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Sky's Diagnosis and Upcoming Surgery
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Member Since:
4 December 2023
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4 December 2023 - 1:56 pm
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Hello all - we recently learned that our 8(ish) year old black lab mix has osteosarcoma. It started when we noticed a hard lump on her wrist and it wasn't going away. However, she displayed no signs of discomfort or tenderness when we would touch it. We managed to get an appointment at Colorado State University, for which we were very thankful. Her blood work, urinalysis, and thoracic x-rays showed no signs of cancer or anything wrong. However, a biopsy confirmed that it is sarcoma and CSU is 90 percent sure it is osteosarcoma. Given this devastating news, we have decided to go with our oncologist's recommendation of full amputation and chemo. I feel so overwhelmed with the situation as my little girl struggles with her hind legs and hips. She's always had issues and relies very heavily on her front legs. The main oncologist gave Sky a physical and while acknowledging her weaker back end, is confident that Sky can live life fully on 3 legs. She said that with physical therapy and possibly knee braces, Sky should do just fine.

I am so happy to have found this forum. We feel as though we are not alone during the scary and uncertain time.sp_hearticon2

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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4 December 2023 - 8:08 pm
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Cory, welcome to you and Sky. You are joining the club that nopawdy wants to join but you've found the right place for understanding and support. 

I'm so sorry about the diagnosis. But dang if you are working with CSU you have access to the BEST in the world! I mean it! OK I'm a little biased because we are from Fort Collins too ūüôā But yeah if they're confident she will do well, that is worth its weight in gold.

Did you call today? I'm pretty sure I talked to you? 

Please let us know how we can help. Got questions? Post em and we'll do our best to answer as well as we can!

Do check out the What to Expect articles , Tripawds Recovery Shopping List , and Jerry's Required Reading List for some reassurance that everything will be A-OK!

Member Since:
4 December 2023
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5 December 2023 - 6:57 am
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Hi Jerry - thank you for the warm welcome. This is definitely something you don't prepare for when you first adopt your little one. I have been going back and forth with all of the options in my head...hoping that the decision we make is one that is best for Sky and not for us. The thought of amputation is still jarring for me, but it is hard to go against what so many have done successfully and what the experts suggest. I keep wondering if radiation and chemo are the best options...if it is better for me to give Sky a life of 4 legs, even if that means a shorter life. Or if I go with the option that science says will give her the longest life, but one in which she will never be able to run the same way, never be able to sneak up on squirrels like she does now, one in which she can't hold a bone with two paws....all of these things are just eating at me and I'm hoping that I make the best decision for her come Thursday.

I did not call today, but given that my head has been mush for the past 2 weeks it is entirely possible that I forgot lol.

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
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5 December 2023 - 10:11 am
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Cory, there are no right or wrong choices, just the one that works best for you and Sky. We hold no judgement here no matter which way you go.

One thing to keep in mind is that the prognosis for osteosarcoma is short, but many dogs go on to defy the odds. Our Jerry lived two years after his osteosarcoma diagnosis, and that was without chemo. Over the years we've seen dogs go longer, with and without chemo. If you opt for follow up chemo and immunotherapy, the odds of longevity go up. Nobody can guarantee how long Sky has with treatment, without, or heck, even without cancer. So go with your gut feeling and make the most of every day. Learn to Be More Dog and you can't go wrong!

Thursday will be a big day for you both. Is your home Tripawd-proofed? Do you have other help? Other dogs? Let us know how we can help.

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
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5 December 2023 - 10:24 am
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Oh, and your comment about holding a bone with two paws. Well guess what? They figure out how to hold it with ONE! 

Here's a video of our Jerrry holding his bone. It's ridiculously long, since back in the day that's what you did on YouTube lol icon_lol

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
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5 December 2023 - 10:25 am
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And as for sneaking up on pesky squirrels, they've got that handled too!

CAN_oakville01.jpgImage Enlarger

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 December 2023 - 10:29 am
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Just a quick pop I or a question.  Has she been evaluated  y the Orthopedic  Surgeon who will be doing the amputation (if that’s the route you go)?  If you can get specific feedback regarding the rear legs, that can help give you reassurance.

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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4 December 2023
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5 December 2023 - 10:49 am
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jerry said
And as for sneaking up on pesky squirrels, they've got that handled too!

