It started on Monday, when I told my brother that one of our dogs might have bone cancer, and he suggested taking her out and putting a bullet in her head. When I told him we were considering amputation, he laughed. Then I got home and found the email about Ramsey, the barely 4 year-old GH that died of renal failure just 8 months after being adopted. Yesterday, the oncologist said he didn't like to do biopsies of bone tumors because of the risk of fracture.

He feels that the probability of Tasha's lesion being bone cancer is 95+%. We're consulting with our vet about the possibility of limb-sparing surgery vs. amputation - - the oncologist said that studies don't show a difference in terms of efficacy in removing/'curing' the tumor - - whatever will give her the best quality of life for whatever time she has left. The kicker is that she is barely limping now, and does not look or act like a dog with bone cancer.

I'm trying to look at this from the standpoint that we know her time is limited and can now try to make the most of it; people whose dogs die suddenly don't have that opportunity. Of course we're not ready to lose her, but we wouldn't be ready to lose her if she lived to be 20. Tasha could be a very fat dog by the end...
Mustang Sally
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We're consulting with our vet about the possibility of limb-sparing surgery vs. amputation - - the oncologist said that studies ... removing/'curing' the tumor - - whatever will give her the best quality of life for whatever time she has left.

??? Does he think it's likely that the cancer will spread even if the limb is amputated?
At any rate, it sounds like you're doing everything possible to create the best outcome under the circumstances. Hang tough, and slip her a slab of steak when the other dogs aren't looking.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community
We're consulting with our vet about the possibility of limb-sparing ... best quality of life for whatever time she has left.

??? Does he think it's likely that the cancer will spread even if the limb is amputated?[/nq]Oh yes, he's sure it will. I'm sure it depends on the type of bone cancer, and we won't know that until the surgery and biopsy. But osteosarcoma, which I think is the most common type, is very aggressive, and considered incurable. The survival statistics really suck, even with chemo. I've been told by more than one vet, and have read, that by the time it's diagnosed, it's already spread, even if there's no mets visible on chest x-ray.

Osteo is fairly common in racing Greyhounds, so I'm somewhat familiar with it, though none of my own GHs has had it (and what are the chances of my Siberian husky getting it?). I've known of a few that lasted a couple of years with surgery and chemo, and one that lasted over a year with no treatment except a 'cancer diet'. But it's a mean, mean disease.
At any rate, it sounds like you're doing everything possible to create the best outcome under the circumstances. Hang tough, and slip her a slab of steak when the other dogs aren't looking.

I'm too embarassed to post what all she had to eat yesterday. Suffice it to say that she preferred her "dad's" blueberry cheesecake ice cream concoction to her own vanilla doggy dish. We're trying to make decisions based on what's best for Tasha, which isn't always easy or obvious.
Mustang Sally
I'm too embarassed to post what all she had to eat yesterday. Suffice it to say that she preferred her ... vanilla doggy dish. We're trying to make decisions based on what's best for Tasha, which isn't always easy or obvious.

Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants. Blueberry cheesecake ice cream concoction sounds like just the ticket, and is pretty close to my own idea of a healthy diet.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community
I'm too embarassed to post what all she had to ... what's best for Tasha, which isn't always easy or obvious.

Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants.

I'll keep that in mind. Generally, Tasha tends to regard fruits and vegetables as food that food eats, but it seems to be a different situation when combined with cheese.
Blueberry cheesecake ice cream concoction sounds like just the ticket, and is pretty close to my own idea of a healthy diet.

Heh. I saw the pictures of your flat huskies yesterday, and anybody who can keep 6 Siberians happy in this heat must know what she's talking about.
Mustang Sally
Heh. I saw the pictures of your flat huskies yesterday, and anybody who can keep 6 Siberians happy in this heat must know what she's talking about.

It's been in the 100s lately and our northern dog loves to be hosed or drenched with water. You have to go about a certain way though or she runs away. Once cooled down she starts hopping around like a bunny completely transformed out of a summer lethargy.
Regards,
Paul Kekai Manansala
Dog as Deity, Ancestor and Royal Animal
http://asiapacificuniverse.com/pkm/dogstory.htm
But osteosarcoma, which I think is the most common type, is very aggressive, and considered incurable. The survival statistics really suck, even with chemo.

I've personally known three dogs who had it. One was put down shortly after diagnosis because, IIRC, it was already well established, her owner didn't want to put her through painful procedures just to keep her for another year or so, and also didn't think she'd do well as a tripod- she was a large, square, heavy-boned dog and over 10 years old. One had it in his lower jaw. He had been through several painful surgeries for joint issues as a puppy, and lived to play frisbee, which he wouldn't have been able to do with the jaw removed. His owner elected for no treatment, instead giving him quality of life until the tumor grew to the point that it was too uncomfortable. IIRC, that took about 4 months. He was
7 years old.The third dog was around 3 at time of diagnosis. Her owner elected to do surgery and chemo; she was a lightweight and athletic dog, and did well as a tripod, but despite chemo, the cancer re-occurred in less than two years - I don't think she made it to her 5th birthday. :-(
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He feels that the probability of Tasha's lesion being bone cancer is 95+%.

Oh, hell. I'm so sorry to hear that.
I'm trying to look at this from the standpoint that we know her time is limited and can now try to make the most of it

A good attitude to take, IMO... that's what I did when my Veronika was diagnosed with a brain tumor (which *I* had diagnosed correctly as being a neurological problem a week before the vet did).
Kept her comfortable, gave her lots of love etc. until the time was right to let her go..
But osteosarcoma, which I think is the most common type, is very aggressive, and considered incurable. The survival statistics really suck, even with chemo.

I've personally known three dogs who had it. One was put down shortly after diagnosis because, IIRC, it was already ... didn't think she'd do well as a tripod- she was a large, square, heavy-boned dog and over 10 years old.[/nq]I've been agonzing over this quite a bit - - putting her through painful procedures. The main reason we're doing surgery is to avoid a traumatic pathologic fracture of the ulna that would cause her sufficient pain that we'd have to put her down. We're hoping to spare the limb - - the ulna isn't a major weight-bearing bone - - but don't know yet if that will be possible. This is a 12 year-old Siberian husky that would not tolerate chemo because she hates going to the vet and being messed with, but I think she would do okay as a tripod.

She is scary smart, and I've already seen her adjusting her gait, balance and even behavior to some extent to deal with this discomfort. Also, she's about 48 lb., in great shape otherwise (chest x-ray clear, blood work unusually good for a dog this age), very light on her feet and agile. She sleeps more than she used to and sometimes seems pretty tired, but she is still as full of life as ever. I hope we aren't doing this just to keep her around, but I truly don't believe she is ready to go yet.
One had it in his lower jaw. He had been through several painful surgeries for joint issues as a puppy, ... grew to the point that it was too uncomfortable. IIRC, that took about 4 months. He was 7 years old.

One of our adopters has had two dogs with osteosarcoma, and chose the no treatment route. One dog had suddent onset of pretty severe pain a few days after diagnosis and was euthanized, and the other lived about
2 months, IIRC, on pain meds.
The third dog was around 3 at time of diagnosis. Her owner elected to do surgery and chemo; she was ... the cancer re-occurred in less than two years - I don't think she made it to her 5th birthday. :-(

That's very sad. A dog that we placed just died of renal failure at age 4; his owner only had him for 10 months. Not nearly long enough. Osteo is a Bad Thing.
Mustang Sally
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