Palliative radiation to help relieve pain and hopefully control the tumor.

3. Also - have they checked lungs and elsewhere to determine whether it has spread?


3. Decision about whether or not to use traditional chemo

4. Metronomics (anti-angiogenesis) therapy is an alternative people frequently use. Sometimes people use it after regular chemo and sometimes instead of chemo. There is well-documented support that this slows down the establishment and progression of tumors (and it is much cheaper than regular chemo). Do not expect a primary vet to know about metronomics (they will probably raise an eyebrow). An oncologist probably will know about this.

5. Artemisinin . Probably can't hurt, but I'd figure out the other stuff first. Can't say there is any strong evidence saying it helps. The logic behind it seems reasonable.


The important diet suggestions that diet guru Genie mentions.

Here is a link with a story about Timber the malamute, who had bilateral OSA in the front limbs (near the radius or wrist). He lived near Fort Collins and had access to an especially good form of radiation (called SRS) at CUS. He used pamidronate in addition to the radiation.


Hope this helps you get started. Things will start to make sense, although it is overwhelming for a while.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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16 January 2010 - 3:40 pm
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Great info presented so far.  I just wanted to say how sorry I am for Dustydog's diagnosis and let you know we are all here for moral support as you fight through the options and make a decision.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Member Since:
1 January 2010
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16 January 2010 - 8:02 pm
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I am so sorry to hear about Dustydog's diagnosis. It's hard to digest all of the information, but we have found this site is full of great information and wonderful people who are willing to help you through this. I found what Tazzie said - our regular vet did not know about metronomics , but when I scheduled a visit with a veterinary oncologist she was right on top of it and would like to consider it for Holly if she doesn't tolerate chemo well, or for after chemo is finished. It helped me to make a list of questions to ask the oncologist and our regular vet, and I am learning a ton about nutrition. At some point you should check out the nutrition forum thread - it has lots of great information.
We'll keep you and Dustydog in our hearts...
Holly and Holly's mom

Holly joined the world of tripawds on 12/29/2009. She has a big little sister, Zuzu, who idolizes Holly and tries to make all of her toys into tripawds in Holly's honor. And she's enjoying life one hop at a time!

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