CAN_oakville01.jpgImage Enlarger

  

Thank you so much for this, Jerry. I appreciate the encouragement and kind words. The video and this photo give me hope that Sky can continue to enjoy the things she likes the most. She's an expert squirrel hunter so I'll use this as motivation that she can continue to do it. I will have help so that makes things a little better. She also has a little brother (2 year old Jack Russell), so we will have to keep an eye on him while she heals, but I think having him close will make her happy.

And yes, Benny - she has been evaluated by the oncologist who will be performing the surgery. The doctor feels that while Sky is weaker in her back end, that there are ways to help her strengthen her hind legs, both with medication, PT, and possible braces. She was also checked out by our main vet two weeks ago and after a consultation with her as well, she believes Sky will be ok as a tripawd. I guess I just need to trust the doctors and believe in Sky.

Thank you all so much for the support.

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 December 2023 - 5:03 pm
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You'be done an excellent job of  covering  all your bases to do what's  best for Sky.  The "professionals" have evaluated  Sky and  all have  concurred that he is a good candidate.   They've  pin pointed any potential problems with some weakness in his back legs and feel confident he'll handle any challenges  along those lines.  The suggestion of PT, supportive supplements/meds, spot on.

If you take Sky to a Certified  Rehabilitation  Specialist the Tripawds Foundation will pay for the first consult. 

Just to add an extra dose of reassurance, I'm going to find  video of my tripawd Frankie handling bones and treeing squirrels  just fine.  I also have a video of him "wrestling " with Merry Myrtle (four legger and blind).  She's 125 lbs and he's 70 lbs.  

You are soing what needs to be done to give Sky a chance¬† at a pain free quaility¬† life for more spoiling , loving....and squirrel chasing.ūüĎć

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!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 December 2023 - 5:26 pm
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Tripawd Frankie chewing his bone....and stealing a second one from blind Myrtle 

 

 

 

 

     

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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5 December 2023 - 11:13 pm
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Oh my dog Sally LOVE those videos!

I'm so glad we could help you feel better. You've covered all your bases, now it's time to let Sky show you how to be as resilient and strong as she is. You can do this! Please ask any questions you'd like so that we can make this easier for you both. Keep us posted.

Member Since:
4 December 2023
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6 December 2023 - 11:06 am
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These are just heart warming to see. I am battling the guilt of this all while knowing this is the best thing for Sky. I guess my biggest fear is the confusion and trauma she will experience when she wakes up...but I know she will make it through. She has to be there at 7:30 tomorrow morning, so I am just soaking up all of the time I can with her today. Luckily it is a beautiful day here in Colorado.

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 April 2007
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6 December 2023 - 12:25 pm
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Yep, we battle the guilt for sure! You are not alone there.

When you see her looking confused, it's probably not because the leg is gone, but more likely what you are seeing are pain medication side effects. Not a bad thing for sure, you want her pain under control. But some dogs just hate feeling out of it, and seem bewildered. I know that CSU will give her everything she needs for comfort, but yeah, they can exhibit signs of dysphoria for a couple of days. Don't let it freak you out too much!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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6 December 2023 - 3:30 pm
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As Jerry said, she won't¬† be traumatized when she wakes up.....she'll be high as a kite and enjoying¬† seeing all the pink elephants floating around....and maybe a few flying squirrels tooūüėé

While he's in the clinic that's the time for you to get some good sleep.¬† Getting to this point is exhausting¬† mentally and physically.¬† When you to go-to pick her up, don even bother to draw attention¬† to her incision.¬† She ge upbeat and confident and tell her what a good girl she is and she's going homeūüĎć

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!

Member Since:
15 June 2023
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6 December 2023 - 6:27 pm
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Unfortunately don‚Äôt have a ton of time here but i was reading a little bit of this thread and just want to reassure you that those feelings of guilt and doubt about the decision you are making are normal. ¬†I went through the exact same thing with my Ophelia back in June. ¬†It was important for me to turn my mind around to view it as ‚Äúdoing it FOR her‚ÄĚ rather than ‚Äúdoing it TO her‚ÄĚ. ¬†You‚Äôre saving her life.¬†

I am also in Colorado and am a CSU alum.  The vet clinic there is one of the best in the world.  Ophelia didn’t get treated there but her team of vets have all studied there at one time or another.  And Ophelia is getting a PET-CT scan there at some point over the next two months.  It’s the only such machine for animals in the state and one of three or four i think in the country. 

good luck.  I think that you guys will do great. 

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